Abhi Baby!!!! Surprisingly undervalued, but also seems to kind of like it like that. He struggled in his father’s shadow as a young man, but has matured into understanding the value of being overlooked and allowed to do his own thing. And he is very very good at doing his own thing.
There are 3 things that I think of as being unique to Abhishek, making him a very special kind of performer and irreplacable in the right role. The question is, which of these 3 things do you enjoy most about Abhishek? Which is least important?
I’ll put it another way. Imagine you are a bad birthday fairy. Abhishek recieved these three gifts at his Christening, and now you are coming to take one back. Which one would you take away if you wanted to harm him most? Which one would you take away if you wanted to harm him least?
He is sincerely hilarious. Comic timing is something inborn, you have it or you don’t. And Abhishek really REALLY has it!!!! He knows exactly when to raise his eyebrow, make a face, pause in the middle of a line. You can’t NOT laugh at him. Forget all the professional comedians, I sincerely find Abhishek the funniest actor in India today.
Chemistry. This is something you can learn, for instance Shahid Kapoor is now one of the best actors for creating chemistry, and when he started out he was one of the worst. It is about keeping eye contact on your scene partner, imitating their body language, listening closely for the dialogue cues, just generally becoming one with the person opposite you. But Abhishek had it from the start. It is part of the reason I think of him as a nice person in real life, because right from his first movie he paid attention to his scene partners and made them shine. It’s most noticable in romances, but it’s really ANY scene partner. He elevates the performance of anyone he works with, I can think of more than a dozen people off the top of my head who gave the best performance of their career opposite Abhishek, from Mithun Chakraborty to Aishwarya Rai. Abhishek started out with that innate sense of working with a scene partner, and in the years since he has just gotten better and better.
Height. Tallest man in Hindi film. Well, along with Boman Irani and Sonu Sood, Happy New Year was Film of Giants (and also SRK). It gives him so much, as a tallish person from a tall family I know that you learn pretty quickly that people will look up to you (literally leads to metaphorically), that you will stand out in any group, and that you either crumble under the pressure or learn to handle it. So he had that confidence going for him, that charisma and dominating the room vibe. And then he has added on so many little acting tricks, creating humor from the height difference when he looks down on people, romance when he crouches to meet his co-star at equal height, or just a way of sprawling around a room to indicate he is in charge.
Okay, if I were an Evil Fairy taking away one blessing and I wanted to do the most damage, I would take away his comedy. That comic timing gives an edge to everything he does, from romantic scenes to action scenes. Take it away, and his whole performance is less.
If I were an Evil Fairy taking away one blessing and I wanted to do the least damage, I would take away his height. I think his chemistry and comedy would let him work with whatever physical feature he was handed, if he was the shortest actor in the world, he would make that sexy. And if he was average height, he would make that funny.