Sometimes, life does give you second chances. US President Barack Obama’s re-election for another term is a great example. In Bollywood too, it takes more than once-a-star status to make a comeback and sustain it.
Senior film journalist Rauf Ahmed says, “Actors need to realise that in the time that they’ve not been around, the audience has changed. They can’t start from where they left off. When Amitabh (Bachchan) made his comeback, he couldn’t have returned as the angry young man.” The kind of role that the actor makes a comeback with, then, becomes important. He says, “Madhuri (Dixit) made a mistake with her comeback. But Sridevi was smart in choosing a film where she could play her age.”
Here’s looking at the five actors who’ve played the game well. Also, ad-man Pralhad Kakkar tells us what it will take for each actor to sustain their position in the industry.
Comeback: Wanted (2009)
After a string of flops, Wanted catapulted Salman back to the top of the box-office. Since then, every film he’s touched — Dabangg (2010), Ready (2011), Bodyguard (2011) and Ek Tha Tiger (2012) — has turned to gold. He is hailed as the biggest superstar today.
Prahlad Kakkar: “He’s the ‘angry young man of the south remakes’. He can’t be the good guy because nobody will buy that, and he can’t be the villain either. As long as he plays the good-bad guy, he will be fine.”
: The Dirty Picture (2011)
After her applauded debut in Parineeta (2005), she lost her way with some lacklustre commercial films. Paa (2009) and Ishqiya (2010) got her back into the limelight, but it was The Dirty Picture (2011) that established her as a bankable female protagonist. The solo hit, Kahaani, further reinforced that fact. Prahlad Kakkar
: “She has reached a level where people’s expectations are high. She will have to choose challenging roles and play a smart game.”
Comeback: Kaun Banega Crorepati (2000)
When his film career wasn’t going great, Bachchan took the risk of becoming the first superstar to do a TV show. Kaun Banega Crorepati (2000) turned out to be a huge success. Today, he is the host of KBC 6 and one of the most popular faces in films and on television.
Prahlad Kakkar: “With KBC, he returned and proved his mettle again. Now, he’s the only actor for whom roles are specially written. He will get that until the day he chooses to retire.”
Comeback: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Danny Boyle’s film put Anil Kapoor on the global map. Later, his role in the TV series 24 also got him rave reviews, followed by his role in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011). Today, he is one of the most-recognised Indian actors in the west.
Prahlad Kakkar: “Anil Kapoor doesn’t need to worry about sustaining his position because he has started producing his own films and writing roles for himself. He’s a forever-young guy.”
Comeback: English Vinglish (2012)
Sridevi came back with a bang with a tailor-made role. Unlike her peers, she didn’t try to play a role younger. Not only was the star welcomed back in a grand manner, the film also did good business.
Prahlad Kakkar: “It’s going to be tough for her to stick around. Not everyone will write women-centric roles for a middle-aged actor. She will have to watch out for roles that will give her what her comeback film did.”