Abhishek Bachchan

- Vikram Chandiramani 

Abhishek Bachchan's last major release was Yash Raj films' 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom', which was rejected by audiences and critics alike. His last successful movie was 'Guru' which starred Aishwarya Rai with him. 'Guru' was loosely based on Indian tycoon, Dhirubhai Ambani's life with many liberties taken. This was something filmmaker Mani Ratnam and the Bachchans both denied however. Abhishek's next release is 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' which will release worldwide in June 2007.

Abhishek was launched by J P Dutta in 'Refugee' opposite Kareena Kapoor, who also made her debut with this movie. The movie flopped and Abhishek went on to play the leading man in 18 films, all of which flopped at the box office. Here's a list:

2000 Refugee
2000 Dhai Akshar Prem Ke
2000 Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya
2001 Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai
2001 Shararat
2002 Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya
2002 Desh
2002 Om Jai Jagadish
2003 Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon 
2003 Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost
2003 Kuch Naa Kaho 
2003 LOC Kargil
2003 Zameen  
2004 Rakht
2004 Run  
2004 Phir Milenge
2004 Yuva
2004 Naach

The year 2004 saw Abhishek Bachchan end a five-year run of box-office disasters as he managed to figure in 'Dhoom' a Yash Raj films production which was the first Abhishek Bachchan starrer to actually make more money at the box office than what it cost to make. John Abraham however stole the show and became a more saleable actor.

This was followed by 'Sarkar' and 'Bunty aur Babli', both moderate succeses where he co-starred with superstar-father Amitabh Bachchan. 'Bunty Aur Babli' was with Rani Mukherjee and father, Amitabh Bachchan worked better but the success has been attributed to Aishwarya Rai's 'Kajra Re' item number.

Since then Abhishek has featured in 'Dus', 'Antar Mahal', 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' and 'Umrao Jaan' all of which were box office failures. Dhoom 2 released in 2006 where Abhishek co-starred with Hrithik Roshan was a major success and Guru released in early 2007 has been a moderate success. Ironically Abhisheks' biggest hits apart from 'Dhoom 2' have been 'Hum Tum' , 'Salaam Namaste' and 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' in all of which he's had a guest appearance with less than five minutes of screen time for his character prompting some cynics to say Abhishek should confine himself to guest appearances.

After 'Dhoom', Abhishek Bachchan is considered hot and happening but that was a combination of Abhishek with John Abraham and Uday Chopra. To call 'Dhoom' as Abhishek Bachchan’s hit is as funny as to call it Uday Chopra’s hit! Nevertheless, Abhishek’s stature is much higher today than it was when Karisma dumped him seeing no future with him.

It is interesting to note that Kareena Kapoor walked out of Rakesh Roshan’s Kaho Na Pyar Hai as Hrithik was not hot enough for her, and reports about Abhishek were excellent. So was the pedigree. Here was the only son of mega star Amitabh Bachchan and an excellent actress Jaya Bachchan! The other was the son of a not so successful, B grade actor Rakesh Roshan.

in the company of Shahrukh Khan and his father Amitabh Bachchan.Although the makers have claimed it to be a major success, the general opinion of the trade is that the movie saw a major drop in business from the second week throughout India. It fared better overseas.   

Abhishek Bachchan has the dubious distinction of starring in one of Bollywood biggests flops, 'Umrao Jaan', a remake of an old Rekha starrer of the same name which had him playing the role done by Farooq Shaikh with Aishwarya Rai playing the central character immortalized by Rekha. The movie was made by J P Dutta on a budget of Rs.20 crores (About $5 million) and collected about a third of that amount at Rs.7.4 crores. J P Dutta's marketing savvy was such that he reportedly asked for Rs.5 crores for every territory of Umrao Jaan, before its release. J P Dutta reportedly made a profit of between 10-15 crores, selling the movie to distributors, who were stuck with colossal losses.

With the kind of media management experience the Bachchans have since the time Amitabh Bachchan was accused of being involved in Bofors kickbacks scandal, Abhishek has had a supportive media from the time he stepped in films. Amitabh left no stone unturned to make his entry smooth. Yet, Abhishek found himself floundering.

A lot of care was being taken for Abhishek Bachchan’s debut. The first announcement was Aakhri Mughal but it was shelved. Refugee, directed by JP Dutta, was how Abhishek made his debut. Somehow, every new film of his – even after he has done 30 odd films so far – seem Abhishek’s debut. There are talks of reviving the project, 'Aakhri Mughal' with J P Dutta. It was also reported in the media that Dutta wanted cast Amitabh Bachchan in the movie and make the movie without Abhishek but Amitabh wasn't willing for this. Amitabh has denied that J P Dutta wanted to exclude Abhishek Bachchan.

In April 2007 Abhishek Bachchan married actress Aishwarya Rai in a high-profile wedding that took place at his Juhu residence. Many long time friends, associates and co-stars of Abhishek and father Amitabh Bachchan weren't invited to the wedding and the Bachchan family is believed to have lost a lot of goodwill in Bollywood on this account.

The Bachchans are producing 'Drona' with Abhishek Bachchan in the lead with Goldie and Shristi Behl of Rose films as co-producers. 'Drona' has many special effects and is being compared to Hrithik Roshan's 'Krrish'. It's expected to release sometime in 2008.