It has not been easy for Aamir Khan, for he never was the mega ‘superstar’ that he is today. The 90’s were dominated by the likes of Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan. Aamir crawled his
way, all along concentrating on quality and content, to slowly make it to the top league and now beyond!
The last decade, after classics like Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai, Aamir took a 4-5 year long break due to marital issues and other personal problems. He returned with Mangal Pandey which didn’t do too well at the box office. Soon after, many in the media and trade wrote him off.
Aamir stopped giving interviews and never really promoted the commercially risky ‘Rang De Basanti’ – a film that not many would even risk after ‘Mangal Pandey’. The movie went on to do great business, soon after which Aamir returned with the record breaking Fanaa. He then decided to take up direction and directed the brilliant Taare Zameen Par and the rest, including the historic business of Ghajini, is now history.
But no one in their wildest of dreams would have thought 3 Idiots would come close to Ghajini, leave alone beat the 116 crore record. The film not only went on to do record-breaking business, but became the first film to cross Rs 200 crore in India and Rs 350 crore worldwide – unimaginable for any film during those days.
After the historic success of 3 Idiots, Aamir decided to do yet another off-beat film, with little or no commercial appeal outside multiplexes in cities. A supernatural mystery thriller, no less. The response was mixed, as many returned home disappointed with the fact that Kareena Kapoor was in fact a ghost!
Then came yet another box office monster, Dhoom 3, which went on to be the highest grosser of all time collecting Rs 284 crore in India. The first film to cross the 250 crore mark. Dhoom 3 not only smashed every record in sight in the domestic markets, but also created records overseas – markets that were previously dominated by Shahrukh Khan for decades, now had a new competitor, who could not only challenge him, but also beat him.
A few days prior to the release of PK, we spoke to several distributors and trade experts. Most believed that the film would just about manage to cross the 200 crore mark, while most thought the film had absolutely no chance of crossing the universal success of Dhoom 3. On December 19th, the day PK released, the Rajkumar Hirani film took a much slower opening as compared to Dhoom 3. However, the response (read word-of-mouth) was so good, that the film came into its own in its first weekend itself. PK has now become the first film to collect Rs 300 crore in India and will soon become the first to gross 600 crore worldwide.
Aamir Khan has set the benchmark so high, that it would take nothing less than a miracle for other stars like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor to match. There are expectations that Bhajrangi Bhaijaan could challenge PK next year, and Shahrukh Khan’s film with Rohit Shetty – if it does release during Christmas – could also have a chance if the word-of-mouth is good. But for now, realistically, the only records that the others will be chasing will be the opening day and weekend. Like 3 Idiots, PK has raised the bar so high, that there are fears that it will take another 4 years for any other film to come close.
Box office milestones
- First 50 crore film – Salman Khan and Sooraj Barjatya (Hum Aapke Hai Kaun)
- First 100 crore film – Aamir Khan and A.R. Murugadoss (Ghajini)
- First 150 crore film – Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani (3 Idiots)
- First 200 crore film – Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani (3 Idiots)
- First 250 crore film – Aamir Khan and Vijay Krishna Acharya (Dhoom 3)
- First 300 crore film – Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani (PK)