The working style of mega-stars has seen a significant change in the past 2 decades or so in the Hindi Film Industry. Big stars used to have multiple releases in a year and such a phenomenon was quite prominent during the 70s, 80s and to an extent even in the 90s. But due to wide expansion of global markets for Indian Cinema and the continuous inflow of big corporate investors, the pressure to deliver has grown manifold on the stake holders.
A big star is no longer just a Hindi Industry superstar but a ‘Brand’ that is expected to return profits for all its investors. Two decades back, stars could get away with even 5-6 consecutive flops but today even if a single movie fails to open well, the stardom of the ‘Brand’ becomes questionable. As a result, most major stars are opting for one or a maximum of two releases a year. The break from the big screen raises the curiosity level amongst the audience and hence increases the prospects of the movie at the ticket window.
2013 is going to be the first year without a superstar, who is arguably the biggest in the industry today. Ever since Salman Khan made his debut with ‘Biwi Ho To Aisi’ in 1988, he has had a release every single year. For fans of the actor who will miss him on the big screen this year, Salman will be seen as a regular host of television reality show ‘Bigg Boss’ which will start from September 15. Apart from that, he will also be seen in cameos in movies like ‘Ishqk in Paris’ (already released) and ‘Phata Poster Nikla Hero’. His last release was ‘Dabangg 2’ in the last week of 2012 and his next ‘Mental’ is scheduled to release in January 2014. Hence, 2013 will be the first break for Salman Khan in a career spanning more than 25 years!
Salman’s good friend Aamir Khan started doing fewer movies since the early days of his career. He is leading the list as far as the break years are concerned, and is credited for starting the trend of shooting for only one movie at a time. He took a huge 4 year gap between ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and ‘Mangal Pandey’, and followed it up with a 3 year gap between ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Talaash’ if we discount a non-commercial film like ‘Dhobi Ghaat’. Hence there are 5 years – 2002,2003,2004,2010 and 2011 – when no Aamir Khan movie released.
Coming to the third Khan, Shah Rukh Khan did not have a major release in 2009. Although he was seen in a cameo in ‘Billu’, this was the only year in his career without a major release. Hrithik Roshan, on the other hand, also plays it slow and steady. As compared to other mega stars, Hrithik’s career is only 13 years old but in that 3 years have passed by without any release – 2005, 2007, and 2009. However, in 2009 he was seen in a small cameo in ‘Luck By Chance’.
Years when a one of the top stars didn’t have a release
- Aamir Khan – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011
- Hrithik Roshan – 2005, 2007, 2009
- Shahrukh Khan – 2009
- Salman Khan – 2013
That brings us to the one and only Akshay Kumar. The Khiladi has defied all logic and has amazingly managed to maintain his superstardom even with multiple releases. In a career that began more than 22 years, there has been not a single year when an Akshay Kumar hasn’t hit the silver screen. Infact, there are only 2 years in his career when he had less than 3 releases in a year – 2001 and 2003. In terms of number of releases, Akshay is only competing with himself today. No wonder he is the only star whose movies have cumulatively collected a whopping 2000 crore of net business.
Abhishek Sharma tweets @abhu_sharma