Star kids have decided to get serious.
Kareena Kapoor dropped her whopping Rs 1.5 crores (Rs 15 million) price to be part of Govind Nihalani's cop tale, Dev. Her eyes light up with enthusiasm as she talks of her foray into realistic cinema. "The audience will see me without any makeup. I will just wash my face and go for the shot. I feel extremely charged. For a film like Dev, a pittance [as remuneration] is reasonable," she says.
The actress has also done a cameo in J P Dutta's war epic LoC, where "money and glamour are not an issue." Later, she is expected to do a film with Deepa Mehta (1947 -- Earth, Fire, Bollywood/Hollywood).
Kareena's sister Karisma had done a non-commercial film (Shyam Benegal's Zubeidaa) after a decade of acting in mainstream films. "Our generation of star children are less insecure and can afford to take risks early in their careers," says Kareena.
Kareena's Khushi-costar Fardeen Khan pairs with her in Dev. "I find it [being part of Dev] extremely challenging and exciting," Fardeen says, adding he would love to be part of more realistic films.
Tusshar Kapoor, who has just signed Rajkumar Santoshi's police drama Khaki, claims he was surprised by the offer: "I have never done this kind of cinema before. I am looking forward to getting into the gritty groove. My next release, Yeh Dil, has me doing far more realistic things than [what] mainstream heroes [generally do]. In a way, the cop's role in Khaki is a logical progression from escapism to reality. Every actor should try it."
Arya Babbar, whose debut film Ab Ke Baras did not fare well, is also making a lunge towards realism. In actor Saurabh Shukla's directorial debut, Mudda: The Issue, Arya plays a spoilt, rich kid from a small town. "Saurabh told me he decided to cast me after seeing bits of Ab Ke Baras," he says.
"Mudda is a dark comedy on Indian politics set in Haryana," adds Arya. "If you recall I played a rough fighter in a portion of my first film. In Mudda, I play a rich brat who thinks it is his birthright to misbehave. My character is a goonda from a feudal backdrop. It is a grey character. I do not have any romantic numbers to sing or any opportunity to dance around trees. And you know what? I enjoyed this chance to be realistic!"
Yash Chopra's son Uday, seen so far in fluffy films like brother Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein and Sanjay Gadhvi's Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, has been cast in Padam Kumar's gangster flick Supari. Abhishek Bachchan's next release is Apoorva Lakhia's social satire, Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost, where he plays a city slicker returning to his village, a far cry from roles he has done so far (in Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke and Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai).