Wanted: Bollywood Hero
The industry needs a star. Who will it be?
Subhash K Jha
It maybe curtains for two of the biggest stars of Bollywood. Govinda and Salman Khan have lately seen an unbroken series of setbacks in their respective careers.
For Govinda, the failure of all his comedies, including one with his lucky director David Dhawan Kyunkii Main Jhooth Nahin Bolta, indicates a serious lapse in connectivity with the audience. Over the years he has failed to reinvent himself as an actor who can go beyond situational comedy.
All his recent films like brother Kirti Kumar's Pyar Deewana Hota Hai and Harmesh Malhotra's Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare have him doing variations of the same.
The audience has run out of patience as far as Govinda's parodies are concerned.
The actor insists that his recent films haven't done well because of the general slump in the market. His forthcoming comedy Khullam Khulla Pyar directed by Harmesh Malhotra, has been delayed for several months now.
Govinda refused to play the jaunty Chunnilal in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas because he didn't want to play second fiddle to Shah Rukh Khan. The role eventually went to Jackie Shroff.
After delivering flops like Tumko Na Bhool Payenge and Yeh Hai Jalwa, Salman Khan too has every reason to worry. He was in every frame of these films and took active interest in every department from the casting to the music to the post-production details.
Khan also dropped his habitual hostility towards the press and gave interviews on the eve of the two films' release.
However, his rebellious image doesn't go well with the film industry, media or the audience. His last attempt at salvaging his career is a Hindi remake of the South Indian blockbuster Sethu. The actor shaved his head to maintain authenticity for his role. It is said to be a powerful author-backed role albeit with dark overtones that might not go down well with the public.
At the moment Khan and Govinda seem to be sailing in the same boat. Both the actors have acquired a reputation for indiscipline and indifference towards their careers.
Recently, Govinda shocked the industry when he refused to turn up at the Mumbai airport where the entire unit of Malhotra's Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare waited for him to leave for Mauritius. Finally, the song had to be shot at the Ramoji Rao Studios, Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Reportedly, Khan is driving himself into inebriated stupor because of his turbulent relationship with Hindi star Aishwarya Rai. His friends are said to be alarmed at distinctive suicidal tendencies in him.
As for the industry, it is wary of signing on these two once top ranked heroes.
With Sanjay Dutt's career hovering in a cloud of uncertainty, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan voluntarily staying away from the screen and Hrithik Roshan delivering no successes, the film industry could be heading for a serious drought of heroic material.