Bollywood is known to have its godfathers. There’s Karan Johar who is the most popular and also the most trolled of them all. He has successfully launched Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra, Tara Sutaria, and Ananya Panday. While Alia Bhatt is clearly his best student of the year, Dhawan has also done remarkably well for himself. Malhotra has been having a bad spell of late and Panday and Sutaria are yet to prove themselves.
Then, there’s sabka Bhai, Salman Khan. One of the most controversial figures in the Indian media, Khan has also launched quite a few actors. However, unlike Johar, none of his actors have performed well either at the box office or in columns written by critics. Why is that?
Take Nutan’s granddaughter Pranutan Bahl, for instance. Nutan is a legend. There’s no way anyone can live up to her calibre but Bahl’s film, Notebook was an absolute failure. She starred opposite Zaheer Iqbal, another Khan protege and the film has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 25% based on 8 reviews with an average rating of 4.6/10. Nandini Ramnath of Scroll.in called the lead pair “unremarkable” and the love story “underwhelming” and “dull”. Ouch.
Then, there’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma who got married to his sister Arpita in 2014. He starred in this really sub-par film called Loveyatri which was in theatres for like two days, we think. The only reason anyone even remembered the movie was because it had one hit song that was played at every garba party.
And how can we forget Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty in the 2015 film, Hero. To be fair, these two were at least talked about when the posters released. Pancholi had/has a hot body and Shetty could pull off almost every outfit she wore and looked statuesque at every promotional event. She would have killed it had we still been living in the age of the supermodel. Alas, the film garnered terrible reviews.
Let’s come to Zareen Khan who was dubbed a Katrina Kaif lookalike when she first starred opposite Khan in the 2010 film, Veer. Much was expected from her and there was a lot of mystery surrounding the actress. Now, she’s disappeared off the map.
Daisy Shah was a co-dancer in the song ‘Lagan Lagi’ in Salman Khan’s 2003 superhit film Tere Naam. She later went on to star alongside him in Jai Ho and then kind of disappeared. She made a reappearance with the raunchy Hate Story in 2015 which had no plot but a lot of skin show and was an astounding hit.
The thing is that Khan is a mega-star because only he can do what he does. His protégé’s either pick terrible films or try to emulate him. The women are mere hangers-on and don’t really get a chance to make an impact. They are there to just fawn over Khan.
Sigh. Too bad.