Showbiz is not for everyone. Some realise it sooner and tread different paths to make different achievements in life, while others keep trying till the industry throws them off.
In this giant rigmarole of realisations and refusals, we have seen many of our beloved celebs fading out into oblivion, leaving us wondering, “where are they, how are they...?”
This “Missing Report” series digs deep into the untold stories of such missing stars, and today we are covering the 80’s heartthrob, Kumar Gaurav.
Kumar Gaurav, with his youthful looks, was to whom most of the young damsels of his time had lost their hearts in the 80s. He was the ‘chocolate boy’ hero the industry got long after Rishi Kapoor’s prime, and prior to Aamir Khan and Salman Khan’s entry.
Rajendra Kumar introduced his son with the romantic, Love Story, in 1981. The Rahul Rawail directorial had Vijeta Pandit as the leading lady next to the sweet-faced lad who became an overnight superstar with the movie becoming a blockbuster. Love Story did a business of six crores in India. Though the figure may not impress you now, it was quite the jackpot four decades ago.
He had two releases in 1982. Teri Kasam with Poonam Dhillon, and the musical Star with Rati Agnihotri. Though his stardom pulled through, replicating the success of Love Story seemed impossible for him.
The tragedy with Kumar Gaurav was, he never tried to grow out of the lover-boy image he had carried since his debut. With more films made on the same lines of love-separation-family issues-happy ending, Lovers, and Romance, for instance, the actor had typecast himself. He failed at reading the pulse of his audience which craved variations in his performance and the stories partook in.
In 1984 he married Namrata Dutt, daughter of Sunil Dutt and Nargis, and Sanjay Dutt’s sister who, unlike her two siblings, chose a life away from public eyes. The couple was blessed with two children and their matrimony stayed blissful.
In 1985, Gaurav gave the best performance of his career, albeit, in Mahesh Bhatt’s television film, Janam. But his fine acting chops in this TV gig stayed underrated. He was desperately in need of a hit to get his career together.
In 1986, he did get back on the top charts with Naam, but it proved to be Sanjay Dutt’s film more, and Kumar Gaurav was sidelined as the second fiddle. Despite Naam’s success, a movie produced by his father, directed by Mahesh Bhatt who was adept in churning out the actor in him, Kumar’s career graph refused to show progress and declined with all subsequent releases faring poorly at the box office.
Having produced several films for him, Rajendra Kumar decided to give his son another chance and got his hands in producing Phool. He roped in the top actress of that time to romance his son in the movie — Madhuri Dixit. Rajendra Kumar, and the star’s father-in-law, Sunil Dutt too had solid roles to play. The entire family came together to revive his perishing career, but all efforts went in vain. Phool proved to be another disaster that the audience wanted to have nothing to do with.
He was seen in a couple of random, less-viewed and unheard of movies through the mid-nineties before fading out to oblivion. So, the millennium audience was taken by surprise to see him as one of the many protagonists in the 2002 action-thriller Kaante. Sanjay Gupta’s Indian redo of the American cult movie Reservoir Dogs was the third-highest-grossing of its year. It also marks the full stop of Kumar Gaurav’s run in Bollywood for the actor has not had any more movies after.
But that doesn’t insinuate that he is drying up jobless in some obscure corner of India. Kumar Gaurav found success as a businessman and has done well for himself and his family post his Bollywood retirement. He runs a travel and construction company. The demanding nature of his business keeps him occupied and well-fed.
In a 2013 interview with a news daily, Kumar stated that he doesn’t mind being forgotten by the industry. He is at quite a complacent place in life. With a love of nature, he has gotten himself a home in Goa where he spends a lot of his free time. Maldives is his second home and he enjoys scuba diving there.
His daughters, Siya and Saachi are all grown up now. When asked if we can expect to see his daughters on the silver screen, he declined those probabilities stating none of the two are interested in showbiz. Saachi was pursuing literature, while Siya was looking to make a career in fashion designing.
Having both the daughters married and settled in their respective lives, Kumar Gaurav is now leading a life of fulfillment with his wife, who looks after the home and him, when not invested in her charity work.