The year that has just been put to rest as a part of the past will however be remembered for many things that happened or didn’t happen in the industry. But, if there is one thing that will keep churning in many minds is the way the star system received a shocking jolt when big films with some of the living legends of the industry were rejected by the same audience that venerated them till a few months ago. It was a shattering experience to see films like ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ with mega stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif and a promising young actress called Fatima Sana Shaikh failed to attract the audience even though the makers (Yash Raj Films) went out of their way to make what they believed was a magnum opus in the making, spent crores of rupees in making the film without thinking that only big stars and big money were not the only essentials that went into the making of a film that would appeal to audiences of all kinds, in their excitement to make what they felt was going to be a film that would create history, box office and otherwise, they forgot that what was really the need was a perfect script with the focus on good content. The making of the film had raised high expectations, elaborate arrangements were made for a grand world wide release, but when the film was finally released, it turned out to be one of the greatest disappointments and neither the Star of the Millennium nor Mr. Perfectionist who had worked countless miracles in the past could do anything to save the shit from drowning to the kind of debts that one couldn’t even imagine in a nightmare. ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ will be forgotten now and if it is ever remembered, it will be because of how two of the greatest stars couldn’t save it and it would always be a blot in the history of Hindi film and Yash Raj Films with Aditya Chopra as its head in particular.
The industry was still reeling under the deep shock, but it had reason to hope because there was another big film called ‘Zero’ coming to make its own attempt to save the industry. This film had the Badshah, Shah Rukh as the producer and was also the hero playing the role of a dwarf and he had the beautiful company of Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif. The entire industry expected the film to work wonders, but it turned out to be a zero at the box office and even the winning power of Shah Rukh Khan could not save his film which could not only bring in the money spent on it, but was also slammed by the critics and more importantly, the same masses who had crowned the boy from Delhi as their Badshah. Earlier, a multi-starrer like ‘Race 3′ with the other big Khan, Salman Khan heading the cast could not be the miracle it was expected to be. And the last big film released,’Simmba’ with Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan has still to have the final judgement to be passed on it and has left the business of film entertainment in a state of confusion.
There was a time when stars were considered a sure guarantee for success, but what is that one reason or several reasons why this belief is failing to stand the test of time?
Is it because the stars are doing too many films and cannot do justice to all of them? Is it because of the royal prices they charge and have lost the ability to prove that they are worthy of the prices they are paid? Is it because of their over- exposure, their being seen in every other Ad film for which they are paid as much as they are for a full-length feature film and their being seen promoting the kind of products that not even a dim-witted mind would believe they use in their everyday lives. Like, the ads Amitabh Bachchan is doing for a particular brand of oil has become the butt of jokes among the leading stand-up comedians on television and even among the, common people. Can these mighty stars not realise that it is only the content of the films they do that can sustain them as the stars they are? Can they take time off and find out if the stars of an earlier era like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand or Sunil Dutt could do the kind of ads they are doing which are humming their image in their growing interest in making the best use of their images they have got because of their work in films which will always be the foundation of whatever they do in and outside films, whether they are involved in social welfare schemes or plans of those in power, only to gain all the benefits that come from them.
The beginning of a new year is the best time for the best of stars to think about their stardom and think of ways of adding dignity to their status and please see that they don’t let themselves fall from the positions they are in. And like it’s said, it’s always better late than never.