Out of sight out of mind, goes the cliché. Nowhere is the truth behind this thought more evident than in Bollywood where actors are known to plan elaborately-staged comebacks only to find the audience and the entertainment industry has moved on.
Here are the Top 10 comeback plans gone wrong:
1. Madhuri Dixit
She saw it all, conquered the box-office and then decided to quit at the peak of her career after Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas to make a home far away from home with her non-filmy husband and two sons. Expectantly the itch to get back in front of the camera crept into Ms Dixit-Nene’s soul and sole. In 2008 she made a well-publicized comeback with a tailor-made role in Aaja Nachle as a US-returned dancer reviving her small town’s rusty dance academy. The film bombed. Madhuri scampered back to the US. Three years later she came back with a graphically designed comeback plan. A full-fledged marketing team went into top gear for Operation Dixit. Endorsements were signed. An item song with fan-boy Ranbir Kapoor in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani and da Dixit was ready for da kill. Sadly both her comeback films Dedh Ishqiya and Gulab Gang bombed in spite of good reviews. Kalank is the final nail in the plastic-of-Paris coffin. Looks like Ms Dixit-Nene now needs a Plan C for a comeback.
She captured the nation’s heart with Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989. But decided to get married soon after to a certain Mr Himalaya. Four years later she made a comeback with Qaid Mein Hai Bul Bul with her husband as her co-star. To label it a ‘Himalayan Blunder’ would be an understatement.
He keeps threatening to comeback. And to be honest, the man’s talent is irrefutable even after all these years. Govinda has lost oodles of weight and looks younger than most of his contemporaries. But the really challenging roles seem to be dodging this chameleon actor. In the last 12 years Govinda has had only one hit, Partner where he was partnered by Salman Khan. Shaad Ali’s Kill Dill where he played a villain was a flop. And now Pahlaj Nihalani's Rangeela Raja. RIP.
4. Karisma Kapoor
Once, she was the queen of the box-office, much like Govinda, her constant co-star, who was king. Then Karisma decided to get married. Two children and a failed marriage later, she was ready for a comeback. Sadly, her comeback vehicle Vikram Bhatt’s Dangerous Ishq where she played 4 different characters in 4 different avatars, proved a dangerous risk at the box-office. We keep hearing of producers breaking down Karisma’s door. But nothing seems to be coming her way except ads where she sells consumer products aimed at mothers and kids.
5. Dimple Kapadia
The most comprehensive comeback plan ever...Dimple who retired at age 15 after a stormy overnight marriage with India’s greatest superstar Rajesh Khanna, was all set to return 14 years later. Her comeback on Ramesh Sippy’s Saagar was a poem engraved on celluloid. Every frame in the film screamed the director’s love for his muse. But the audience was not amused. The much-hyped film was a damp squib at the box-office. In fact a tacky South Indian production Zakhmi Sher pre-empted Dimple’s comeback in Saagar and ruined the mystique-unveiled comeback campaign for the Bobby babe. Incidentally films set in or near the sea — Anmol Moti, Samundar, Blue — never work in Bollywood. Post comeback Dimple was a disaster as a commercial leading lady but a success as an offbeat player in Kalpana Lajmi’s Rudaali and Gulzar’s Lekin. She recently tried her hand at comic role in What The Fish which went taain-taain-phish.
6. Rajesh Khanna
The emperor of foiled comebacks, Rajesh Khanna was the supreme commander of the Bollywood ship. The term ‘superstar’ was coined for him. Everything he touched turned into gold. Until one fine day when it all evaporated. In 1974 Khanna had his last crop of hits namely Premnagar, Roti and Aap Ki Kasam. In 1979 Rajesh Khanna and his PR team planned a comeback strategy after Amar Deep became an unexpected success. Alas, the success was shortlived. Another comeback aborted.
7. Parveen Babi
At the peak of her career neck to neck with Zeenat Aman, Parveen decided to chuck it all and simply disappeared for about a year. Panic prevailed as projects like Ramesh Sippy’s Shaan were on hold. Parveen, however, returned and completed the assignments. She later left again. This time it was over and out for her.
8. Vinod Khanna
At the peak of his career when he was seen to be neck-to-neck with Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna decided to give up stardom to become a gardner at spiritual-guru Rajneesh’s ashram in Oregon. After tending the flowers for five years Vinod drifted back to Bollywood with Satyamev Jayate and Insaaf. But the audience had moved on.
9. Navneet Nishan
Household queen Nanveet Nishan reigned on the home medium with her soap Tara. She migrated to a foreign country and tried to pursue a tentative acting career from abroad in India. It didn’t work. Navneet returned to India to a career on television. But glory gone remained glory gone.
She was the Empress of all she surveyed, churning out hit after hit in the early 1970s. In 1974 after her last spurt of blockbusters Chor Machaye Shor, Aap Ki Kasam and Aaina, Mumtaz left India to be Mrs Millionaire. Disillusionment with marriage brought her back to Bollywood to a disastrous comeback in David Dhawan’s Aandhiyaan in 1990 where she played this cool mom to the hopelessly uncool Prosenjit. It’s okay, Mumtaz, even Goddesses slip up. To repeat Anand Bakshi’s immortal words from Mumtaz’s Aap Ki Kasam, "Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo maqaam wohphir nahin aate." So don’t even think about it.