It’s Friday, which means it’s make-or-break time for another new release. And like almost every other Friday, this week sees the debut of a new star-kid, Sara Ali Khan. Sara, 23, is the daughter of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh and features in Kedarnath, the new film from director Abhishek Kapoor. Between the two parents there’s acting talent to spare.
However, one can’t escape the cynicism that comes with this sort of a launch. In Sara’s case, there is the additional cognitive dissonance of watching her break into acting while dad Saif is still starring in films opposite women 20 years younger than him.
Thankfully, ‘Kedarnath’ proves that Sara very much deserves her time in the spotlight, or at least on the big screen.
Kedarnath is an imperfect but captivating film; a love story that somewhat awkwardly transitions into disaster movie. It lays out the small-town courtship with assured patience and attention to the little things. It’s here that Sara shines, as her character Mandakini initiates, then takes the lead in the relationship while Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) has all to do but cave in.
Mandakini a.k.a. Mukku is a fun character and Sara makes her feel authentically spunky. She makes Mukku that brash and overly enthu girl you can’t help but fall in love with. Her rebellious ways are given organic roots in her troubled home life. She manages a lot of emotional heavy lifting in the second half of the film.
Sara Ali Khan has a refreshing screen presence. The first time she appears in the film, there is a familiar hint of Saif in her voice and diction. But Sara soon grows into her own. She plays warm, vibrant and charismatic in a way that is immediately endearing yet never breaks the film’s reality.
She both stands out in the crowd yet fits in to the setting of ‘Kedarnath’. If you ask me, that’s the mark of a star. A star who can act.
Sara Ali Khan should probably thank the Gods that she didn’t end up debuting with the Karan Johar-produced Simmba. Who knows how much or how little she has to do as the female lead in Rohit Shetty film. More importantly, Karan would have moved the heavens and earth in promoting her, and then she could never have escaped the tag of nepotism. Instead, the promotions for Kedarnath have been low-key and Sara has been charming her way across interviews. Her appearance on Koffee With Karan was widely lauded for her frankness in speaking about dealing with PCOS and weight issues.
Sara has taken a pleasantly understated approach to entering the audiences’ minds, ‘Kedarnath’ will go along way to cement her in their hearts.
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