July 7, 2010

Brand Bachchan - A myth?

Bachchans are a brand.

For close to half a decade, an unsuspecting audience, consumer world as well as media has been fed with this statement on a frequent basis. If one looks at it on the face value, they truly are. After all there is no other family belonging to the world of glamour in the entire world that has got the head of affairs being a living legend, a son being an actor who has been around for a full decade and has at least five bona fide hits under his belt and a daughter-in-law for a beauty queen who has established her clout and proved her mettle as an actor for a decade. Bring them all together and the package is bound to create a frenzy amongst those who wish to churn this brand to the fullest.

But how much does this brand really hold true if one looks at the individualistic performance of these three names that are unarguably the most known in the world of films? Of course there are endorsements, appearances, shows and other public events that keep them all in news for weeks at stretch. But how about movies, the platform that has enabled the three to become the super family of Bollywood? Looking at the box office duds that have been delivered by the trio over the years gone by, it requires a quick look at the state of affairs.

In the current decade itself, Bachchans have been an integral part of at least one big box office debacle practically every year. Yes, every year since 2001 till today!

No, by the debacles here, no one is demeaning the good work that they have done in the past, present or future. After all Amitabh Bachchan doesn't require anyone to talk in his defence, Abhishek has had movies like Guru, Dhoom series, Sarkar, Yuva and of course Bunty Aur Babli to prove that he is definitely not a pushover. As for Aishwarya Rai, she has maintained certain sophistication to the state of affairs and has quite a few biggies lined up that would keep her stocks on.

But is this an invincible brand? Not quite, if one looks at the journey that these actors have taken.

Of course no actor is without his or her share of flops, even disasters. The biggest and the smallest actors in a film industry in any part of the world would vouch for that. However, the aura which has been created around the trio is something that does make one start wondering if all of this is indeed worth it? Are audiences being led to believe (via a smartly put together approach) that the family here belongs to a planet which is out of this world?

Or is it just a myth?

Let's look at the decade gone by and decide for ourselves!


Raavan has done a huge damage for Bachchans not just as actors who were waiting for an elusive hit but also individuals. While Abhishek has never received flak belonging to this scale ever before, Aishwarya has still managed to go scot-free. However, ironically it is Amitabh Bachchan who has been caught in the middle of all the fire, courtesy his impulsive emotional outburst, post the debacle of the film.

Another release starring a Bachchan, Teen Patti, stays on to be one of the biggest botched up films of the actor's career. The film stays on to be a huge commercial failure of 2010 and also an engagement that even Amitabh Bachchan wouldn't be quite proud of.


Aladin was a huge commercial disappointment of 2009. Starring Amitabh Bachchan as 'Genie - The Genius', the film saw quite some flak coming for the Senior Bachchan. Too long in the making, the film was not even given an opportunity to make any choice, let aside being rejected, and the result was a box office failure. For Amitabh Bachchan, this was a huge setback since he featured in the film in an author backed role.

For son Abhishek too, 2009 didn't quite start off well, what with Delhi 6 turning out to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year. Hyped beyond expectations, especially since it had Rakesyh Omprakash Mehra coming behind the camera after Rang De Basanti, Delhi 6 was ridiculed by most and saw a big slump in collections after a good opening. The film's disappointment hurt Bachchans a lot since it was a solo starrer for Abhishek.


Prior to Delhi 6, Abhishek Bachchan had a disaster called Drona haunting him. The VFX laden fantasy saga seemed doomed right from the time the promos came on air. Despite the presence of Priyanka Chopra, audience made up their mind to skip Drona, hence giving it a cold shoulder once it arrived. An overall poor product further meant that Drona didn't find any good voice coming it's way.

In the same year Amitabh Bachchan too had an unsung The Last Lear failing to make any impact at the box office. Though his performance was critically acclaimed (by those select few people from media who actually caught only the film during it's festival or press screenings), audience in general was oblivious of the film even arriving at theaters. Zero marketing, poor release and zilch awareness means that The Last Lear proved to be one of the least known films starring a Bachchan.


Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag - Need one actually say more? Senior Bachchan would truly understand what Junior is currently going through for Raavan. After all what is happening now is just an action replay of the 2007 fiasco when Amitabh decided to get into Gabbar's shoes. Result? The tag of 'biggest disaster of not just the current year but at least the decade' being bestowed upon it. The film was a commercial, critical and emotional disaster for everyone involved and is a butt of jokes for many, including Ram Gopal Varma himself, till date.

