Sushant Singh Rajput opts out of RAW: Will Bollywood put a check on actors' unprofessional behavior?

Abhishek Srivastava

Oct 27, 2017 10:20:28 IST

The brusque exit of Sushant Singh Rajput from the upcoming spy flick Romeo Akbar Walter has not gone down well with the makers of the film. In a statement, producer Bunty Walia has blasted the Kai Po Che actor for his insane behavior and has even added that the entire episode has taken an emotional toll on the director.

Picture this scene few months ago, when the film was announced to the world with the help of a three page-long spread in a national daily, each page revealing the characters of Romeo, Akbar and Walter. Figuring out how much those three pages would have cost is certainly not rocket science, and now with the lead actor having opted out, they are as meaningless as ashes.

Sushant Singh Rajput opts out of RAW: Will Bollywood put a check on actors unprofessional behavior?

The previous poster for Romeo Akbar Walter. Image from Twitter/@itsSSR

The need of the hour here is professionalism. I say this along with the realisation that the corridors of Bollywood are replete with stories of actors’ unprofessional behavior. Try digging one out, and you will find plenty.

Sanjay Dutt calling it quits after having given his nod to Omung Kumar’s next after Bhoomi happened a day before the Sushant saga. This time, the reason cited was Bhoomi’s miserable performance at the box office. To save itself from ignominy, the ‘able’ PR machinery sugarcoated the issue and said that the reason was Sanjay’s hectic schedule.

Smriti Irani did exactly this for the Abhishek Bachchan and Asin-starrer All The Best. After having shot for few days, she opted out of the film citing ‘national duty’ as the reason.

But one exit that surely takes the cake for unprofessional behavior belongs to the 63-year-old diva, Rekha. After having shot for a major portion for Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor she thought it'd be best to quit the film. The reason given by Abhishek Kapoor (as dictated by the film’s PR team) was that the two saw the film differently. The actual reason was more to do with Rekha doing a magazine photo shoot and asking the makers to make her look like the one that appeared on the cover page.

Director Omung Kumar briefs Sanjay Dutt on the sets of his first film since his release from Yerawada Jail

Director Omung Kumar briefs Sanjay Dutt on the sets of his first film since his release from Yerawada Jail

Whatever the reasons may be, it's always the makers of the film who are at the receiving end. Crores are lost if the film has gone on floors and if the actors opt out during the pre-production phase; it effectively washes away days of hard work.

In the current era, if a producer is able to rope in an A-lister for his film, it’s considered nothing less than a coup. It was established a long time ago that if the makers in question are not real movers and shakers, that is, if they are regular producers, the queue to wait for an actor’s date to commence their film could go on for years.

And therein lies the problem; the interest on money loaned to make the film keeps piling up, which gives it the perception of being an unviable project after a point. Actors dropping out of such projects is nothing sort of a double whammy for the poor producers.

Such acts only go on to show and prove that professional behavior hardly counts in Bollywood. The contracts are not watertight, and are more inclined towards the benefit of actors, thus giving them an opportunity to get away with their whims and fancies.

Heroine was Madhur Bhandarkar’s dream project, and when Aishwarya Rai Bachchan announced her intention to dissociate from the film, Madhur was a devastated man. The initial euphoria soon turned into gloom, and the film was on the verge of being declared shelved till Kareena Kapoor stepped in. If only Aishwarya had not hidden the news of her pregnancy from the producers, this awkward situation would have never have cropped up in first place.

Tabu eventually the role given to Rekha in Fitoor. Image from News 18

Tabu eventually the role given to Rekha in Fitoor. Image from News 18

While the reasons for opting out of a project could be several, the end result is always the same – heavy losses for producers.

Often, actors quit when they feel the script is not in tune with what was narrated to them, or when they nurse the feeling that they are being short-changed in terms of length of their roles. It could also be as bizarre as ego hassles or not being in tune with the director. There is also a difference vis-a-vis actors opting out of a film mid-way, as Rekha did for Fitoor, or opting out before the shooting has actually commenced. While the financial damages involved in the former run into crores, the latter makes the hard work and months of preparation put in for the pre-shoot phase redundant.

Since Romeo Akbar Walter was heavily advertised even before the actual shooting commenced, Sushant's decision would have put a dent into the budget of the film.

The ramification of such acts are several, and the biggest blow to the film is bad press. Filmmakers avoid bad press like the plague. As coverage remains constant, it also leaves an impression on the minds of cine-goers about the fate and future of the film. At the end of the day this is a problem which is completely unavoidable. Actors quitting films has happened in past, and it will continue to happen in the future too.

The reason for Chitrangda Singh storming out of the sets of Babumoshai Bandookbaaz when she was forced to do retake after retake for a lovemaking scene is completely understandable. What is not comprehensible are instances like Sushant quitting after his film posters have been heavily advertised, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan hiding her pregnancy.

Updated Date: Oct 27, 2017 10:20:28 IST