Consistency and frequency (of releases) is of utmost importance in the industry. Achieving those two things means an actor is able to release 1 – 2 or more films every year and yet bring audience to theatres.
Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar are the top guys here, even though Salman is way ahead simply because we was able to get nearly 9 crore people to theatres during the 12-month period when ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan – Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – Sultan’ released in theatres and all films combined collected more than 800 crore at the domestic box office.
Aamir doesn’t quite have the frequency of releases, but he more than makes up for it with one film that not only manages to win over the audience, but also the critics. It’s probably worth the long wait too because most Aamir films are classics that can be watched and enjoyed by the future generation, decades from now.
Check out the list of actors who have remained the most consistent for the longest period of time – without delivering a single outright flop at the box office.
Note: Only stars who are in the reckoning as bankable solo stars have been included in the list. Saif Ali Khan, Aditya Roy Kapur, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan and a few other miss out simply because they no longer command an initial.
1. Aamir Khan (17 years ago, Mela in January 2000) – It’s difficult to describe a phenomenon like Aamir Khan. More than the staggering collections of his films, what stands out is the consistency in quality. Aamir’s last flop was more than 17 years ago when Mela released in theatres and in that period he hasn’t given too many ‘bad’ films. Mangal Pandey didn’t do too well at the box office, but managed to recover its investment due to the bumper opening that it took. While many consider ‘Dhobi Ghat’ to be a failure, the film was profitable for its makers as it did reasonably well in India and performed very well overseas. It didn’t really belong to the commercial space either. ‘Talaash’ was the other Aamir Khan under-performer, but even that film got to a reasonably decent total for its genre and year of release (2012). Those three films apart, the most dependable superstar in the industry holds the record for the most number of all time blockbuster – Ghajini, 3 Idiots, Dhoom 3, PK and Dangal. He also has other major grossers like Lagaan, Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par. Quality films, box office opening, all-time highest grossers – Aamir is doing it all. During times when most careers don’t last half a decade, Aamir hasn’t faced outright rejection in the last 17 years!
2. Salman Khan (7 years ago, London Dreams in October 2009) – Back in those days in the mid-2000s when his films weren’t even getting a initial at the box office, even Salman himself wouldn’t have thought of reaching the heights that he has achieved in the last 7-8 years. Govinda had an interesting story to tell in one of his interviews recently, he said “I remember when Dabangg was about to release, the producers said it looked like a Bhojpuri film. They said they cannot put Rs 9 crore, they will put in Rs 5 crores. Salimsaab (Salman’s father) had to put Rs 4-5 crore more. Then the Dabangg song became a hit, but they called that also a Bhojupri song. Then Dabangg became Dabangg”. Those lines tell the story of a mass-superstar, who was always one of the most loved stars in the industry, but wasn’t doing films that appealed to his core fanbase. That core fan-base of Salman in smaller cities, towns and villages is several times bigger than the fan-following of any other star in the industry. While Dabangg was struggling to get finance of 4-5 crore less than a decade ago, the same star commands nearly 12 times just for the satellite rights of his films. Dabangg, however, was just the beginning of a spectacular run which has a huge list of blockbusters – Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg 2, Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan. Even a 200 crore grosser like Prem Ratan Dhan Payo looks like an under-performer when compared to his other films in recent times. Such is his stardom. The incredible run also includes 10 consecutive 100 crore grossers.
3. Varun Dhawan (No Flops in 4 years) – Varun who made his debut in ‘Student Of The Year’ doesn’t yet have a failure against his name. He completes 5 years in the industry this year and if both his 2017 films work, it’ll be arguably the best career-start the industry has ever seen. So far, all his films have been successful – Main Tera Hero (Hit), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (Super Hit), Badlapur (Hit), ABCD 2 (Super Hit), Dilwale (Semi Hit) and Dishoom (Above Average). More importantly, all his films have opened well too.
4. Arjun Kapoor (2 year ago, Tevar in January 2015) – After the failure of ‘Tevar’, Arjun returned last year with ‘Ki and Ka’ a film that opened above-expectations and went on to post a good lifetime total. He has a big film like ‘Half Girlfriend’ lined up for release, followed by ‘Mubarakan’ in the second half of 2017.
5. Sushant Singh Rajput (2 years ago, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi in April 2015): After the mega-debacle of Detective Byomkesh Bakshi, Sushant Singh Rajput has made a strong comeback with MS Dhoni The Untold Story. It’s about continuing the good work with ‘Raabta’ which is scheduled to hit theatres later this year. It’s also time to work hard, the PR games need to stop too. You can’t win Filmfare Awards or become the next Shah Rukh Khan through fake social media QnA’s and trying to portray a positive image through the media.