Abhishek had his own disappointment to be worried about, what with his much hyped Jhoom Barabar Jhoom fizzling out no sooner than the moment it hit the screens. Neither was the plot accepted by the audience nor did the narrative find an appreciation, something which resulted in this Yash Raj production turning out to be one of the biggest setbacks of the year. The songs were hit but that couldn't help Jhoom Barabar Jhoom from sinking. Further embarrassment came from the fact that Rajnikanth's Sivaji which released alongside went on to do bumper business even in Mumbai that only rubbed salt on the wound.


This was the year that saw Abhishek Bachchan coming together with Aishwarya Rai, well even in real life. While love bloomed on the sets of Umrao Jaan, the final product was such that it toppled someone as big as J.P. Dutta out of business for long. Close to half a decade has gone by but Dutta hasn't been able to recover from the film's calamity. A huge disaster of the year for the Bachchan couple, it is one red in their Bollywood report card that is difficult to be erased.

For Aishwarya Rai, there was double trouble actually, what with her effort in the West, The Mistress of Spices, finding an all around ridicule for itself. Clearly a badly made product, the film was as spice-less as it could have been and was rejected in East as well as West.


Amitabh Bachchan had decided to help his friend Romesh Sharma when it came to launching his son in Dil Jo Bhi Kahey. A long in the making film, it turned out to be a disastrous affair at the box office. Releasing without much fanfare, it featured Amitabh Bachchan in a lengthy role but audience were still not enticed enough. Result was a total rejection where not many even bothered to check out the film in theaters. A film that would have been forgotten by Bachchan himself by now.

For Aishwarya Rai too, the year brought it with some disappointment as her Shabd turned out to be one of the major flops of the year. An abstract theme coupled with a terrible movement in the film's narrative meant that despite a good act, Aishwarya had to suffer with a flop under her belt.


This was a year when irony was at its worst for Abhishek Bachchan. His Yuva is still considered to be his best ever act till date. While the film is being revisited time and again and often compared to be a far better affair than Ratnam's Raavan and Dil Se, the fact is that on its release Yuva was panned by many. Also, it was a major flop at the box office as not just did it fail to take an opening, it didn't even see much word of mouth coming its way despite an all star studded cast.

For Aishwarya too there was disappointment galore as her off screen romance with Vivek Oberoi failed to translate into anything magical on screen in Kyun! Ho Gaya Naa. The film was panned by one and all and audience too gave it a royal miss. What promised to be a spicy saga on screen turned out to be a damp squib, hence turning out to be a much ignored affair. Incidentally, Amitabh Bachchan too featured in this film that has long ago been forgotten.


This was the time period when Abhishek Bachchan was struggling hard. Really hard. He was in need of a hit, something that was eluding him for long. A rustic attempt like Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost promised something exciting for Abhishek but that didn't turn out to be the case as the film failed at the box office. There were just no takers for this film despite Lara Dutta adding on to the glamour quotient.

Meanwhile for Amitabh Bachchan, there were two releases this year which were embarrassing to say the least. Boom was an epic vulgar disaster that happens only once in a decade and it was totally out of question for Amitabh Bachchan's fans to give it a nod of approval after they saw it. To begin with, they gave the film a rousing reception, courtesy some striking visuals and three striking babes. However, the word of mouth was out and out negative on the first day itself, something that pushed the film out of business before first week came to a close. Fact One: Katrina Kaif made her debut with this film. Fact Two: This is one of the only 2-3 flops that she has given in her career so far.


This was the year when each of the three Bachchans had a disappointment to their names. Amitabh and Aishwarya came together for Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin, the most unsung movie ever coming from the house of David Dhawan. While Dhawan was having a golden run with Govinda and Salman Khan till then, he opted for Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgn for this film. The film was not just one of the most ignored multi starrer of the year (it also starred Sanjay Dutt), it failed to find any mention even in the years after that.

Meanwhile, Abhishek Bachchan was trying his luck with friends and agreed to feature in Guruduv Bhalla's debut film Sharaarat. It also turned out to be his last as the film found total rejection coming its way. A disaster at the box office, it is also the least talked about. No wonder, the film isn't even been seen on home video as its DVDs never hit the stands.


If one looks at the directorial debut of Rakesyh Omprakash Mehra, Aks, one can well say that life came full circle for him and Bachchans with Delhi 6. When released, Aks had huge hype preceding it. The film opened well too but the moment negative word of mouth started spreading, there was only downfall that followed. One of the most criticized films of the year, it did feature Amitabh Bachchan in an author backed role but was way ahead of it's times.

For son Abhishek too, there were demons to fight as his Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai didn't find any takers. This was the time period when Abhishek was desperately trying to find a foot in the industry and nothing really was working for him. The debacle of Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai only added to his woes.