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Memorable films

Soha Ali Khan

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Upperstall profile by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

There is no doubt that Soha Ali Khan is one of the more promising actresses in the film industry but barring a stray Antarmahal (2005) or a Rang De Basanti (2006), she has yet to make a mark as an actress.

Born on October 4, 1978 in New Delhi, Soha comes from the royal family of Pataudi. Her father is the Nawab of Pataudi and ex-Indian cricketer Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi while her mother Sharmila Tagore was a huge star in the 1960s and 1970s. Soha studied at The British School in New Delhi, moving on to study History at Balliol College at Oxford. She then did a Masters Degree in International Relations from the prestigious London School of Economics. She worked with the Ford Foundation and Citibank before deciding to follow in her mother and brother's (Saif Ali Khan) footsteps and taking up acting as a career.

Soha made her filmi debut with Dil Maange More (2004) opposite Shahid Kapur as an ambitious girl who choses her career over Shahid and by the time she realizes she wants to be with him, it is too late. As one of the three girls in Shahid's life, Soha was adequate enough and made no major impact in the film. The same year she also did a Bengali film, Iti Srikanta (2004), based on the Sarat Chandra Chatterjee classic.

The following year while Pyaar Mein Twist and Shaadi No 1 did nothing for her, Soha showed sparks of being an actress of some merit with Rituparno Ghosh's Antarmahal (2005). Though the real performing role in the film is Rupa Ganguly's as Jackie Shroff's first wife, Soha more than leaves her mark on the film. She is fine as the younger wife Jackie takes animal-like everynight in the hope of getting an heir, who gets dangerously drawn to sculptor Abhishek Bachchan maikng an effigy of Durga for the upcoming Durga Pooja. She is also photographed beautifully in the film reminding you of her mother in Satyajit Ray's Devi (1960).

Soha's finest performance to date has undoubtedly come in Rang De Basanti (2006). The film sees Sue (Alice Patten) chuck up her job in UK and come to India to make a film on Indian Freedom Fighters Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bismil, Sukhdev etc on reading her grandfather's diaries written during his stint in India as a jailor. She is helped in India by Sonia (Soha Ali Khan Pataudi) who introduces her to her group of motley friends DJ (Aamir Khan), Karan (Siddharth), Sukhi (Sharman Joshi) and Aslam (Kunal Kapoor), a group that enjoys lukkhagiri and has no particular love for the nation. She convinces them to act as the freedom fighters in her film. They are joined by a hardcore rightwing outsider to the group, Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) to act as one of the freedom fighters. Sonia is engaged to a pilot in the Indian Air Force, Ajay (R Madhavan). As the group begins work on the film and they try to understand the mindset of our freedom fighters, they start undergoing a transformation Soha comes across as a breath of fresh air in the film besides giving a fine understated performance. She went on to win the IIFA Best Supporting Actress Award for the film. The film also led to a romance with co-star Siddharth Narayan.

Soha was fine in the cute love story Ahista Ahista (2006) making a good pair with Abhay Deol but a huge, huge disappointment in Khoya Khoya Chand (2007) as was the film itself, tracing the tumultuous love story of an actress, Nikhat (Soha Ali Khan) and a writer-director, Zafar (Shiney Ahuja) set against the Hindi film industry of the 1950s and 1960s. There are enough times in the film when you do feel that it's not merely the weak writing but also the fact that the complexities of Nikhat and what she goes through seem to be beyond Soha's comprehension. Consequently her performance is inconsistent and lacks depth and maturity.

However, Soha bounced back and acquited herself reasonably well in both, Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008), a film looking at the effect the serial train blasts that occured in Mumbai on 11th July 2006 have on a motley group of people and the marital infidelity comedy, Dil Kabaddi.

2009 has not been a good year for Soha. Though 99 performed averagely at the box-office, Soha's performance was nothing to write home about, and Tum Mile, while seeing a sincere enough effort by her, simply doesn't work as a film. She seriously needs the right films and the right directors now if she is to fulfill her early promise as an actress.





 

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