The drubbing last week’s release 'Machine' and 'Aa Gaya Hero' got from the press and the public shows that now people do not spare anyone. They do not care that the directors of one and the lead actor of the other were at the top of their game not all that long ago.
Audiences today are not as willing to accept formula film-making as they were till a decade ago; they have been exposed to better cinema – both domestic and international – and demand higher standards now. The only one who is immune to vagaries of public taste is Salman Khan, and even he is not taking his superstardom for granted anymore.
Govinda made the mistake many stars do—of trying to cash in on an image that has faded. There is a whole new generation of filmgoers that did not see Govinda at his peak, and if they did catch an old movie on the television, they thought he was funny, in a quaint way. The new dancing heartthrobs are Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan, and they tick all the style boxes that today’s audience wants. If Ranveer Singh wears bizarre outfits—the kind Govinda did once—he does that with a sense of fun and self-mockery; he does not give off a sense of arrogance of the ‘like me, love my red pants’ kind.
They know that they have to please their audience.
The actor who has understood changing times and his own age is Akshay Kumar, who has unerringly picked a series of films that break the old Khiladi mode and give him a chance to show that with maturity has come the confidence to carry off tough roles. If he kept dancing around the screen in loafer mode, audiences would have rejected him by now. It’s not as if the film industry has no place for Govinda, however, he is trying to relive the old days and that too in a really awful film. His experience should at least have taught him to pick better scripts.
Abbas-Mustan also tried to flog a dead-horse-formula to launch Mustafa Burmawala (the son of one and nephew of the other) with a film as laughably bad as 'Machine'. The young man’s career is sunk before it took off unless he has the talent, patience and persistence of an Emraan Hashmi, who also started with duds and clawed his way up. But second chances are as difficult to come by as comebacks are to pull off—show business is not into kindness in a big way.