Things are not really going well for Bollywood’s “female Aamir Khan”, as her over-zealous marketing team would like to label her. Vidya Balan’s huge pile-up of flops has just got bulkier, with the eagerly awaited Kahaani 2 under-performing at the box office.
This is Vidya’s sixth flop in a row as a leading lady. Earlier Rajkumar Gupta’s Ghanchakkar in 2013, Saket Choudhuri’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Samar Shaikh’s Bobby Jasoos, Mohit Suri’s Hamari Adhuri Kahaani and Ribhu Dasgupta’s Te3n also fared poorly.
It’s apparent that the film industry’s faith in her copious talent is not shared by the audience. All eyes are now on Begum Jaan, Srijit Mukherjee’s remake of his own Bengali blockbuster Rajkahini where again Vidya plays the central role. The film opens in January 2017.
Begum Jaan director Srijit Mukherjee says, “Every film has its own destiny. I am not worried at all. Besides I hear Kahaani 2 has broken even.”
Trade expert Atul Mohan has a pessimistic opinion on why Vidya’s career is on the downslide. “Married women don’t run at the Indian box-office in a leading role .This has been proven time and again, unless they do character roles. Choice of Vidya’s films can also be debated. Some the films --actually many of them-- were really very bad and there have been talks of her looking more than her age and her weight.”
Eminent film critic Raja Sen jumps to Vidya’s defence. “I think Balan is a fine and respected actress who has chosen a few exceptionally poor projects. I think the answer lies not in questioning her status but in her doing more films more frequently. The hits will come, but we definitely need her on screen more often.”
But trade analyst Amod Mehra is harsh in his judgment of Vidya’s career prospects. Dismissing her career as extinct Mehra says, “The only role she can now play is that of Amma Jayalalithaa. No hero would be willing work with her. Only a miracle can save her career now…Unless she decides to knock off 20 kgs.”