Raabta's failure shouldn't stop Sushant Singh Rajput from experimenting with roles
Reading some of the reactions to Raabta on social media, one can't help but wonder if there is even a connection between Sushant Singh Rajput and the word 'stardom.'
Released on the heels of a 100-cr box-office smash M.S. Dhoni- The Untold Story, Raabta was supposed to be one that filled a huge blank in the up and coming new age star Rajput's filmography, but the supposedly 'full-filmy love saga' is an unmitigated disaster that couldn't even survive the opening weekend.
Ever since his debut in Kai Po Che!, Rajput, a former television sensation, was hailed as one of the next generation film stars poised for greatness. In a relatively short span of time, Rajput has managed to create a special place for himself in addition to being a part of some truly remarkable projects whose box office performance didn't rock the boat. And while all is not lost, yet, for Rajput the manner in which Raabta shaped up and shipped out makes one ponder if, well, Rajput's 'got it' at all.
Despite a remarkable debut in Kai Po Che! (2013) and associating with one of the biggest production houses in India, Yash Raj Films (YRF) — where he featured in the urban romance, Suddh Desi Romance (2013) — Rajput preferred to remain understated.
He always been über selective when it came to picking up roles - in the four years that he has been in the film industry, he has done only five films - and has been extremely choosy when it comes to working with directors.
He readily lapped up Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015) or a small(er) part in P.K. (2014) to perhaps work with Dibakar Banerjee and Rajkumar Hirani respectively, and signed on to play the lead in Shekhar Kapur's 'forever-in-the-making' Paani. He didn't mind letting go of opportunities that came his way in the one-year he practically took off to prepare for Paani and later regretted that the film never took off. Did Paani getting shelved, this time by Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra as the producers, adversely impacted Rajput to have finally “opted out” of the production house? We can never really tell.
Following the release of Befikre, Rajput made a statement saying that had he been offered the film directed by Chopra and featuring Ranveer Singh as the lead, he would have refused it. In an interview given to a newspaper Rajput said that unfortunately the film didn't represent “the new-age youth of India and romance as what it was claiming.”
In what appeared to be a dig at Chopra, Rajput even added, “it’s extremely important to know and then claim what you have made.” Was Rajput somewhere 'forced' by YRF to do Paani? This is a film that once upon a time featured an unknown cast, then Vivek Oberoi was slated to do the film, later Hrithik Roshan was said to be the new lead and it is now being said that Paani will be made in 'Hollywood.'
The failure of Raabta would have been a bigger blow than what it appears had there been greater expectations from it. Of course, the film was the next release of a star that had delivered a 100 cr. hit in M.S. Dhoni- The Untold Story but the general buzz around the film was perfunctory. In some oblique manner, it reflected the reason why Rajput would have opted for this rather typical Hindi film.
The bouquet of films that Rajput has been associated with since he transitioned from television to films includes almost every single genre besides a standard Hindi romance. In a way, Raabta, at least on paper, held the same promise as a Ghajini for an Aamir Khan as action was the only genre missing from his body of work, or a comedy like Mr. & Mrs. Khiladi (1997) for the then action star Akshay Kumar.
The unequivocal misfire Raabta was an effort on Rajput’s part to probably check a box and despite being a failure, Rajput should not cease to experiment with roles; Khan had previously tried action with Daulat Ki Jung (1992) and Aatank Hi Aatank (1995) before Ghajini hit bull’s eye and Kumar, too, didn’t let the ill-fated Mr. & Mrs. Khiladi stop him from getting on with an Hera-Pheri (2000) and even transform into a comic star.