Celebs like Sania Mirza, Sushmita Sen, Dimple Kapadia, Neetu Singh have defied all odds post-retirement from their professions.
They say sports persons and film stars die twice – the first time when they call it quits from their respective professions! For many celebrated personalities who dedicated their lives to sports and films, life post ‘calling time’ is opposite to the life they led when in the spotlight. But not anymore. Celebs like Sania Mirza, Sushmita Sen, Dimple Kapadia, Neetu Singh and sports persons like Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Chris Gayle, Sachin Tendulkar and many other lesser known names too have defied all odds post-retirement from their professions. They have found a way to evolve and keep their brand equity alive. The movie stars are getting good roles in films and web series, sports persons are getting endorsements, commentary contracts etc and earning good money — perhaps even more than what they earned during their hey days.
PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES
Coping with retirement isn’t easy because a celeb loses a large part of the identity they had built up till then. Who am I? How do I introduce myself ? What’s interesting about me outside of my profession? These are questions that come up justifiably.
But after bowing out three decades ago, Kapil Dev served as a coach for Team India and the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The legendary all-rounder commentated and even represented India (in Golf) at the 2018 Asia Pacific Seniors tournament in Japan. He has also appeared in few Bollywood films over the years. A movie, 83, starring Ranveer Singh, was made on Kapil Dev and his team’s 1983 Cricket World Cup triumph. And he was recently cast in a cameo in a film that also features Superstar Rajinikanth.
"Kapil is often a chief guest for several high-profile events (like golf-related ones), and is also a brand ambassador for a few products," notes Sunil Yash Kalra, a sports broadcaster, pointing out that multiple avenues (like commentating and brand endorsement) have now opened up for celebs to stay relevant.
Kapil has acquired great communication skills, making him a good orator (public speaking and behind the mic), he adds. "Kapil is one of the greatest sports icons and achievers in the country, so he need not do much to be in the limelight. But his new communication skills have created a great impact. His non-controversial analysis of the game have won him a lot of appreciation."
Tennis star Sania Mirza too is enjoying a great stint after calling it quits. The former World Number One in doubles is extending her lucrative stint even after quitting her profession. The 36-year-old six-time Grand Slam winner was recently appointed as the mentor for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) team in the Women’s Premier League (WPL). She also became the Tennis Ambassador for Sports broadcaster Sony Sports Network, and will be seen as an expert panelist on the network. And she continues to hog the limelight with The Mirza Malik talk show.
Branding expert Sridhar Ramanujam, Founder, Brand-Comm, says what works in favour of these celebs is the cost-benefit analysis. Since these celebs are well-known and controversy-free, agencies rope them in for comparatively lower rates. "The cost of hiring a Kapil Dev will be 1/10 of a Virat Kohli. By having a Kapil or a Sania the agencies or a client can save a lot and spend those monies on other things," Sridhar adds.
Ad filmmaker and director Mani Shankar, who worked with Kapil and Sania on a couple of endorsements, says the ‘afterglow’ facet of a celeb drives their life post-retirement. "Just as when the sun sets, not all places get darker immediately, even after a celeb retires, his/ her magic still scatters by virtue of their quality," he notes.
"Kapil, Sania and even Dhoni and Sachin, wherever they go, they cast a spell. Their practice of giving good memories has continued even after their retirement. No wonder they are still ruling," Mani Shankar says.
Not just in sports, even in the field of glitz and glamour, public acceptance is key. In an era where stories are told beyond gender, region and cultures, the roles of women are evolving and need to be celebrated.
Dimple Kapadia was never constrained by the usual limitations of a typical Hindi film heroine. And her role as Shah Rukh Khan’s (a former RAW agent) boss in Pathaan makes her stand out among an ensemble cast. She followed it up by gracefully fronting Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo.
Ditto with Neetu Kapoor! Although she featured in the 2013 film Besharam, the 63-year-old made her full-fledged comeback with last year’s Jug Jugg Jeeyo, starring Varun Dhawan. She’s also a fixture on the reality show circuit. Neetu recently purchased a flat that reportedly cost Rs 17 crore in Mumbai.
"Look at Sushmita Sen, Sanjay Dutt, Neena Gupta, Manoj Bajpayee and Pankaj Tripathi. These stars have found slots for themselves," says Mani Shankar, adding that they have seriously reinvented themselves.
There’s a certain amount of pride a celeb has to swallow. And it helps if the celeb was grounded to begin with. "Sanjay Dutt never had any airs when he was in his prime, and now he’s happy to play a villain. In fact, he’s a superstar villain," notes Mani Shankar.