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Sara Ali Khan is on a sinking ship


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THE fact that Sara Ali Khan’s career has been derailed will be illustrated by her back-to-back film releases this month.

Instead of getting a cinema release, her movie Murder Mubarak will be dumped on Netflix next Friday (15). A week later, on March 22, Ae Watan Mere Watan will be aired on Amazon Prime. Apart from having the actress as a headline star, both films are obviously not good enough for a cinema release.

If the respective producers had confidence in the murder mystery and the period patriotic drama, or if there had been significant interest in the actress, the films would have gotten a global cinema release instead of being flushed down streaming sites that have become toilets for stinky Bollywood content.

The daughter of popular stars Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh had a relatively decent start to her film career in 2018 with Kedarnath and Simmba. But then, things started to go horribly wrong for someone touted as the next big leading lady of Hindi cinema, due to bad decisions in choosing her starring vehicles.

Her next two films were poor copies of previous releases and had directors who had lost their touch. Love Aaj Kal was a successful 2009 film, so starring in a lesser copy with the exact same title in 2020, with a director (Imtiaz Ali) on a downward spiral didn’t make any sense. Neither did agreeing to act opposite flop actor Varun Dhawan in a remake of the 1990s hit, Coolie No 1, with David Dhawan, another director whose best days were behind him. Not surprisingly, both movies were savaged by critics and rejected by audiences.

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Sara’s next film, Atrangi Re, might have seemed like a good idea, but its director, Aanand L Rai, had just delivered the mega-budget disaster, Zero, in 2018. The film had been so bad that it kept Shah Rukh Khan away from the big screen for four years. Atrangi Re was also dumped on a streaming site and was written off as a big mess.

Lead Sara Ali Khan in Murder Mubarak 54
Murder Mubarak

She then somehow found herself in Gaslight, a 2023 movie helmed by dud director Pavan Kirpalani, who had delivered the unbearably bad Bhoot Police in 2021. The negatively reviewed mystery thriller also found its way to a streaming site and was quickly forgotten.

Sara’s next film, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, should have helped her turn a corner because it managed a cinema release. The romantic comedy was directed by Laxman Utekar, who had previously made the successful films, Luka Chuppi and Mimi. However, this film turned out to be so bad, that cinemas eventually resorted to a two-forone ticket offer.

That brings us to her latest two films. Murder Mubarak is loaded with has-been stars and helmed by Homi Adajania, who hasn’t directed a decent film since his one real success, Cocktail, in 2012. Although Ae Watan Mere Watan, released a week later, has her playing the legendary Indian freedom fighter, Usha Mehta, it is helmed by Kannan Iyer, whose only other film as a director was over a decade ago, the flop Ek Thi Daayan. It also has a forgettable supporting cast. Not surprisingly, it went straight to a streaming site. Her forthcoming films don’t look any better and could quickly signal the end of a career for a leading lady, who had doors opened for her in a nepotistic industry but went through the wrong ones. Like other star kids of this generation, Sara has shown that she doesn’t have what it takes to make it in Bollywood or the ability to make good choices, despite the industry desperately needing young talent.



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