Saturday, December 10, 2005

Muscles or talent?

Muscles, or, talent?

Just a thought struck me as I was watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie (whichever, whatever, all of them look the same to me!) yesterday.

When, I mean really, when, did this thing of acting prowess as muscles take root? I mean, when did the likes of muscle-and-brawn men like Arnold and Sylvester Stallone come to be called exponents of the fine art of acting. True, neither can act. The former confessed that directors have to make him lie down on a table to bring some expression into his immobile face. The guy just can’t act to save his life. He is an actor because of his muscles. Ditto for Sylvester, why, he can’t even speak.

Back home in India, our heroes-in-waiting have taken to the idea of brawn as acting skills as a fish takes to water. If you visit your local gymnasium you will find at least a hundred youngsters pumping iron in the hope that they would get to be actors like Arnold, Sylvester, Khan, and Kapoor. I guess our own wanna-be Khans and Kapoors must have been inspired by the Hollywood duo to beef up their pectorals and fight, sorry, scare the villains with their biceps!

Acting? What acting? We are into the “looking good” business. Acting is for sissies and grumpies who sit with books the whole day.

A big “ha!” to that!

Now, can biceps, triceps, or, for that matter, pectorals, compensate for good acting skills? Agreed Arnold, Sylvester, the Khans, and the Kapoors have churned out a lot of hits. That’s what biceps do to acting talent.

Confession: I have watched a lot of these capers, and have, ummm, liked them too. But can they really, really, act? Can they?

If they can act, then “Wat r u ding?” is great literature. And the following is great poetry:

“Honey came in and she caught me red-handedCreeping with the girl next doorPicture this, we were both butt nakedBangin' on the bathroom floor”

Written by some pop or rap star called Shaggy who is also a shabby writer. But, come on, he sells millions of records. That’s what biceps do to music. Don’t you know?

What does it say about the state of humankind when a fine art form like acting is not done with brains but with biceps, triceps and pectorals? Is acting and poetry no longer an intellectual pursuit?

Is it all about flexing the above-mentioned muscles?

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