They are talented, clever and far from done. Unfortunately, a mix of bad luck and weak scripts has put them out of the box-office race for some time now. But in the ever-so-unpredictable world of showbiz, where it takes one Friday to change fortunes, here's looking at five actors who deserve a solid welcome back on the box-office charts.
He was the face of change when he burst onto the scene as the unapologetic anti-hero in slick erotic thrillers such as Murder and Kalyug. With Zeher, Gangster, Jannat and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai he gradually moved into the leading man space. But Hashmi's protagonists were always conflicted individuals with irresistibly charming shades of grey. And this worked as his USP, earning him a distinct space in the minds of the people. Unfortunately, despite some solid performances, Emraan Hashmi's plans to go unconventional did not work in his benefit. Apart from a dent in his hit-ratio, Hashmi also lost out on his loyal fan-base. Recent attempts to return to his comfort zone (Raja Natwarlal, Mr X, Hamari Adhuri Kahani), have met with a lukewarm response, despite all the plot trappings that worked so well in the past... Even the smooches aren't helping anymore. But with the biopic Azhar garnering the right type of attention, and going by his look in the rushes, it seems this might just bring the achche din Emraan and his fans have been waiting for.
A genuine successor to Saif Ali Khan (we will come to him soon), in the urban rom-com space, Imran Khan's quick wit and natural flair for self-deprecating humour beautifully in movies like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu and I Hate Luv Storys. But his decision to go a little more mainstream and massy in movies like Gori Tere Pyaar Mein and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Dobaara backfired as his discomfort with the space was visible in his on-screen body language. The year-long-break in which Imran spent valuable family time with his wife and daughter seems to have done him good, as the actor is back looking all fresh and charged up in the upcoming comedy Katti Batti. Complementing his co-star Kangana Ranaut (who seems to be making all the right choices these days) superbly in whatever we have seen of the film so far, IK looks all set for a glorious return.
John Abraham may not be the most critically acclaimed actor in the industry, but he is certainly capable of holding his own on screen. With Houseful 2, Desi Boyz, Force and Madras Café, John managed to showcase his versatility and impressive growth as a performer. But a couple of delayed films have caused a bit of a gap in his filmography. Now that Welcome Back, Hera Pheri 3 and his ambitious home production look finally on track, John appears all ready to create some more box-office dhoom.
Saif Ali Khan
From noir to nonsense to good old naach-gaana, Saif Ali Khan has tried it all. But nothing seems to be working out for the actor these days. Aarakshan, Kurbaan, Agent Vinod, Bullett Raja, Humshakals and the somewhat underrated Happy Ending are part of long list of flops that have been haunting his box-office record. While Cocktail worked for him commercially, it was Deepika Padukone who walked away with the applause. Meanwhile an unconventional turn in Go Goa Gone did not really go the distance. But the actor has a knack of bouncing back after every dull patch, so with Kabir Khan's Phantom, a rumoured cameo in Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Sujoy Ghosh's film next in the pipeline, Saif may be back in the race pretty soon.
"Sunny Deol got swayed by the Gadar wave and overdid the "angry Sardar" act, film after film, failing to sense fan fatigue."
A leaked promo of his long delayed satire Mohalla Assi has gone viral and is making news for all the wrong reasons (though I must admit Sunny makes some of those expletives sound quite cool). But that's not the Sunny we love. One of the most underrated actors of all time, the action star in Sunny Deol got swayed by the Gadar wave and overdid the "angry Sardar" act, film after film, failing to sense fan fatigue. Back in the director's chair for the sequel to his career-defining blockbuster Ghayal, a very fit Sunny Deol is clearly a man on a mission. With the right script, Sunny can still pack in enough intensity to unearth a hundred hand-pumps. So at a time when his contemporaries like Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff and Govinda have rediscovered their acting mojo and are doing some really interesting work, it is time for the "gentle Jat" also to roar once again.