Bollywood career not so Saif for star


POPULAR actor Saif Ali Khan is perhaps facing the biggest crisis of his 24-year career. Both his high profile 2017 releases, Rangoon and Chef, crashing spectacularly added to his dramatic slide in recent years. They followed box office duds Bullet Raja (2013), Humshakals (2014), Happy Ending (2014) and Phantom (2015).

Now he is having trouble with his next film Kalakandi, which is reportedly finding it difficult to get a distributor and may go straight to an online platform like Netflix. Although the producers of the movie are determined to get it out in cinemas they are unlikely to get a wide theatrical release.

Saif also has the movie Baazaar on the way, but like Kalakandi, that too doesn’t have a big name director or leading lady opposite him. This doesn’t bode well for an actor who was once seen as a bankable Bollywood star. “If movies like Phantom and Rangoon, which had big name directors and leading ladies, were unable to find takers then it will be difficult for Kalakandi and Baazaar with lesser names attached to find wide distribution. I am afraid this is the beginning of the end for Saif,” said a high profile source in Bollywood.

The actor also has a starring role in Netflix series Sacred Games on the way, which is based on a bestselling book, but that is unlikely to do anything for his movie career. A leading filmmaker who wished to remain anonymous told me that Saif won’t be getting the high profile offers from a few years ago because a new generation of more bankable stars have emerged. “There is now a new wave of younger leading men in Indian cinema who are clocking up bigger numbers at the box office and they are higher in the priority order,” said the filmmaker.

The 47-year-old admitted before the release of Chef that he would have to question what was going wrong with his career if the film didn’t do well. The remake of the Hollywood film of the same name did terribly and this will have led to some soul searching for the star. He will now be looking for a big project to reignite his career and may have to produce it himself because the bigger banners will now be reluctant to risk their money on him.

Saif isn’t alone because there is a load of once bankable Bollywood stars who have seen a dramatic downturn in their fortunes. All of them are now looking over their shoulders as a younger generation look to take over the industry.