Performances: Technique and Analysis
According to reports, Kapoor relies on her instincts and spontaneity as an actor. She is known to commit heavily to each role, and refrains from rehearsing for a project. Commenting on this, director Rajkumar Hirani said "I usually have a habit of conducting rehearsals for my actors, but she insisted on not having them as it would affect her spontaneity. She really surprised me with a couple of emotional scenes which we canned in just one take". Karan Johar described Kapoor as a "natural", explaining that "she has no craft, grammar or process attached to her acting It is a great sense of cinema that can keep her going". According to Rensil D'Silva (who directed her in Kurbaan), "Kareena is instinctive and has emotional intelligence. She absorbs the situation and performs accordingly. Discussing the scene, in fact, harms her".
While credited with reinventing herself in recent years, Kapoor and her films have been the subject of considerable critical analysis. In a 2010 article discussing her career highlights, Rediff.com noted "ven though a lot of her starring roles have been forgettable, look at her filmography now, however, would show more a more thoughtful selection of roles playing to her strengths". Before her acting debut, Kapoor explained that she avoided the stereotypical college-student role and opted to play "a role that c help me prove I am an actress first". After her success as Poo in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), directors began offering her similar roles and her film choices were often criticized; film historian Gyan Prakash explained that these roles "tended to infantilise her, packaging her as daddy's little girl, all bubble and no fizz". Critics expressed concern that she was becoming typecast, but these negative reviews were fundamental in motivating her to accept more demanding roles. With the release of Chameli (2004) some critics noted her coming of age, claiming that "a new actor in her was discovered".
Following her portrayal of such characters as those in Chameli, Dev (2004), Omkara (2006) and Jab We Met (2007), Kapoor was recognized for her versatility; in 2010, Filmfare Magazine included two of her performances—from Omkara and Jab We Met—in its list of "80 Iconic Performances". India Today labelled her "the most versatile female lead in the industry", noting that she "play her roles with trademark spunk". Manjula Sen of The Telegraph concurred: " the worst success ratio among her contemporaries Kapoor is effortlessly honest in her performances". Writing for CNN-IBN, Rituparna Chatterjee spoke of her transformation to date: "fter 40 films and 10 years of fighting off competition from some of the most versatile actors of her generation, Kareena has matured into a bankable actor reinventing herself with surprising ease, film after film". In 2004, Kapoor placed third on Rediff's list of "Top Bollywood Female Stars". She was later ranked seventh and fifth in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and returned to third place in 2007. In January 2011, Kapoor placed fourth on Rediff's list of "Top 10 Actresses of 2000–2010".
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