The debate of nepotism is incomplete with a mention of Abhishek Bachchan; unfortunately, no discussion on failed kids of successful stars reaches its end without a few jibes taken at the Dhoom star. But a very close eye on the Bachchan kid’s career graph shows that he has not benefited from his ‘star kid’ status as much as being weighed down by it.
The hype of the Bachchan bloodline
It has been 20 years since Abhishek Bachchan’s debut with Refugee opposite another star-kid from the reputed Kapoor family. Hopes from the two (Bachchan and Kapoor) kids were towering; that Hrithik Roshan, son of Rakesh Roshan, had entered Bollywood with the box officer slayer, Kaho Na Pyar Hai, just months ago, threw added challenges at Abhishek. The Bachchan successor was hyped to be the next big thing of the Hindi filmdom, but the battle ahead was not accounted for.
Victim of expectations
Refugee received a lukewarm opening and was an average performer at the box-office. Measured against the tall legacies of his father, Abhishek had disappointed the crowds gathered to find a new version of their adulated Big B. Critics ripped him apart; he was panned for lacking a personality, some decided he looked unprepared. Abhishek had started with the curse of being constantly compared to the incomparable. His scenes, no matter how intensely delivered, fell dwarfed when placed against his legendary father’s performance.
Rushing into wrong scripts
Even his colossal father couldn’t escape a series of initial flops, but a couple of consecutive failures were enough to have Abhishek written off. Aware of the scrutiny he was to be subjected to, Abhishek must have shown wisdom while considering scripts. Films like Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya, and a few more with dated scripts could have been avoided. It was not his bad rendition as much as the tired, uninspiring plotlines of the films that took him down.
Has potential, no individuality
Abhishek Bachchan has potential; he is in fact, in many ways, better than some who have seen brighter days in tinsel town. He asserts repeatedly that the relentless comparison to his father doesn’t amuse him much. Ironically, he has allowed himself to be so deeply inspired by Senior Bachchan’s acting, his poise, hence, his father’s shadow looms over his scenes. It has worked for him a few times but thrown him under the bus in most cases. Despite being a good actor, he failed to discover his own style and establish his own identity as one.
His success was not his
In the past two decades, the Refugee debutante has worked in over fifty films, discounting the dozen of cameo appearances he has done in the likes of Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste, Lage Raho Munna Bhai or Shoot Out at Lokhandwala. His initial failures had shaken the filmmakers’ confidence in his solo abilities and he was mostly seen in movies with multiple stars, including but not limited to Om Jai Jagadish, Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, and LOC Kargil.
Accordingly, the success of Yuva, the reprising presence in the Dhoom series, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Dostana, or Happy New Year was never accredited to him. Going by the statistics, he has had only two solo hits in the past two decades: Bunty Aur Babli with Rani Mukherjee and Guru with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Now, this does not shine out as glorious for him.
What’s keeping him busy these days
Thankfully, Abhishek has found his calling in avenues outside filmdom. In 2014 he bought the Kabaddi team Jaipur Pink Panthers and became the co-owner of the super league football team Chennaiyin FC. The welcome move brought these sports to the mainstream in a country that doesn’t look beyond cricket.
Working as a brand ambassador for LG, Videocon, TTK group and END7 also keeps him busy. Not that Abhishek has given up on movies for good, he will soon be seen in Harshad Mehta’s The Big Bull and Diya Annapurna Ghosh’s Bob Biswas where he plays the titular role originally made famous by Saswata Chatterjee in Kahaani. Abhishek is also trying his luck in the digital world. Here is the trailer to his latest series, Breathe: Into the Shadows.