The best of Bollywood actors have all crossed their prime age. Be it Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan or Akshay Kumar, they all seem to be getting younger in their 40s. However, is the scene same with our lead actresses? Or once an actress is past her youthful days, the industry shuns her off? Many glam queens and fabulous actresses have made comebacks even when they are well past their thirties. Sridevi, Kajol, Rani Mukerji or Madhuri Dixit, they can all be comfortable called the divas of their prime years. While Madhuri and Sridevi, gave Bollywood few of its epic and most memorable dance moves in the 90s, Kajol and Rani gave performances and films which can never be erased from public memory. If a keen follower of Hindi cinema compiles its best films, they can never forget these actresses for their vast contributions to the film industry. . Koimoi closely studies comebacks of the Divas of 90s and how their films have been received by audiences.
Sridevi is all set to set the screens ablaze all over again, but in a slightly different avatar this time. Her film “English Vinglish” is all scheduled to be released soon. She will be appearing in films after a long gap of 14 years. The film will be released in its Tamil version as well. Sridevi will finally reappear in Tamil films after 26 years. Her role is of a Pune based Maharashtrian lady who takes up a Herculean job of learning English. The audiences are already looking forward to the release of the film. Critics have already given this film thumbs up and Sridevi’s brilliant acting has got the film a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival. Sridevi is all set to charm everyone like never before.
Priety Zinta is also following Sridevi’s footsteps. She is making a comeback after a long gap of about four years. Her last Film was Deepa Mehta’s “Heaven on Earth” which was deemed as the best film of her career. She won for her role, the Best Actress Award at the Chicago Film Festival. She is now all set to release her next film “Ishkq in Paris” which is produced by her company PZNZ. The film is a romantic comedy which stars Zinta as a Parsi girl, who is half French as well. The film has already caused a great deal of excitement and has her fans ready to see her dimpled infectious smile again.
Of all the comeback films ready to go on floors, Rani Mukerji perhaps has the greatest chance of making a fortune out of it. She had taken a wise decision of going in for out-of-the-box cinema. She could not do the regular heroine roles anymore and hence waited for the right kind of character oriented roles to come to her. Her performance in the bipoc “No One Killed Jessica” reminded the audience that she is made up of immense energy and potential which cannot be surpassed. She has her kitty full of films this year. Her next film “Aiyyaa” is a mystic blend of Maharashtrian and Tamil cultures and in mixed well with a good doze of humor and romance. Rani has never played a character like this and she looks pleasantly different from all the previous charcters she has played. Ironically, November will see her star opposite Aamir Khan in “Talaash” which is suspense thriller. Her role in “Talaash” will be starkly different from that of “Aiyya”. The audiences are expecting two very different and yet smashing performances from Rani. Like in chess, the Queen is all set to make her move!
Though many industry gurus point out, that pining hopes from comebacks in quite futile. A lot of Divas have given flop performances in the past which have just made it clearer that their magical touch has actually worn out. Karisma Kapoor’s “Dangerous Ishhq” was a dangerous watch, to say the least. The film was terribly boring and though Karisma gave a fine performance, it wasn’t enough to pull through a film full of loopholes. The critics were highly offended by the standard of the film, its plot and its characterization and the film bombed at the box office terribly. In 2007, Madhuri Dixit’s comeback venture Aaja Nachle flopped at the box office. The film received mixed reviews. Though Madhuri, like always, gave a star like performance, the film fared terribly because of the lack of a good script.
But to generalize that all comebacks are duds is absolutely unfair. Karan Johar’s favorite star Kajol made a successful comeback in Bollywood in 2006 with YRF’s “Fanaa”. The film had a great box office collection and received appreciative reviews from most critics. She also won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress that year. In 2010, she starred along side Shah Rukh Khan in Karan Johar’s “My Name is Khan” and gave a fabulous performance. The film did extremely well commercially and won Kajol the Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 2011. The film’s plot and the performances of both SRK and Kajol were mesmerizing. The film’s humane touch was finely created and the golden pair of SRK and Kajol was immortalized in Bollywood.
In times when Bollywood is strongly inclining towards cinematic realism, it is acting which matters over star presence or power. Since public memory is short, comeback films, unless backed by solid performances and a strong plot find it difficult to find their ground. The second innings of many yesteryear Divas have proved unlucky and still one must find solace and confidence in the fact that if they audiences had once showered them with love, they will again do so with equal enthusiasm.