The iconic Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s stint on screen has met with yet another flop - this time in the form of Fanney Khan which has proved to be the most disastrous of the three movies released last week - Karwaan and Mulk being the other two. According to trade website boxofficeindia.com, Fanney Khan will finish its first week with business of around INR 9.50 crore and is a disaster.
The four films she has done after taking a small break post the birth of her daughter Aaradhya six years ago, have been received with varying degrees of non-success. Immediately after she returned from motherhood, Aishwarya did her author-backed part as a single mother trying to retrieve her kidnapped daughter in Sanjay Gupta’s Jazbaa. It was a tailormade role for the real-life yummy mummy and one that Aishwarya should have sunk her pretty teeth into.
Unfortunately she looked neither convincing nor convinced in the role of the traumatized mother and her chemistry with her screen daughter was woefully nil. Next came director Omung Kumar’s Sarbjit where for the first time in her life she played a real-life character, that of Dalbir Kaur, the spunky sister of the real-life Indian soldier, Sarbjit Singh held prisoner in Pakistan. The film bombed in spite of every effort to build her up as the prospective recipient of a National award. Sadly, Aishwarya looked neither Punjabi nor a determined sister who had to get her brother back from the enemies. There were ugly rumours of Richa Chadha’s role as Sarabjit’s wife, being cut. But all the cutting and pasting couldn’t help the film or Aishwarya’s ambitious role. It sank.
After this, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was seen crossing the firing line to play a Paikistani poetess in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil hai Mushkil who has fling with a younger man.Now, this was a bold role and Ash gave it her all. She also looked like a million bucks and exuded sex appeal and mystery. But perhaps because of the controversies it attracted (the film also starred Fawad Khan and there was a campaign against Pakistani actors), it didn't do too well at the box office. Moreover, Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor had very strong roles too, in the film so it wasn't her success alone.
Over the last few years, both Aishwarya and Kareena Kapoor Khan, have been held as examples of the fact that married actresses or real-life mothers are no long taboo for playing the lead. It's a welcome change from the past but by a huge coincidence, both the ladies have chosen to work with younger stars. Kareena was paired with 35-year old Sumeet Vyas in her post-motherhood comeback film Veere Di Wedding while Aishwarya was paired with Ankur Bhatia, Ranbir Kapoor and now Rajkummar Rao (Fanney Khan) in her three post-maternity films. All her three co-stars are several years her junior. The ladies deserve all the praise for their moves as all these years, we have seen actors unquestioningly being paired with actresses who are years younger to them. But somehow, in the case of Aishwarya, the movies simply don't seem to be working.
Says a leading trade analyst, “Somehow Aishwarya’s comeback films are not working. It could be her selection of roles. It certainly can’t be the way she looks. She is looking better than in any of her films. But a role like Fanney Khan with a Rajkummar Rao as her co-star, is just not working.
Apparently Aishwarya contributed a whole lot of inputs to her chracater of the kidnapped singing diva in Fanney Khan.“Even the idea of the tattoo on her wrist was Aishwarya. She walked holding debutant director Atul Manjrekar’s hand because she knew they were treading on wobbly ground. But finally the outcome was far from appealing,” says a source close to the Fanney Khan team.
What perhaps Aishwarya needs is a Sanjay Leela Bhansali to harness her illimitable beauty into something far more substantial than the eyecandy she ends up portraying these days.