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How Dhoom saved the careers of 3 actors

While Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Uday Chopra's acting careers found a new lease of life with Dhoom, there was no such luck for Esha Deol and Rimi Sen.

Mayur Lookhar

Yash Raj Films (YRF) had been known for their romantic family sagas all along, and the concept of hardcore action was quite alien to the country's premier production house. This changed when YRF decided to make the high-octane Dhoom in 2004. It roped in a young director Sanjay Gadhvi to helm the project which would involve high-speed bike chase sequences. 

While the Indian viewer who had lapped up Hollywood action thrillers then was thrilled by the news, they weren't convinced of the casting — Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Uday Chopra, Rimi Sen and Esha Deol. After all, all these actors were struggling to make a mark in the film industry. As Dhoom completes 12 years today, we take a look back at what the film did for these actors. 

Abhishek Bachchan

Having made an unsuccessful début with Refugee (2000), the going got tough for Bachchan junior for the next four years. Though praised by critics, Bachchan got lost to clichéd subjects in the subsequent years. He had over two dozen flops in three years since his début. His looks and acting skills were under the scanner constantly by critics and fans. Then came along Yuva, which was a fairly successful venture. Bachchan was widely appreciated for his role as the local goon Lallan Singh. It must be noted that Bachchan was picked for Dhoom much before Yuva released.

After Dhoom became a hit, Bachchan went on to star in hits like Bunty Aur Babli (2005) and Sarkar (2005). Three years later, he returned for the second Dhoom film with Hrithik Roshan as the thief. And in 2013, it was Aamir Khan stepping into the cerebral thief’s shoes. Bachchan remained the protagonist in all three films. What was interesting and common in all these films is that, before he took up each one of them, Bachchan found his career hanging in the balance only for Dhoom to resurrect it every time. 

John Abraham

Blessed with great looks, John Abraham had been labelled a wooden actor. Abraham didn’t have a godfather in the industry. He started his career with a host of unknown short films before being cast by the Bhatts in their sensual drama Jism (2003). The film clicked, but not so much because of Abraham's acting skills. His next three release were duds and Abraham must have feared his film career being cut short abruptly.

There wasn’t a stark improvement in Abraham’s acting either, but he ticked all boxes as far his character was concerned. Abraham loves bikes and that made his task of playing a bike rider thief easier. Post Dhoom, Abraham went on to bag key projects such as Kaal (2005), Viruddh (2005) with Amitabh Bachchan, Garam Masala (2005) with Akshay Kumar, and Deepa Mehta’s internationally-acclaimed film Water (2006). In 2006, Abraham was widely appreciated as the anti-hero in Sanjay Gupta’s dark thriller Zinda. Abraham had never touched great peaks in his career, but he’s a survivor. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that if it wasn’t for Dhoom, Abraham’s career would have doomed.

Uday Chopra

A likeable person both on and off screen, Uday Chopra could never escape the constant scrutiny over his looks and lack of acting skills. Sadly, Indian fans tend to be kinder to good-looking stars, irrespective of their acting chops. Being Yash Chopra’s son didn’t help his cause either. Poor Chopra bore the brunt of hatred for Bollywood’s infamous nepotism. Had Dhoom not clicked, Chopra would have been history. The same year, Chopra featured in the critically-acclaimed Charas. He tried his luck at other roles, but failed miserably. In the end, Chopra had to bank on the subsequent Dhoom films to save his career. Yes, he was mocked in Dhoom 2 and Dhoom 3, but Chopra will forever remain a vital cog in the Dhoom wheel.

Esha Deol

Dharmendra's daughter Esha Deol bagged the best debutant award at the Filmfare Awards (2002) for her maiden film Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe. Deol then went to bag a host of projects, most of which failed. Those that clicked (Yuva - 2004) had nothing to do with her character. Dhoom resurrected her career, but she could not tap into that success. After Dhoom, she had just one hit No Entry (2005) where she played Salman Khan’s wife. She did a few films down south, but without any favourable result. Mom Hema Malini rehashed her earlier Dil Aashna Hai (1992) as a last resort to save Deol's career. Strangely, as bad as Tell Me O Khuda (2011) was, it was bound to fail as it competed against Shah Rukh Khan’s maiden sci-fi thriller Ra.One. Deol soon married and her acting career became history. 

Rimi Sen 

In all fairness, there was never any burden of expectation on Rimi Sen from the time she made her début. Before Dhoom she had hits like Hungama (2003) and Baghban (2003). However, she merely played second fiddle in these films. And truth be told, she had a miniscule role as the wife of good cop Jai Dixit (Bachchan) in Dhoom. In Dhoom 2, her character was pregnant. In a male-dominated action thriller, Sen was reduced to being the doting wife of Bachchan's character. Sen did go on to bag a few plum projects — Golmaal Fun Unlimited (2006), Johnny Gaddar (2007), Shagird (2011), but we doubt her growth as an actress. She hasn’t been seen since 2011.