Bollywood is a tough place. It does not take more than a few years, maybe even months for a superstar to fade away from memory and make way for the fresh faces and talents cramming the spotlight. It is even more difficult to gain a foothold in the industry after a break. While some of the legendary Bollywood actors managed to come back with a bang, there are many more who tried and failed at resurrecting their once great careers. Here are 10 Bollywood superstars who could not set the box office on fire during their second innings:
1) Amitabh Bachchan:
It might be surprising to find the “Shahen-shah” of Bollywood on this list but that is precisely what happened during the late 90s and early 2000s. Mr. Bachchan tried to revive his leading man career with a string of films like “Mrityudaata”, “Lal Badshah” and “Kohram”. Suffice to say, all of these bombed and his company, ABCL, filed for bankruptcy. He was able to revive his career with Kaun Banega Karorepati and rest is history. He started taking roles that matched his age and starred in a number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed movies.
2) Aishwarya Rai:
Next on the list is Mr. Bachchan’s daughter-in-law, Aishwarya Rai. When she married Abhishek Bachchan, her career was at an absolute prime with hits after hits rolling in. Superhit films like “Dhoom 2”, “Guru” and “Devdas” had cemented her place in the industry as the most sought after leading lady. But after a long hiatus during which she became a mother, Aishwarya Rai tried to stage a grand comeback with “Jazbaa”. But the movie failed to create any ripples in the box office and peoples’ minds. It received poor reviews and was soon forgotten.
3) Madhuri Dixit:
Madhuri Dixit, the queen of the 90s, the “Dhak Dhak” girl, set the screens and hearts of the fans ablaze with many of her appearances on the silver screen. She was often hailed as the most popular and successful Bollywood leading lady ever. After her marriage, she moved to the US and mothered two children before attempting a comeback in 2007 with “Aaja Nachle”. Suffice to say, the movie did horrendous at the box office. Her later attempts with “Gulab Gang” and “Desh Ishqiya” also failed to make any impact despite being lauded by some critics. It was clear that her days of glamor and fanfare were long past.
There was a time in the 90s when you perhaps could not go more than a couple of months before a new Govinda movie released at the box office. While none of his movies were chartbusters, thanks to the low budget of most of those projects he almost always managed to turn up a profit for the producers. In fact, with his slapstick humor and zany acting styles he had managed to create a sizeable fan base. But after a stint in politics, his comeback in the industry has been rough. His comeback movie “Partner” with Salman Khan was reasonably successful but “Bhagam Bhag” and “Salaam-E-Ishq” tanked awfully turning him into a multi-starrer phenomenon instead of a strong leading man. His further attempts with “Kill Dill”, “Aa Gaya Hero” and “Happy Ending” only saw his career sink deeper.
5) Karishma Kapoor:
Karishma Kapoor withdrew herself from the Bollywood after her marriage in 2003 while she was pretty much raking it in. Popular through the 90s and even early 2000s, she was considered one of the strongest actors of her generation and starred in a number of critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies. But her career was on the wane in 2003 with “Baaz: A Bird In Danger” tanking at the box office. She attempted a comeback in 2012 with “Dangerous Ishq” in 2012 where she was in triple role. After the abysmal failure of the movie, she has not been seen making another attempt at a comeback.
6) Raveena Tandon:
Some people may not immediately consider Raveena Tandon A Bollywood superstar but there is no denying that in the early 2000s her career was buzzing with a number of commercial hits and critical success. She won a National Film Award for “Daman” and was lauded for her roles in “Shool”, “Satta”, “Aks”. She was part of super hit projects such as “Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi”, “Ziddi” and “Mohra”. But she took a long hiatus after her marriage in 2004 and when she came back in 2012, it was not the same. “Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap” and “Shab” did abysmally at the box office casting a shadow over her career.
7) Preity Zinta:
Once a hot property of the Bollywood, Preity Zinta was part of some of the highest grossing films in the early to mid-2000s. She got her Filmfare Best Actress award for “Kaal Ho Na Ho” in 2003. She played major roles in “Koi…Mil Gaya”, “Salaam Namaste”, “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, “Kya Kehna” and “Veer-Zaara”, all of them super hit productions. She took a 5 year break from Bollywood after “Heroes” in 2008 and came back with “Ishq In Paris”, a movie she co-produced. The movie did so bad at the box office that most people cannot even remember it. With that movie perhaps her chances at a resurrection also tanked.
8) Manisha Koirala:
Praised profusely for her acting skills and looks, Manisha Koirala has given us some of the best films and movie moments when it comes to Bollywood. Be it “1942 – A Love Story”, “Dil Se”, “Bombay”, “Gupt”, “Khamoshi” or “Company”, her acting was lauded by critics and fans alike as she received numerous awards and commercial success. She took a 5-year long break in 2007 and came back with Bhoot Returns which did not manage to gain any traction at the box office. Her role in “Dear Maya” in 2017 was praised but the movie was forgotten.
The mystery, the enigma, the beauty. Rekha is the last person on the list because of her extremely long career in the film industry and ability to come back against all odds. But as of now, her Bollywood career seems done and dusted thanks to a few mediocre to abysmal movies she starred in the recent years. Who can forget her roles in “Umrao Jaan”, “Silsila”, “Khiladyion Ka Khiladi”, “Khubsoorat” and “Khoon Bhari Maang”? Which is perhaps why the fans absolutely rejected her latest attempts at coming back with “Super Nani”, “Sadiyaan” and “Shamitabh”.