WANTED: A STAR

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By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, April 6 -- Vivek Oberoi starrer Prince: It's Show Time releases on Friday. The film has been in the making for a year. The budget is approximately Rs 55 crore, including promotion. One wonders why so much money is being pumped into a desi-Bond movie that doesn't even topline a bankable name. Pritish Nandy of Pritish Nandy Communications points out that there are only six-seven big names that can drive a film. "Half of them, like Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Aamir Khan, have their own production houses. So companies like PNC that produce films irrespective of the star quotient, settle for Vivek Oberoi and Imran Khan if they fit the project," he reasons.

Failed to impress

Tradesmith Amod Mehra points out that presently neither Vivek Oberoi nor Prateik Babbar (launched in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na) have proven their mettle as actors. "One has had a string of flops and the other has vanished after one film," he says. According to an industry veteran who doesn't want to be named, Imran Khan (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na) has some zing left but has failed to live up to the expectations of his first film. "A strong defining role can make the difference, he is a potential superstar. Even Shahid Kapoor has been struggling for a solo hit after Kaminey even though a he's dependable actor," argues the veteran.

Names galore

Tradesmith Vinod Mirani still puts his bet on Shahid Kapoor, along with Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan. "There are a lot of hopes riding on Vivek Oberoi's Prince too. He hasn't been seen in a long time, let's see how he fares," says Mirani. "Most young actors today need a hit or two, Ranbir is the only one who has sailed through. The top Khans are in their 40s, there's vacuum waiting to be filled up by mid-range actors." Shyam Shroff of Sringar Films is rooting for Imran Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi. "If you take the 10 movies the three have between them, roughly Rs 250 crore is at stake. But I'm confident that given time and faith, the trio will succeed." Sandeep Bhargava, CEO, Indian Film Company, is also backing Imran Khan, "One of the actors with the youngest face and extremely good in romantic comedies". Ranbir Kapoor, he agrees, has a lot of promise and potential too, more so since he can carry off even mature roles with elan. "The rest will have to find their way through the competition."