By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai– Celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Anurag Kashyap and Emraan Hashmi — once big newsmakers from Bollywood — seemed to have faded away this year. With the new year setting in, one hopes the stars shine again.
* Katrina Kaif: The darling of the masses, she is adored because she’s adorable. Two back-to-back failures — “Fitoor” and “Baar Baar Dekho” — and a disastrous love liaison saw Katrina fade from the marquee. It will now take a miracle to see her up there again. Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra may be counted among her friends but we don’t see any of these big names lining up to sign her.
* Anurag Kashyap: The self-appointed saviour of Indian cinema, the filmmaker who was destined to put us back on the global map, delivered a row of flops, topped of course, by “Bombay Velvet”. This year, Kashyap’s “Raman Raghav” encored his single-minded devotion to portraying the sordid and the scummy. He seriously needs to reinvent himself.
* Emraan Hashmi: End of the road for the serial kisser as other ‘kissers’ like Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh showed up. After a series of flops, his hopes were pinned on “Azhar”. Sadly, even the biopic boom couldn’t help the film’s collections. Now, a miracle is awaited in Emraan’s career.
* Prakash Jha: He pioneered the movement of the new wave cinema into the mainstream. Big budget political dramas like “Satyagraha” and “Aarakshan” have proven box office duds. “Jai Gangaajal” in 2016, where he played the leading man in his own film, showed how far his creative vision had drifted from its original goals.
* Aditya Roy Kapur: Before “Aashiqui 2”, he was struggling to find his voice. Now after “Fitoor” in 2016, he is back where he started. Contemporaries like Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan have raced far ahead. Can “OK Jaanu” with his “Aashiqui” co-star Shraddha Kapoor save Aditya’s career?
* Parineeti Chopra: A self-imposed sabbatical gave her contemporaries Alia Bhatt, Shradha Kapoor and Kriti Sanon a chance to race ahead. Parineeti should hear what Amitabh Bachchan has to say about actors taking sabbaticals vis-a-vis his own self-imposed exile of three years. “It’s very arrogant to think everything would be the same when an actor decides to return”. We do hope Parineeti’s “Meri Pyari Bindu” pays off.
* Neil Nitin Mukesh: What happened to the actor whose name pays a homage to a legendary astronaut and a legendary singer? Neil even tried some villainy in “Prem Ratan Dhan Payo” and “Wazir”. Now he is looking at marriage to save his career. Married actors do well in Bollywood.
* Randeep Hooda: Sterling performances in 2016 in “Sarbjit” and “Yeh Laal Rang” could not stem his downward spiral. Both Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Randeep, exceptionally talented actors, need to realise audiences don’t want to see them as leading men. A case in point: “Sultan”, where Randeep played Salman’s trainer was seen by more people than all of Randeep’s films put together, barring “Kick”.
* Sunny Deol: It’s truly heart-rending to hear that Sunny paaji, who once, not too long ago, was the undisputed lion of Bollywood’s jungle, is struggling to get a leading lady for himself. “Ghayal Returns”, which he directed and starred in 2016, was a flop, proving that the actor stands little chance of returning.
* Preity Zinta: A career lost to the Indian Premier League (IPL). One false business move wiped this hottie’s career out of the Bollywood map. In spite of a secret marriage at the beginning of 2016, Preity remained out of the news. “Bhaiyyaji Superhit”, the only film she has on hand, sounds more like wishful thinking than a real attempt to resurrect her career.