Nothing is permanent in the world of showbiz - not even failures. An unremarkable debut or a series of flops or even occasional unemployment can prove to be quite a dent on someone’s gilded reputation. However, some Bollywood folk have shown great perseverance to bounce back from the deepest depths of professional disappointment. Ask Amitabh Bachchan! The legend chose the small screen and a reality quiz show at the turn of the new century to sketch his comeback. And the rest as they say is history. Here are a few B-Town people who managed to emerge victorious against all odds.
Debut: Footpath (2003)
Turnaround: Although his last two releases didn’t create a buzz at the box office, he’s accepted as a promising entrant of the big league. What’s worth noting about his admirable shift is the fact that not very long ago, he was labelled ‘serial kisser’ thanks to his streak of onscreen smooches. However, that was in the past. Due to his work in The Dirty Picture and Shanghai, the tag has been altered to ‘serious actor’.
Debut: Monsoon Wedding (2001)
Turnaround: His second film happened four years after his first. For some reason, there used to be constant spells of inconsistency in his early days - marked by some forgettable movies. And then Milan Luthria’s Once Upon a Time in Mumbai happened. It was followed by Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster, thus resurrecting his career.
Debut: Sarfarosh (1999)
Turnaround: If your memory is sharp enough, you might just remember his role in the Aamir Khan-starrer action drama. You may even remember him as the pickpocket whom Sunil Dutt saves from a mob’s fury in Munna Bhai MBBS. Today, Nawaz is one of the most interesting actors around in B-Town. His redoubtable performance in Gangs of Wasseypur, Kahaani and Bombay Talkies proved to be the catalyst to his otherwise not-so-memorable career.
Debut: Aryan (2006)
Turnaround: After an uninspiring stint as an actor, Abhishek moved to stand behind the camera. His directorial debut starring Sohail Khan suffered delay and dismal collections. Two years later, Rock On!! turned the tables for him. The National Award-winning film gave him the confidence to come up with another surprise: Kai Po Che! His next stars Sushant Singh Rajput and Katrina Kaif and doesn’t need to have an exclamation mark in its title.
Debut: Luck (2009)
Turnaround: Being a superstar’s kid doesn’t always help. This multi-faceted personality acts, sings and composes music as well. Till date, Shruti has worked in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films but her recognition as a Bollywood actress recently started pouring in. Though Shruti’s cutesy act in Ramaiya Vastavaiya may not have earned rave reviews, her performance in D-Day was nothing less than a revelation. She will be seen in a number of big banner films.
Debut: Jaanam (1992)
Turnaround: He has directed 27 films so far and is currently working on his 28th project. This particular filmmaker had less than encouraging noughties with 11 flops in a row. That was before 1920 hit the bull’s eye. What’s worth mentioning is his stoic approach towards technology: his last three films were in 3D and his next one is as well. Unlike RGV, he’s perhaps the only Bollywood director who is making money out of horror.
Debut: Mera Naam Joker (1972)
Turnaround: Ranbir Kapoor isn’t the only star in Krishna Raj. Besides, there aren’t many actors in the sexagenarian bracket who can claim to be as busy as him. The temperamental veteran was used to doing few scenes here and there. However, his brutal portrayal of Rauf Lala in Agneepath provided the much-need change. Rishi has been on a roll since. This year alone will see at least five of his films hit the marquee.
Debut: Jaan Tere Naam (1992)
Turnaround: Sometimes second innings make a greater impact than the earlier one. Ask Ronit Roy. In the ’90s, he was seen in a several films hardly anyone bothers to remember today. In the new millennium, he shifted to small screen and created a niche for himself. Currently one of the highest paid actors on television, his work in Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan provided the push to his big screen career as well.
Debut: Jhankaar Beats (2003)
Turnaround: His debut film released after much delay but the fresh storyline was worth the wait. Unfortunately, his second (Home Delivery: Aapko... Ghar Tak) and third (Aladin) directorial efforts fell flat and were declared box-office disasters. His fourth film, Kahaani, changed the course.
Some B-town biggies who lay in limbo for a while before hitting the bull’s eye…
Madhuri Dixit: Post her marriage, the dhak-dhak girl politely excused herself from the acting business. But then, very few take self-imposed retirements seriously in this industry. Madhuri tried to make a comeback with Aaja Nachle, which bombed. Taking a cue, she turned her attention towards small screen and has been accepted wholeheartedly as a reality show judge. As expected, the idea is to gather momentum and make a comeback - once again with Gulaab Gang.
Anil Kapoor: It’s quite difficult to predict this particular actor’s next step. With a career spanning four decades, the Jhakaas actor is known for donning versatile roles. However, in the past few years, he has been a part of unmemorable projects. This was before Slumdog Millionaire happened, following which he appeared more interested in Hollywood than B-Town. With an impressive performance in the recent gangster film and an upcoming first-of-its-kind TV series, the actor seems to have finally found his groove back.
Jackie Shroff: Jaggu dada has never been out of work. Just out of good work. And more often than not, it looked like he was perfectly fine with it. But that seems like a thing of the past. Several big projects - from Dhoom 3 to Happy New Year to Kochadaiyaan - are lined up to release in the not-so-distant future.