In an industry, where your worth is measured by the number of hits and flops you deliver, it is not quite possible to survive or to get prominent work after delivering a spate of unsuccessful films. Someone like an Imran Khan, who started out with a very successful film (‘Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na’) faded into oblivion after delivering a string of flops. He has now shifted his focus to direction and recently directed a TVC. Sometimes, actors are relegated to supporting parts or they move to other mediums like television when their films, featuring them in lead roles, fail to do well at the box-office. In such a scenario, it is interesting to see an actor surviving in the industry and even getting lead roles to play in films backed by big production houses despite not delivering a clean hit for years!
Shahid Kapoor, who started his career in 2003 with the romantic comedy ‘Ishq Vishq’ has had a chequered career with more highs than lows. Between 2003 and 2007, he had two average successes (‘Ishq Vishk’, ’Chup Chup Ke’), one semi-hit (’36 China Town’), a hit (‘Jab We Met’) and a blockbuster (‘Vivah’). The others were all flops. Despite the alarming rate of flops, he still had a few successes to boast of, the most prominent of them being ‘Vivah’ and ‘Jab We Met’. ‘Vivah’, in particular, was looked as a film which would give a major fillip to his career. The Sooraj Barjatya directed film was a humungous hit and garnered Shahid accolades from all across the country. ‘Jab We Met’ was a success (not a blockbuster but a respectable success nevertheless) and is probably the most watched Hindi films on satellite, home video and digital. Unfortunately, what followed next, from 2008 till 2016, was a spate of unsuccessful films that failed to give any sort of boost to his career.
In these eight years, he managed to gain critical acclaim with two Vishal Bhardwaj films ‘Kaminey’ and ‘Haider’, both of which turned out to be average earners at the box-office. He reaped similar benefits with Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Udta Punjab’. His 2013 release ‘R…Rajkumar’ was his highest grosser (67 crore) till recently. In early, he was seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmaavat’ which was a blockbuster hit but the credit for the success of that film largely went to Ranveer Singh, the other male lead in the film.
In an interview, post the release of ‘Padmaavat’ Shahid candidly said, “people would often tell me that tu actor achcha hai, par tere numbers nahin aate.” It was refreshing to see him speak honestly about the tough luck he had had at the box-office. There were a few films he missed out on doing which went onto become big hits – ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’. While he could not do the first two films because of date issues, he actually waited six months for ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ to take off as director Maneesh Sharma had fallen unwell. After waiting for that long, he finally decided to let go of the film and signed Rajkumar Santoshi’s ‘Phata Poster Nikhla Hero’, a film which just ended up being added to his list of flops. The fact that he was being chased by the biggest of filmmakers and was getting to be a part of big, well-mounted films, despite having a bad track record at the box-office, shows that everybody right from the audience to the people inside the industry, acknowledged his talent and his dedication towards his craft. Another important point to be noted is that a majority of his films managed to get a good opening at the box-office and his fan-following continued to grow manifold with time.
Kabir Singh has emerged as a blockbuster. It is on its way to cross the 200-crore mark at the domestic box-office and it remains to be seen what is the final figures of the film are going to be like. What interesting is that a film which has been given an ‘A’ or an adult certificate is doing such huge business at the box-office. It is also Shahid’s first solo hit in twelve years (the last one being ‘Jab We Met’). This film has done what no other film of his has done for him in years – showcased him as an actor who can also bring in the numbers at the box-office. He was getting to work with big filmmakers and top production houses despite not delivering hits and now, after the super-success of this film, the sky should be the limit for him.