6. Akshay Kumar (2 years ago, Brothers in August 2015) – The rise after the failure of Brothers has made Akshay Kumar one of the most consistent stars in the industry. Airlift, Housefull 3, Rustom, Jolly LLB 2 have all been successful. What he now needs though is films to open bigger and put up bigger lifetime totals. For the number of films that he does every year, even if one or two of them go on to touch the 150 crore mark – he would be a serious contender for the third spot.
7. Shahid Kapoor (1 year ago, Shaandaar in October 2015) – Udta Punjab was a moderate success, but the important film for Shahid is going to be ‘Rangoon’ which releases in theatres this week. His choice of films has let him down, inspite of having all the talent that’s needed to become a quintessential Bollywood star. Currently, he isn’t even competing with actors who made their debuts a decade after him.
8. Ranbir Kapoor (1 year ago, Tamasha in November 2015) – Ranbir looked unstoppable after back-to-back successes in Rockstar, Barfi and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Then came Besharam from the director of Salman Khan’s Dabangg. It took a huge start at the box office recording nearly 20 cr on its opening day, but the crash was equally big. He followed it up with films like Roy, Tamasha and Bombay Velvet – the latter was the biggest loss-making film of all time. The success of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has put him back on track, with a big film like Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanjay Dutt biopic to look forward to.
9. Shah Rukh Khan (10 months ago, Fan in April 2016) – A superstar who deserves to be much higher up the list, simply because when it comes to consistency, he has always been ahead of everyone else in the industry. Unfortunately, even though the initial star-power remains as strong has it has ever been – his films are simply not performing after the first weekend. Happy New Year, Dilwale, Fan and Raees have all shown major drops after a very good weekend. This means, the neutral section of the audience isn’t coming to watch his films and for this to change, the quality of films has to improve. It’s still about that one big film, which could either be Imtiaz Ali or Aanand L Rai’s next. Food for thought: 3 Idiots, Robot (Tamil film), Bajrangi Bhaijaan were all first offered to SRK and he rejected the first two films for Ra One. Where would he be if he had opted to do those films?
10. Hrithik Roshan (6 months ago, Mohenjo Daro in August 2016) – It’s no secret now that Hrithik is going through a tough time. The concern lies in the level at which his films are opening and the weakness doesn’t actually lie in the box-office pull, but the quality of promos. However, even his rejected films like Mohenjo Daro managed to get to 60 crore and Kaabil inspite of being a small film managed to get to push itself through to 100 crore, inspite of clash. The number of films that he does has to increase.
11. Sidharth Malhotra (5 months back, Baar Baar Dekho in September 2016) – He began 2016 with a solid hit in the form of ‘Kapoor & Sons’, but his second film ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ inspite of having chartbuster music was rejected. He has ‘Reload’ and ‘Ittefaq’ in the second half of 2017.
12. Tiger Shroff (6 months ago, A Flying Jatt in August 2016): He began his career well with films like ‘Heropanti’ and ‘Baaghi’. But his last film ‘A Flying Jatt’ tanked at the box office. He returns with the director of his first two films, Shabbir Khan, for their third outing together in ‘Munna Michael’. But what sustains actors in the industry over a long period of time is variety in roles and films. It’s going to be even more important for Tiger, because most of his films have been in the same action space.
13. Emraan Hashmi (5 months ago, Raaz Reboot in September 2016) – Absolutely nothing seems to be working for Emraan Hashmi after he returned to doing films that made him successful in the first half of his career. The return to the Bhatt camp as well as doing the 4th film the Raaz franchise, have failed. He has a big film like ‘Baadshaho’ with the same team that made ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbai’.
14. Ajay Devgan (4 months ago, Shivaay in October 2016) – Shivaay was the bigger film in the clash against Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, it was expected to be a universal success as the first trailer had received a very good response. However, both the opening and trend were poor as distributors lost money over Shivaay.
15. Ranveer Singh (3 months ago, Befikre in December 2016) – Ranveer rose to be one of the promising young stars in the industry after the humongous success of ‘Bajirao Mastani’, a film that won him both awards and box office rewards. Unfortunately, the euphoria was short-lived as Aditya Chopra’s first directorial in 7 years, Befikre, was rejected by the audience.
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