Sonakshi Sinha and Sidharth Malhotra, the heroes of this week’s two socially relevant comedies, are in urgent need of a hit. Sonakshi has not had much luck at the box office with her recent releases. Her attempts at playing the hero in Akira, Noor and Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi have not been especially rewarding.
In her new release, Khaandani Shafakhana, Sonakshi is cast as a sexologist, a role far removed from anything she has done so far. It’s tongue-in-cheekily being advertised as a sex film for the entire family. This could either mean that Sonakshi is preserving her pristine image as a wholesome girl next door, the kind who asks about uncleji’s health as she passes him by on her scooter on the way to work, or that she is consciously working to change her image.
Her father Shatrughan Sinha completely approves of her choices. “When Sonakshi announced her decision to join films, my only precondition was that she must not do anything undignified, and she has kept her word. I am proud of every role she has done, from Rowdy Rathore to Khaandani Shafakhana.” Unfortunately, his daughter’s film has opened to abysmal collections.
Similarly, Sid’s last four films as a solo hero — Baar Baar Dekho, A Gentleman, Ittefaq and Aiyyary — have been calamitous in varying degrees. And the trade believes that the actor has yet to prove himself solo-hero material. His only successes so far — Student Of the Year, Ek Villain, Kapoor & Sons — all had other leading men to prop up prospects. Therefore, Jabariya Jodi, where Sid plays a Bihari goon, is crucial to his career. Co-producer Shailesh Singh says, “It will surprise the audience for sure, as they have not seen Sidharth Malhotra like that before. He has never played a heartland-rooted character.”
Veteran journalist Bharathi S. Pradhan adds, “I found Sidharth refreshingly desi in the trailer, quite different from his urbane image. I was pleasantly surprised to see him so comfortable in a role so alien to him. So if the film runs, it will be a second innings of stardom for him.” Trade analyst Girish Johar opines, “Jabariya Jodi and Khaandani...cannot be termed as Sidharth and Sonakshi’s comebacks. They are re-inventing themselves. These days, actors take time in deciding on the right script, which they feel justifies their talent, offers something new for them, and is new for their fans and audiences. For Sonakshi, taking the route of a light comedy using a taboo topic has got her the eyeballs. For Sidharth, doing a rustic character is completely different from what he did in the past.” Trade insider Atul Mohan has the last word. “These are two young talents yet to get their dues. Both movies are looking fresh in content, and this is what the audience wants today.” However, with Khandaani...doing miserably, and thereby breaking Sonakshi’s career even further, it remains to be seen what Jabariya Jodi does for Sidharth....