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Ramp walkers have rough time in Bollywood

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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It's not really a cakewalk these days for models making their way into Bollywood.

Apart from Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra no model or beauty queen has in recent times made an impact worth noting.

Ramp king John Abraham, who made a beefy impact in "Jism" last year, lost all the debutante awards to the less model-like and more performance-oriented Shahid Kapur.

After a series of flops John is now trying to get a foothold in what he calls mainstream cinema, with Sunny Deol and Suniel Shetty to buffer his potential fall in "Lakeer".

In his next release "Mumkin", John is back doing what he's most comfortable with - steamy scenes.

But is anyone interested any longer? John, like many other model-turned-actors, needs to reinvent his image. But he seems incapable of going anywhere else.

Another well-known model Nauheed Cyrusi, who's paired with John in "Lakeer", was seen in Padam Kumar's "Supari" and Vikram Bhatt's "Inteha".

Like many of her colleagues from the modelling world she remains a paper tigress, more heard and seen outside films than on celluloid.

Zulfi Syed made a timid start with A. Muthu's "Pyaasa" in 2002. He resurfaced last year with the sugary love story "Chupke Se" which, true to its title, vanished without a trace.

Another big name in modelling is Shahwar Ali. His debut in "Hawas" last month went unnoticed both among the audience and critics. Now Shahwar has one film "Husn" that he signed before the release of his debut film.

There's a growing feeling in the film industry that models aren't able to deliver celluloid performances. The new generation of beauty queens and ramp walkers are discovering that success is no cakewalk in cinema.

While the earlier models and catwalk icons were immediately picked up and celebrated by the glamour-fixated film industry, today the dimensions for stardom are changing rapidly.

Many models would find it almost impossible to go beyond the first break. The two worlds are being seen as mutually exclusive.

Models-turned-actors like Tara Sharma and Amrita Arora and veejays like Gaurav and Purab Kohli have found the going tough after their first break. Before being signed on, the industry wants proof of their acting talent.

But are there any more Aishwarya Rais lurking somewhere?

This week another model, Samita Bangargi, will be seen in Raj Kaushal's eagerly awaited comedy "Shaadi Ka Laddoo". Her future could determine the fate of many wannabes trying to cross over from the ramp to celluloid.


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