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Conjuring star romances to sell films
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Rumours of manufactured romances have a way of popping up in Bollywood, especially when a release with a particular pair is around the corner.
The latest to be caught in this saga of simulated curiosity value are Akshaye Khanna and Kareena Kapoor. According to gushing statements attributed to the actress, she and Akshaye hit it off like a house on fire while they were shooting in Switzerland.
But isn't she very openly and very intensely involved with Shahid Kapur? So where does Akshaye come into the picture?
The fact that her pairing with her real-life beau in "Fida" fizzled out and also the fact that she has a major Diwali film with Akshaye coming up for release could have a very direct connection with these stories about the "warm vibes" between the two stars.
From the time when Rajiv Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure were linked together just before the release of their film together in the 1980s, fake romances have become a routine way of selling a film to the public.
While Manoj Bajpai was doing Hansal Mehta's "Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar", his "admiration" for Tabu kept spilling over into the pages of tabloids and papers, much to the annoyance of the actress.
More recently, during the making of "Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost", there were whispering waves about Abhishek Bachchan and Lara Dutta sharing "hot vibes". And just before the release Boney Kapoor's "Khushi", Kareena and Fardeen Khan became the talk of tinsel town.
Significantly, all these films were flops.
Most of the biggest hits of all times featured pairs who had nothing to do one another. Whether it was Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge", "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" and "Karan Arjun", Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan in "Hum Aapke Hain Kaun", Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor in "Raja Hindustani", Gracy Singh and Aamir in "Lagaan", there wasn't a murmur of a link-up about the pairs who featured in these historic hits.
Why then the attempt to generate interest through bogus romances? Often such stories are absolutely baseless and embarrassing for the two parties concerned and yet they're put out.
At times the stars themselves seem to enjoy being linked with their co-stars. A fiercely committed actor like Irrfan Khan has reportedly been telling all those who care to hear that he enjoyed smooching his South African co-star Ilene Hamann in a new film called "Rog" and how comfortable she made him feel in doing so.
So is it only the film's publicist who's to be held responsible for rumours linking co-stars?
Inversely, if the stars are already linked then rumours of a break-up are circulated. This is the case with Bipasha Basu and John Abraham. Just when their new film "Madhoshi" is around the corner, rumours regarding their "impending split" are doing the rounds.
Bipasha takes strong exception to the insinuations. "I don't know whether such rumours of link-ups and break-ups are part of every film's publicity campaign. But personally speaking, it's very annoying to have these utterly unfounded stories doing the rounds.
"I don't think they help push a film into the public eye. At the end of the day, no one cares who's seeing whom, or not seeing. They just want to see the film."