He is as blue-blooded as one can get in Bollywood without being a Kapoor. He can be reasonably funny. But can looks really kill? And is that what murdered Uday Chopra's acting career? wonders Saudamini Jain.
D.O.B: January 5, 1973
Sun sign: Capricorn (why this is important: this sign is represented by a goat, which can climb steeper cliffs than any other animal)
Father: Yash Chopra (Bollywood's king of romance, directed and/or produced Waqt, Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Veer-Zaara among others)
Brother: Aditya Chopra (who followed in papa's filmmaking footsteps, and is good at it too)
Uncle: BR Chopra (Yada yada hi dharmasya. Sunday morning Mahabharat, anyone?)
But then, if stardom was genetic, we wouldn't snigger at Tusshar Kapoor, Luv Sinha or Mimoh Chakraborty. So back to the beginning...
Circa 1995, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Assistant directors: Uday Chopra and Karan Johar.
Being an AD is a thing - it's a rite of passage till you get that big break. Johar went on to make Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Uday waited.
But in 2000 came the homegrown Yash Raj film Mohabbatein - about love blossoming in and around a strict boarding school. It was a big, shiny launching pad for six young newbies. Apart from Uday, it starred Shilpa Shetty's baby sister Shamita, the Masoom kid Jugal Hansraj, an unfortunately underrated Jimmy Shergill and two nobody girls for decoration.
They ended up playing SRK's backup dancers and props to the ghost of Aishwarya Rai floating through the sets (seriously, she played dead). The film (and Kaun Banega Crorepati) resurrected Amitabh Bachchan's career. But most of the moppets faded into non-existence. Funnily enough, they all continue to act. You'll need Wikipedia to know where.
But Uday… we saw him over and over again. We were first subjected to Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, which was according to director Sanjay Gadhvi "inspired less than 1 per cent by My Best Friend's Wedding". We believe him because no way on Earth can you get Uday to do a Julia Roberts. His fellow cast mates Tulip Joshi and Jimmy Shergill settled for Punjabi films.
Now Uday decided to invest in special appearances. Big brother made another film with young names: Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. The audience unfriended them before Uday could say Mujhse Dosti Karoge. Then, an even shorter appearance - all of two seconds in Kal Ho Naa Ho. His only dialogue is, "Day 6". But (will this boy never learn?) dressed in a shirt splashed with more shades of blue than you had ever seen.
Still, Uday kept calm and carried on. We saw him in Charas: A Joint Effort, named so because the only way you'd be able to tolerate it is if you were happily stoned. Then, came Neal 'n' Nikki starring Tanisha Mukherjee's push-up bras (best line ever: "Tum nange kyun the?"). Uday never got over the failure of the film, apparently. And so just four years ago, he did the impossible and gave us Pyaar Impossible! (Geek falls for gorgeous girl, meets her years later, in the meantime someone steals this revolutionary software he was working on… the only thing that sticks in Uday's script is his nickname, Froggy).
All critics unanimously agreed it sucked (they were the only ones who watched the film anyway) and handed out a generous star each.
With that Uday's career in Bollywood ended. Except...
The Dhoom Franchise
Starring: A few hot ladies, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday, the resident tapori. We liked him in the first film; hell, we even laughed. But we were focused on John Abraham. In Dhoom 2, Uday was even more sidelined by Hrithik Roshan.
And in 2011, completely out of the blue, this came in:
"Dhoom 3 is my swan song. It will be my last film. No, I'm not giving up acting; it's quite the opposite, acting is giving up on me."
Going by the trailers (the film hadn't released when we went to press), Dhoom 3 seems to be only about Aamir Khan anyway.
What is he up to then?
Watching Bigg Boss for sure (although he says otherwise) because nothing can compare to the joy of seeing an ex - Tanisha, allegedly - on a 'reality' show.
Dating Nargis Fakhri, again 'allegedly'. They do have the cutest fights on Twitter though.
Doing stuff online. He's got this detailed website so corny it could only belong to a struggling 'actor/model'. And, on Tumblr, he blogs about the purpose of life and other profound things.
Tweeting, a lot. There's bizarre ('I spoke to a tree today. It was the best conversation I ever had. The tree said… nothing! Yet it confirmed all my suspicions… I'm crazy!') and observational ('Does @TwoHalfMen_CBS know that the half has become a full man now and he's kinda moved out, so technically it's just two men now') and hilarious ('Can a vampire become a zombie?').
Moral of the story
If you're a rich kid, you can always move to LA and produce Hollywood films. Early next year, you'll see Uday's first, a film about Grace Kelly, starring Nicole Kidman.
Follow @SaudaminiJain on Twitter
From HT Brunch, December 15
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