FACE OFF edition!
Both Deepika Padukone and Imran Khan are newcomers to the industry and both of them have a pretty high flop to hit ratio while also having a fairly high style quotient. Let’s see who comes out on top when we put their stats side-by-side!
Om Shanti Om (2007)
Hero: Shahrukh Khan
Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na (2008)
Heroine: Genelia D’Souza
(I won’t even try to talk budget and revenue numbers, which are so controversial anyways.)
I think the one goes to Imran Khan. While Om Shanti Om was a big success, most of the credit for that can go to Farah and SRK. Shahrukh was that movie - Deepika was lucky enough to be swept along for the ride. Meanwhile, for JTYJN, Imran had to shoulder a lot of heavy-lifting acting wise and put in a lot of screen time. He was that movie.
And consider the cultural impact of both films - Om Shanti Om didn’t exactly spawn a ton of 1970s throwback films while JTYJN has given us the brand-new model for the “youthful” (not exactly young - thank you, Saif in Love Aaj Kal) romantic-comedy*.
Winner: IMRAN KHAN!
2. Highest Profile Flop: Chandni Chowk to China v. Kidnap
Chandni Chowk to China (2009)
The winner - and by that I mean loser - is Deepika. First of all, despite the fact that Akshay Kumar was the face of this movie and took most of the heat for it’s failure, people really did not like Deepika.
The pay-for-play and usually way too positive Taran Adarsh had this to say: Deepika Padukone is passable. I can still feel the sting two years later!
Business of Cinema said: Padukone in a double role is twice as dull.
And Apun Ka Choice: [S]he is insufferable as the sentimental Sakhi in search of her estranged family..
The ill-will generated by CC2C was immense.** Meanwhile, Imran was mostly ignored in the ink spilled over Kidnap, where most of the mockery was reserved for Minissha Lamba’s attempt to sexify herself. Imran was appreciated for his abs and his acting. The film flopped but Imran emerged unscathed.
3. Biggest Post-Debut Success: Love Aaj Kal v. I Hate Luv Storys
Love Aaj Kal (2009)
Hate Luv Storys (2010)
This one is tough but I think the super success of Love Aaj Kal just edges out the appreciation of Imran’s performance to hand this one over to Deepika. Love Aaj Kal resonated just a wee bit more with viewers (see *** note) despite a mixed review of Deepika herself. I Hate Luv Storys will most likely be swiftly forgotten. Both romantic comedies attempted to break-down the “traditional” Bollywood love story - although I am of the opinion that both are reacting more to the traditional Hollywood love story - but I Hate Luv Storys ended up falling victim to the cliches it mocked. Plus Rishi Kapoor makes everything better.
Winner: Deepika Padukone
4. Biggest Film In The Kitty: Race 2 v. Short Term Shaadi
Race 2 (2011?)
Short Term Shaadi
While Short Term Shaadi would be a single hero role for Imran and Deepika is going to be sharing screen space with a handful of other stars, I think this one is all Deepika. She is also diversifying the roles she is taking - going from romantic comedy to action/masala while Imran is firmly stuck in the chocolate hero ghetto. AND JTYJN notwithstanding, action films are usually bigger money-spinners than the “Hollywood-style” romantic-comedy (see also the floptastic Anjaana Anjaani, Pyaar Impossible, etc.) and even if Short Term Shaadi is a hit, Race 2 is almost guaranteed to be a bigger one.
Winner: Deepika Padukone!
Uh-oh, time for a tie-breaker...
5. WILDCARD Attitude adjuster
One of the things about outsiders who make it into the Bollywood system is that they usually try hard and take every job that comes their way - somebody like Abhishek Bachchan has the ability to be choosy with roles in a way that somebody like Arshad Warsi does not. However, just because one is a star son (or nephew) doesn’t mean that one can just sit on one’s butt and let work come to them - and that is the impression that I get from Imran Khan. He still can’t dance and his acting is extremely lazy.
Meanwhile, as much as I might personally find Deepika unappealing, I do think she has come a long way as a heroine. With each role she improves a bit and out of the two of them, I would put my money on Deepika lasting longer in the industry.
Overall winner: DEEPIKA PADUKONE!
*that I hate. Thanks for nothing, Imran!
**even if I really enjoyed the film and saw it twice - yes, twice, in the theater. Also, I though Deeps was insufferable as the sentimental Sakhi, too.
***except me. I refused to see it because of Saif’s botoxy “20-something” performance. YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE, SAIF! You have ruined it!