September 14, 2002 
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Karisma, Bipasha at war!
The actresses have powerful, author-backed roles in this week's Shakti and Gunaah

Subhash K Jha

In an unusual departure from the macho convention of Hindi cinema, two leading ladies take centerstage in the films releasing this Friday. While Karisma Kapoor has established herself amongst topnotch actresses, Bipasha Basu is the current flavour of the season.

Shakti -- The Power and Gunaah are female-oriented films with author-backed roles for the leading lady, but they are as different from each other as day and night. Or as Kapoor and Basu.

While Shakti deals with feudal subjugation and feminine rebellion, Gunaah is about a female cop's obsession with a fugitive on the run. The latter has shades of the Amitabh Bachchan-Sharmila Tagore-Sanjeev Kumar starrer Faraar and Tanuja Chandra's Akshay Kumar-Preity Zinta starrer Sangharsh, which in turn had shades of Hollywood's Silence Of The Lambs.
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Originally titled Encounter, Gunaah has Bipasha Basu sporting the khakis for the second time. She was a cop in David Dhawan's recent Chor Machaaye Shor. Her role in Gunaah has serious dimensions than just vital statistics. Very few female cops, barring Hema Malini in Andha Kanoon and Dimple Kapadia in Zakhmi Sher have made a sizeable impact. Bipasha could once again prove her BO worth post Vikram Bhatt's Raaz and further consolidate her position.

Karisma who was the undisputed boxoffice queen till last year seems to have lost some ground with her last release Haan…Maine Bhi Pyar Kiya Hai. In Shakti she’s got a foolproof role . Trade experts insist Karisma is all set to shut her detractors with her powerhouse presence in this womens’ picture.A still from Shakti-The Power

Both releases are also diametrically different in purpose and intent. While Kapoor's anti-patriarchal rebellion in Shakti is targeted at a primarily female audience, Gunaah and its titillating premise (gun, glamour and gore) aims to capture a male audience. The promos show a cozy Basu and her Raaz costar Dino Morea in action.

Between the two, Shakti seems to have a marked edge. Audiences are eager to see Karisma in an emotionally-charged role after Khalid Mohamed's Fiza and Shyam Benegal's Zubeidaa. The film's USP is Shah Rukh Khan in a rabble-rousing mass-oriented guest appearance as a street-smart hood . Also, Aishwarya Rai has been added on to the bubbling brew for a last-minute sizzle in the drizzle.

Shah Rukh and Aishwarya's song Ishq kameena (a brazen takeoff on last year's chartbuster Kambakht ishq, composed by Sandeep Chowtha), is currently enjoying much airplay on Indian television.

Producer Boney Kapoor has not had a success in a while, and Shakti is expected to turn the tide for him. It may be recalled that Kapoor had turned down Boney on two previous occasions --- in Judaai and Badhaai Ho Badhaai. And, as she has confessed in many interviews, Kapoor is only interested powerful tailormade roles at this stage of her career.

As for Gunaah, the Raaz hangover is evident in its mood and content. In fact, Vikram Bhatt has been quite actively involved in the making of Gunaah.Bipasha Basu and Dino Morea in Gunaah

Both Shakti and Gunaah bring new filmmaking talent to Hindi cinema. Director Krishna Vamsi is a well-known name in Telugu cinema. In Shakti, he remakes his Telugu film Anthapuram (which in turn was a remake of the Hollywood film Not Without My Daughter).

Gunaah director Amol Shetge is a well-known name in Marathi cinema. Will these two debutant directors be able to supplement the talent in Mumbai?

Shakti -- The Power and Gunaah hit the marquee September 20.


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