Is this end of Khan triumvirate kingdom in B’wood?
2018 has been a very unique year In a lot of ways, this has been an interesting year for those who can understand the historical churns of Bollywood...
2018 has been a very unique year. In a lot of ways, this has been an interesting year for those who can understand the historical churns of Bollywood. Somewhere in the late 80s, the violence genre ruled by Amitabh and other names like Dharmendra and Mithun gave way to the new age of fun films and romance. The three Khans started from 1987 to 1992 and since then all three have only built their fan base with one hit after the other.
2018, therefore, has been unique the three Khans who once had movies which felt like fresh new air or now part of the stale old order which is refusing to change or so it seems. The Ayushmans and Rajkumarraos have served warning notices with content-rich cinema which has held its own against big names like ‘Race 3’, ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ and ‘Zero’. In fact, the Khans now look ironically struck in a larger than life image which was the case when they came knocking the doors in the 1980s with the older superstars then.
The third part of why 2018 actually is a very big manifestation of the kingdom ending is in the fact that never before have all three Khans failed together. In fact, most of the times it was two of them succeeding and one not doing so well. If we were to dissect the situation further, then the weakest on box office today is the man who once could do nothing wrong at the box office – Shah Rukh Khan. Post ‘Happy New Year’, which came almost five years ago, none of his films have done very well in India. Yes, his fans and supporters will point out that his overseas collections and therefore worldwide collections still make his movies money spinners but with the last two outings like ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ and ‘Zero’ even overseas audiences seem to be deserting the auditoriums.
Salman has been in a one-hit-one-flop mode for a long time now. However, given the way ‘Race 3’ has bombed it is clear that he will have to be very careful and on his toes with his next one. The audiences have given a stern message that image and hype won’t work anymore.
Aamir, in fact, has the strongest ground amongst the three Khans. However, the way ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ went down, in fact, its numbers actually sank on the opening Sunday which is extremely shocking. This movie was the first collaboration of Amitabh and Aamir and the fact that why this movie has been the disappointment of the year and the biggest damage it did was to the perfectionist image of the content-rich Khan.
Does this, therefore, mean that the Khan rule is coming to an end? The answer is difficult to arrive at. In some sense, the answer is yes. The audiences are no longer willing to get fooled by formulae struck offering of the Khans. In Salman’s case, his logic-defying films have been crashing ‘Race 3’ was a colossal failure. In SRK’s case, the audiences are now summarily rejecting his repeated forced romantic avatars. Aamir to that extent did not have an image but it will take some effort to undo the damage of ‘Thugs…’.
In some ways the answer to the above question is ‘No’ too because the initial audiences are still guaranteed when these three are in a movie but here is the warning, for a long time Amitabh supporters gave this argument when his fortune as a superstar showed decline post-1988. That initial generating audience for Amitabh disappeared sooner than later.
Again, in the example of Amitabh is the biggest hope for Khans. Amitabh quickly repositioned himself. He was willing to share the limelight with younger stars. Post ‘Mohabbatein’ in fact this strategy of competing with younger stars made Amitabh look better richer and far more dignified. And the cult of Amitabh grew further.
The Khans could do that, let’s face it all three of them are above 50 now. However, hard they try some roles will go out of their range now. The key is to look further ahead and move to better new content. Repeating and hoping that days of a ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ or ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ or ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ will return will be suicidal for the Khans.
In any case, the audiences have sounded the warning bells more than once for all of them. The kingdom will surely change, it will no longer look like the way it has been for the Khans. Having known them for so long looks like they will survive but only if the changing audience trend is respected by them.