Behind the facade of glory which film industry is known for, hundreds of actors and actresses, who were once heartthrobs, have vanished without a trace. Their illustrious careers bit the dust sometimes for no reason. We take a look at some such actors who couldn’t capitalise on their initial success
They were once touted to be the next big thing in Indian cinema, but the manner in which the careers of celebrities like Mamta Kulkarni, Keerthi Reddy, Arvind Swami, Uday Kiran spiralled out of control leaves a lot of unanswered questions about what really went wrong. The list is endless and each decade had its own set of actors and actresses who were within the reach of stardom before they vanished without a trace. When actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman and Sridevi were ruling the roost in the 80s, the era also had actors like Kumar Gaurav, Meenakshi Seshadri, Bhagyashree, Mandakini who shot to fame with a string of decent hits to their credit. Meenakshi Seshadri was almost competing with Sridevi in terms of popularity in the late 80s and went on to star in critically acclaimed films like Aapathbhandavudu, Damini, Ghayal and Ghatak, before she quit her career. In 1997, she got married an investment banker and migrated to the US. Another classic example is Mandakini who rose to fame with films like Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Loha and Jeete Hai Shaan Se. So what went wrong with some of these heartthrobs?
The nexus of drugs, mafia and a series of flops led to the downfall of many stars. Mandakini was often spotted with Dawood Ibrahim, Kumar Gaurav’s luck begin to fade towards the late 80s and Bhagyashree didn’t sign a single big film post Maine Pyaar Kiya. In 1989, Mani Ratnam’s Geethanjali made waves in Andhra Pradesh, but the lead actress of the film Girija never appeared in another big film. Perhaps no other actress’ downfall made more news than the sudden rise and fall of Mamta Kulkarni.
She was the pin-up girl of the early 90s. By 1995, she went on to act with Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan and then she stunned everyone with her topless photoshoot for a leading magazine. Apart from few forgettable roles, she was hardly seen onscreen before people came to know that she had migrated to Dubai. Anu Agarwal and Rahul Roy, who became a sensation post Aashiqui, couldn’t repeat their magic ever again.
Mani Ratnam’s critically acclaimed film Roja made its lead pair Arvind Swamy and Madhoo a household name. Both the actors went on to star in couple of memorable films like Bombay and Gentleman respectively and by 2000, they took a long break from films. Arvind Swamy is going to make his comeback after more than a decade in Mani Ratnam’s
next film Kadal. Among other actresses, Shalini, Manu, Abhirami, Vijayalakshmi and Suvalakshmi didn’t last long either.
Telugu film industry has had its share of heartthrobs who ran out of steam at the box office. Maheshwari, Vadde Naveen, Venkat, Aakash and Laila tasted success quite early in their career but their names don’t really ring a bell as much as they should have had. Keerthi Reddy, who mesmerised everyone with her girl next door image in Pawan Kalyan’s Tholiprema, acted in few Hindi films before vanishing altogether. In the early part of last decade, Uday Kiran, Tharun, Richa Pollad and Aarti Agarwal were a rage among the youth. By mid 2000s, none of them could maintain their star status at the box office.
The journey in film industry, amidst competition from peers, can be ruthless and only a few manage to stand the test of time. And others end up as vague memories of a distant past. For better or worse, perhaps fate had other plans for them.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.