When the enigmatic Greta Garbo stepped out of the limelight at the height of her glory, she made it clear that she wanted to be alone. We will forever remember her incandescent beauty captured on celluloid. But not everyone is la Garbo. The instinct of someone who has once seen fame is to make that awful mistake called the comeback. The latest in line is Madhuri Dixit, she of the nimble feet and fetching smile. Do we really want to see the once effervescent Ms Dixit leaping around on screen desperately trying to erase the years she’s been away? When the luminous Mumtaz stepped off the screen, did we ever imagine that she would come back to haunt us decades later, a caricature of her former self? It was bad enough seeing a bloated King of Rock’n’Roll belting out songs towards the end of his life, but we shudder to think of hearing Jailhouse Rock from a 70-year-old Elvis the Prosthetic Pelvis.
The genial Sanjay Dutt’s goodwill is fast wearing thin with his frequent comebacks from jail to the same old hugs and applause. Take a break, Munnabhai, the sequels are getting tedious. And now to the comeback King of them all, Amitabh Bachchan. From the dapper Don to the brooding protagonist of Sholay, Big B scared the wits out of us in the comeback vehicle appropriately named Mrityudata. From then, it has been a steady slide down the slippery slope — with a happy detour as KBC anchorman — as far as acting goes for the Shahenshah. Sharon Stone would have remained the stuff male fantasies are made of after her inimitable uncrossing of legs in Basic Instinct. But in the cinematic equivalent of a cold shower, back she was with the sequel which made you wish that there would be a revival in Victorian undergarments.
Those who we remember best are those who stayed away. Unfortunately for some like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, being dead brought the curtains down on them. But then, the prospect of Marilyn aged 60 crooning Diamonds are a girl’s best friend with the famed superstructure sagging is as frightening a prospect as any. We are not being ageist here. There are those who have been around since kingdom come, like rock’s most famous wrinklers, the Rolling Stones. The fans still adore ex-Bond Sean Connery. So clearly, absence itself does not make the heart grow fonder. A famous critic once wondered why diva Cher danced like his granny only to remember that she indeed was the same age as his gran. But we never noticed her superannuation status since she never went away. So for all those who are hoping to come back and dazzle us, our message is simple. Go already.