Planet Bollywood
The SRK Curse
- Ron Ahluwalia           Let us know what you think about this feature article

Shah Rukh Khan is the only person that can guarantee success in Bollywood these days. Only because of him, a boring commercial potboiler like Main Hoon Na was a superhit overseas. To cash in on his own fame, he did a repulsive guest appearance in his equally repulsive home production, Kaal. If the so-called "King Khan" can practically guarantee a movie’s success, then he can also guranatee one more thing: any actress that plays his love interest in her debut movie will not succeed in Bollywood.

Yes, we cannot overlook the one exception, Preity Zinta (who was engaged to Shah Rukh Khan in Dil Se…), but there is a host of actresses with a lot of potential who unfortunately acted opposite Khan in their debut movies and have since been fighting the SRK curse.

Shilpa Shetty:

Ever since Shah Rukh Khan threw her off the top of a building in her first movie, Baazigar, Shilpa Shetty has been trying to get up for 12 years. After her successful debut, she gave a tremendous performance in another superhit, Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994). Then she started dating Bollywood playboy Akshay Kumar (and we all know what’s happened to the careers of all his girlfriends-but that’s a whole other curse). Since then, all Miss Shetty has to show for herself are 5 movies with Govinda (Yikes!), a movie with the Big B when he was at his worst (Lal Baadshah).

Shilpa Shetty has always proven herself as a good performer and dancer. In 1996, she matched Sunny Deol step for step in an action in Himmat. 1999 was a good year for Shetty, as she gave a scene-stealing performance in Jaanwar and she opened herself to item numbers like "UP Bihar" from Shool. Critics and audiences appreciated her performance in Dhadkan (2000) and since then, aside from signing stupid movies like Indian and Tarkeib, she has been praised for her roles in Rishtey (she was the saving grace of this pathetic movie) and Phir Milenge (2004). It’s a shame that her performance in Phir Milenge was so overlooked. We all know that Shilpa Shetty is a good actress. When will the SRK curse ware off so she can get her due?

Suchitra Krishnamurthy:

Don’t know who she is? Not many people do! For those in the know, Suchitra can be remembered as the object of SRK’s affection in Kundan Shah’s Kabhie Haan Kabhie Naa (1994). These days, she is recognised as Mrs. Shekhar Kapoor. The movie was a big hit, but her career wasn’t. Suchitra has been the most victimised by SRK’s curse. After eleven years, she will finally been seen in her second movie, Ram Gopal Verma’s production of My Wife’s Murder, opposite Anil Kapoor. Hopefully time has let the curse fade away. It’s too late for Ms. Krishnamurthy to become a commercial success, so hopefully she can find fame in performance-oriented roles. Good luck Mrs. Kapoor-you’re gonna need it!

Mahima Chaudhary:

This Subhash Ghai discovery, unlike other SRK victims, does have one claim to fame: she is Bollywood’s reigning Queen of Special Appearances. In 2003, Mahima Chaudhary had no release as a lead or supporting actress, but was seen in five special/guest appearances: Tere Naam, Saaya, Baghban, LOC: Kargil, and Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II. That’s a real shame.

Her debut as Ganga in Pardes is one of the most memorable performances by a newcomer–she was better than Shah Rukh Khan in that movie. Moreover, after exuding brilliance of the highest level in Daag-The Fire, she was pitted as a top contender for Madhuri Dixit’s successor as Bollywood’s numero uno actress. But what happened, Mahima? Why did you do that benign special appearance in Dhadkan (sure the producers didn’t label the role as such, but you and the rest of the world know what that role was)? To make matters worse, Deewane (another one of your cameos), released on the same day! The SRK curse bit you hard when you lost Satya to Urmila, and since then, we have only seen you in two-bit roles. I was so happy to see you in Lajja. You were absolutely spectacular and were an easy candidate for Best Supporting Actress (but filmi politics and the curse got you there, too). Last year’s Dobaara showed the world again that you are a powerhouse of talent, but why did you sign Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye? I pray that you get successful and performance-oriented movies in the future!

Hrishita Bhatt:

The saving grace of SRK’s Asoka is in need of some saving herself. Asoka was a big debacle and was her debut film because her Shararat was taking forever to release (it eventually did, six months later on the same day as Devdas...SRK again). Since then, we have seen her put in 100% effort in movies like Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar and Out of Control. The last we saw of her was two scenes in Ab Tak Chappan and a dance sequence in the mega-flop, Kisna. We know you have talent Hrishita and we hope you get your big break soon.

We’ve seen the cinematic fates of the four aforementioned actresses and hope that Gayatri Joshi does not suffer a similar fate. She is the only enjoyable aspect of the highly overrated Swades and deserves good roles. The SRK curse has a pretty good track record so keep your finger’s crossed, Gayatri.


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