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Opinion: Is Ranbir Kapoor The Next Superstar After Shah Rukh Khan? Read On


New Delhi: Who is a superstar? According to Webster’s dictionary, it is defined as a person from movies or sports who is considered extremely talented, has a great public appeal, and usually commands a high salary. 

However, in the Indian context, the definition and context have constantly shifted as the once elusive star now becomes easily accessible, thanks to the growing influence of social media. Beyond the carefully curated image, their worth depends on the constantly shifting yet omnipresent power of the box office.

“In the Indian context, superstardom has always represented a cultural phenomenon that has gone beyond an actor’s film successes. While the term ‘superstar’ was coined for Rajesh Khanna in the 1970s,  the concept of superstars had existed long before him. From Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, and Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, the allure of each superstar has transcended the screen. These icons have not only dominated pop culture but have also become cultural symbols, influencing aspirations, and fashion, shaping social discussions, and commanding extensive media attention. In the present scenario, can define a Bollywood superstar succinctly in one way: A star whose mere presence reliably ensures a blockbuster opening in THEATRES — consistently. Stardom, I believe, transcends rational explanation; it exists beyond the confines of logic,” says author and film critic Yasser Usman. 

Shahrukh Khan’s 2023 blitzkrieg proved that he was indeed the Badshaah of screens, as he delivered the biggest hits in Pathaan and Jawan. The King despite a four-year hiatus and a string of flops, proved that he was far from being written off. The box office collections of both his films created a new benchmark and remain unmatched.

So is Shahrukh Khan the last superstar of Bollywood, many pondered? However, film and trade experts say that in a rapidly changing scenario and a market-driven industry, the concept of stardom too has changed.

The last decade has thrown up several names from Ranbir Kapoor to Ranveer Singh, Kartik Aaryan and Vicky Kushal. But the contest according to trade pundits begins and ends with Ranbir Kapoor. The actor has not only proved his mettle and range as an actor in diverse narratives from Rockstar to Barfi, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Tamasha and Sanju. But is also willing to take risks for his craft. He decided to devote five years to the making of supernatural Brahamastra, many called it a professional risk. The gamble paid off, and the film which was one of the first to release in theatres post-pandemic made 431 crores, its success was followed by the rom-com” Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar ”  made a little over 177 crores. But he hit the ball out of the park with his latest “Animal”. Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s directorial which was panned by many for being toxic and misogynistic narrative, made over 500 crores.

“Ranbir Kapoor is the superstar of the generation An actor who can constantly deliver big openers of over 250 crores and has delivered 3-4 Big Blockbusters in his career can be called a superstar is Ranbir who has done this and before him, it was Hrithik Roshan”, says Sumit Kadel.

 

The non-PR savvy Ranbir Kapoor, who unlike his contemporaries is not found on any social media account, had even admitted that he would take a break post Animal. His reasons being it was time to recalibrate and understand the industry which is undergoing its shift”.

But, no sooner did Animal hit bullseye, it seemed all those who had once penned career obituaries for the actor do a double take, while some had an I told you so moment. His wife Alia Bhatt and sister Kareena Kapoor Khan both admitted Ranbir remained nonchalant with success or failure.

 A sequel to Animal, called Animal Park is in the works, as well as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next Love And War, which stars him opposite wife Alia and Sanju co-star Vicky Kaushal. The grapevine is also abuzz that he would be in Nitish Tiwari’s Ramayan as well.

On the other hand, Ranveer Singh has had mega-blockbusters in Padmavat and Simbaa to his credit. Faced with a dry spell, he expressed his disappointment when ’83 the film, even though it made over 100 crores was called out a flop. Despite the failures of Jayeshbhai Jordan and Circkus, the actor returned with a blockbuster hit with Karan Johar’s Rocky our Rani Ki Prem Kahani. He is all set to reprise Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic Don, in the franchise taking over from SRK.”He needs to consistently maintain this with consecutive hits making over 200 crores plus, he will truly be the superstar,’ says film criticJoginder Tuteja.

So as the box office plays ringmaster in the battle of who is the crorepati of the screens, its true stardom is indeed ephemeral. As they say, stars stay they never fade, it is just sometimes they shine bright, sometimes less, which is true in Bollywood’s constantly sifting sands. 



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