The monumental flop that Rangoon has turned out to be, some one will have to pay the cost for it. While Sajid Nadiadwala has already paid the price – in hard cash – for his indulgence, in the long term the actors of the film will have to bear the consequences too as they are the face of the film for the public. Whether in terms of lower openings for their next films or a loss of goodwill amongst producers, there is still a lot more to pay with, for the actors. How much it costs each one, let’s try and calculate.
First up is Saif Ali Khan. He has been in the industry mostly because he was Sharmila Tagore’s son and this is reflected in the fact that his most ‘acclaimed’ films – Omkara and Dil Chahta Hai – were not even profit makers, forget hits. Yes the goodwill created by media hype and awards helped him get some equity (it’s a very important word for management students) but it seems the ultimate high point in his career has already come and gone. His home production Love Aaj Kal has turned out to be his golden retirement plan and after Rangoon he may receive few more installments of his pension. So there was nothing much at stake for Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon and there is nothing much he is likely to lose.
Then there is Kangana Ranaut. She is not going to be a darling of mainstream commercial directors ever, 155 crores of Tanu Weds Manu notwithstanding. And she has to keep trying to create off-beat but popular films if she is to survive in Bollywood. However it is very obvious that the strike rate is going to be quite low a la Vidya Balan with an occasional Queen or TWM. She can increase the frequency of her big grossers by signing films with some salable actors but then for that she will have to drop her demand of an equal or bigger role. Also its not sure whether this strategy will help or harm her career in the long run. Even if she decides to stick to her plan, her career may face stagnation with infrequent hits but it is not likely to cause much damage. If not a controlled budgeted Simran then a Jhansi Ki Rani may work for her and two-steps-ahead-one-step-back may continue for her for a few years.
But it is Shahid Kapoor who has harmed, almost finished his entire potential after Rangoon. Shahid had all the makings of a successful Bollywood star until he realized he was an intellectual in the making as well. A huge all India blockbuster Vivaah and a big hit Jab we met were followed by Kaminey – the umpteenth take-off on Hollywood’s ‘misplaced contraband’ movies with a frame to frame copied shootout scene. This was fine until someone told Shahid it was a performance of his lifetime (for whatever it was worth at 28). From there started a downward spiral with a two year gap waiting for a ‘deliberate classic’ Mausam, an almost abstract Haider, the pretentious Udta Punjab (that was saved to some extent at the boxoffice due to the cesnsorship controversy) and now the ultimate excersize is self indulgence that Rangoon is.
In between Shahid tried his hand at some films that had accessible narrative styles of which R…. Rajkumar was partially successful, coming in the wake of a huge loss of godowill over 6 years. His Phata Poster Nikla Hero, though sank at cinemas, works on TV on repeat viewings and could play the kind of role Akshay Kumar comedies on TV played by keeping his comic talents in public memory. About Shandaar – less said the better. It was such an insincere film, it’s a surprise, almost a credit to Shahid, that it collected 45 crore.
And now Shahid is at the crossroads. All he has is a Padmavati in hand where he is not likely to get any credit in commercial success if it comes, as it co-stars Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. He continues his habit of keeping fairly big directors waiting for his nod (are any still around) while he chooses his next dark, abstract, quirky film.
However all is not lost as the entire industry is still discussing Shahid’s career (and follies?) and that doesn’t happen to every falling star. People simply forget them. Shahid will have to get off his high horse and start doing 2-3 good commercial films a year. In fact if, in the 26th year of his career, Akshay Kumar can afford to do it, so can Shahid. Though many of them will turn out to be Fool And Finals and Dil Bole Hadippas, some would definitely be like Vivaah and Jab We Met keeping in Shahid’s his talent and following.
It’s easy to take a leaf out of Aamir Khan’s career but remember; Aamir went selective in 1993 and his career took off in a big way only 15 years later. Shahid may not get that kind of time