THE RETURN OF BONG-SHELL BIPASHA!by Monojit Lahiri October 26 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 25 secs
Monojit Lahiri investigates the rise and fall of Bipasha Basu, and a much anticipated come-back of the sizzling hot star on OTT.
When some years ago, model-actor-anchor Neha Dhupia openly declared that there were only two sure-fire components that went into making a Bollywood hit, SRK and Sex, could she have been thinking of sultry siren, Bipasha Basu who also sizzled on screen with her sultry personality?
It’s an interesting backstory. Living up to her name, which meant “dark, deep desire” and candidly admitting that Sex and the city was her favourite show, Bipasha Basu debuted with Ajnabee as a supporting actress in 2001. It was her next, Raaz, that attracted attention and appreciation, even impressing veteran critic Komal Nahata to confidently predict a bright future for this new entrant.
It also fetched her a Filmfare nomination. On a high, the young star was quickly brought down to earth with a series of flops, which convinced her that variety was not the spice of life for her and focusing on her core strengths would be the way forward. It was the John Abraham starrer Jism - where she plays a sexy seductress in a torrid extra-marital affair – that really rocked her to another stratosphere.
Overnight, the little-known actress became B-town’s latest and hottest sensation! Alongside, her very visible public affair with hunk John Abraham made them headline material, the darling of the media and only increased the buzz, popularity and brand value around her a zillion times. So, maybe Neha Dhupia was right after all!
Unfortunately, what goes up must come down, the law of averages ensures it and Bips was next in line for this up-the-down-staircase trip. Since she relied totally on her body language as lingua franca and connected with delirious mobs only on that score, there was no second line of defence. After success in No Entry, Dhoom 2, Corporate, Phir Hera Pheri, Race 2 and Omkara (where her Bidi jalai le & Namak Ishq ka are iconic) she became a victim of her image, a Frankenstein that both created and threatened to destroy her career.
With time, tastes, audiences and trends changing suddenly, Bipasha Basu was predictable, replaced by fresher and newer sizzlers who could flash killer sex appeal and act too! Like all stars, Bips too yearned to be taken seriously as an actor and appeared in Pankh and Shob Charitro Kalponik (in Bengali for the late ace director, Rituparno Ghosh) but neither of them made any waves to allow entry into the segment. However, smart as she is, she weighed the options and got into a space seldom attempted by glam stars – the Horror scene! Here, with Creature, Alone and Raaz 3, she did create waves but to most, it was a demotion from the big bannered mainstream movies she once did.
What actually went wrong with her career? Serious BB-watchers believe a lot. Number one is image. The sex symbol tag worked wonders when she started out, but it slowly started losing its sizzle with time.
Then her wrong choice of movies, over-dependence on creating heated media buzz about her Johnny boy affair, doing a Hollywood movie (The Lovers) that sadly went to DTH and lost clout, moving into a new area (Horror) meant for newcomers. When one heard of the Bongshell on screen one felt sad for the dusky fighter who confronted overwhelming odds in a fair-skinned and diplomatic industry where politically right is the stance to take, irrespective of personal opinion.
Then came marriage to handsome hunk model-actor Karan Singh Grover and a five-year hiatus prior to the birth of a beautiful baby girl. But well, she did successfully carve out a niche for herself, which is missed today, and life is full of surprises.
Bipasha is, indeed, looking amazing, has the paparazzi chasing while she makes rounds of the gym, visits the Durga Puja pandal with her husband and baby in tow, and is seen everywhere of importance in B-town. Looks like OTT is the next destination and a reinvented Bips is on the way with something spectacular!