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Bollywood boys, safe home...


MUSCLES FLEXED, killer looks and a fire within. They came, we saw... they didn't conquer. The names were forgotten, the faces remained alien to the masses as a whole. They were the film heroes who made it to the silver screen but vanished as fast as they came. Without dazzling on the Bollywood firmament, they faded like falling stars and never rose again. Can you recall Rahul Bhatt in "Yeh Mohabbat Hai"? Or Aryan Babbar in "Ab Ke Baras"? Many guys in "Ye Kya Ho Raha Hai" or Karan Nath in "Ye Dil Aashiqanaa"? No. But you surely know Vivek Oberoi who made it to the hearts of college goers for more than one reason.

Son of Suresh Oberoi, the well known actor of yesteryear, Vivek made his debut in Ramgopal Verma's "Company" with the role of the dare devil henchman of an underworld don played by Ajay Devgan. Devoid of the conventional good looks of a hero, Vivek but made it up with his portrayal of an angry man. Remember Amitabh Bachchan in "Zanjeer"? The image of the angry young man smoothed his road to success.

The success of "Company" led Ramgopal Verma to repeat this promising lad in "Road". He wasn't wrong. Though many rate Manoj Vajpayee as better than him in this film, Vivek left his own imprint as a fresh and different face.

Then it was time for him to bargain for more - a romantic hero image, typical Bollywood style. "Saathiya" directed by Shaad Ali has provided him ample opportunity to prove his worth in this mode. And he seems to be adapting well. He can gyrate like Salman, fly his bike into a river like Ajay Devgan and emote for a sad number like the prince if not king of tragedy. Good looks are a passé, right?

If you are looking up for a runner up, Sohail Khan seems to fit the bill. Youngest son of writer Salim Khan of "Zanjeer" fame and brother of Salman and Arbaaz Khan, Sohail made news on many fronts.

In "Maine Dil Tujhko Diya" he not only made his debut with newcomer Sameera Reddy but also produced the film with Bunty Walia, scripted and directed it too. The flick bombed at the box office but the boy survived. With innocent looks, gym-honed physique, great height and reasonably good acting, he swam ashore safely. He might have guessed it right.

"I wanted a safe landing so I chose a romantic film instead of a negative shade or other roles for that initial survival. You know a romantic hero in Bollywood has a safer career than others," he had said when he came to Delhi to promote his film.

Would the rest of the Bollywood boys agree?

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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