Those who fizzled out, and those who stayed
The list of those who come to Bollywood with a great deal of promise and then fail to deliver grows longer.
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
In fact, the more hype there is surrounding a hopeful, the more disappointing they prove to be. It happened with Kumar Gaurav who many years ago catapulted into big time as The Next Best Thing, only to be felled by post-debut releases.
After the spectacular success of his debut film "Love Story", Kumar Gaurav's career was brought down by a spate of flops like "Teri Kasam", "Romance" and "Lovers".
On the other hand, Gaurav's brother-in-law Sanjay Dutt, who started off at just about the same time as he did, had a relatively tame start with "Rocky" which wasn't a major success compared to "Love Story".
Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan are two other actors who didn't start with a bang. Bachchan had as many as 13 flops before he came to "Zanjeer". Shah Rukh Khan's first release was Hema Malini's only directorial venture "Dil Aashna Hai" which was a miserable flop.
More recently, Vivek Oberoi and Hrithik Roshan who started with spectacular hype and hope in "Company" and "Kaho Na...Pyar Hai" soon found their careers stymied, for no fault of theirs. Although Hrithik was spectacular in films like Subhash Ghai's "Yaadein" and Arjun Sablok's "Na Tum Jano Na Hum", he was all but written off as a one-film wonder and a victim of the Kumar Gaurav syndrome by the press in Mumbai.
Likewise, Vivek hasn't really consolidated the Company he kept in spite of commendable performances in Mani Ratnam's "Yuva" and Indra Kumar's "Masti". Though the latter was a success, most viewers thought it was below the Ram Gopal Varma's protégé's depth and dignity.
Now Vivek is hoping Subhash Ghai's "Kissna" will do the trick. And chances are, it will.
But the big question is whether there is any truth in the old slow-and-steady-wins-the-race adage. It looks like those who start tamely but confidently are the ones who go on to be reliable stars.
Rajesh Khanna, considered by many to be the biggest star ever, had flops like "Aurat", "Raaz" and "Baharon Ke Sapne" before "Aradhana" catapulted him to superstardom. Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi both began with non-starters, "Abodh" and "Solva Saawan", respectively before inching upwards. And Aishwarya Rai's first two films Mani Ratnam's "Iruvar" and Rahul Rawail's "Aur Pyar Ho Gaya" were washouts.
On the other hand, Bhagyashree who became the nation's rage after Sooraj Barjatya's "Maine Pyar Kiya" soon fizzled out.
Among the recent crop of debutantes it's the one-flop Sammir Dattani who's being closely inspected by Bollywood bigwigs. Launched by the prestigious Rajshri productions earlier this year in "Uff Ka Jadoo Mohabbat Hai", the striking newcomer is playing his cards well.
"I'm in no hurry to sign films. Most newcomers make that mistake and end up doing wrong films. Sure, I should be insecure, too, since my first film didn't work. But I'm lucky enough to be financially secure and I'm not pushed by anyone to get seriously successful. I know it will come, when it will come. No point in pushing it," says this talented 22-year-old.
You won't see him being incessantly written about in the glossies. "That's because I don't see any point in being a paper tiger. I'd rather work than be talked about for extra-curricular activities. Where was the paparazzi and Page-3 celebrities when Mr Dilip Kumar, Mr Amitabh Bachchan and Mr Rajesh Khanna set out to become legends? Even Salman Khan and Rani Mukherjee are keeping away from the press. And still so successful," says Dattani, unconsciously laying down the basic blueprint for a steady route to success.
Don't spend your time looking chic in the tabloids. Once the party is over, it's work that beckons. And the basic rule for working well is to keep the faith alive. That's what Shah Rukh Khan did when he made that impossible transition from television to cinema.