Bollywood as an industry has always been riding on the concept of stardom. Every decade has seen the rise and fall of stars in the industry. While the industry has its own share of BIG STARS, not many in the past 60 years have attained the tag of being a Super-Star. While the trade in today’s time uses the word Superstar vaguely, there are very few who indeed have attained that level of fan following and stardom to bag the tag of being a Superstar.
The criteria used to find a place in the list over here is simple i.e. a culmination of two factors – Volume of Hit Films and magnitude of the success. While the list mentioned below does not discredit any actor, who doesn’t find a place in the list, taking numbers as a parameter, it merely highlights the people whose achievements in terms of success is a little more than the others in the industry.
Here’s a look at the seven people who deserve the Superstar tag: (Names Mentioned Below Alphabetically)
When we hear the term superstar, the first thing that comes to our mind is a large number of people gathering to get a glimpse of their stylish star. Aamir Khan is someone who doesn’t fit into the conventional image of a superstar. However, the actor over the years with his work has gained the reputation of being the most trusted brand in the industry. His films marry content driven and commercial cinema in a way that often sets the Box-Office on fire. The trust factor among the audience is so high that I have overheard the cine-going audience say “Aamir Khan Ki Film Hai, Achi Hi Hogi.”
In the last 9 years, Aamir Khan has delivered 5 All-Time Grossers in the form of Ghajini, 3 Idiots, Dhoom 3, PK and Dangal. In fact, he holds this unique record of delivering maximum All Time Grossers among all actors since the inception of Bollywood. While a lot of people often discredit Aamir Khan’s stardom stating that it is the content which has done the talking, it is essential to realize that Khan is someone who sits on the script for hours to make sure he doesn’t cheat the audience and no one is stopping other actors to do films that are high on content to win over the audiences time and again. Although Aamir Khan doesn’t have the volume in terms of hit films, the sheer magnitude of his success makes him a deserving candidate to be a part of this list.
Amitabh Bachchan is someone who has delivered a large volume of hit films and even his magnitude of success was unbelievable. The megastar in his career has been a part of 46 Hit films and 11 of them have proved to be blockbusters. Unlike Aamir Khan, who is a part of the list because of the high magnitude of success, Bachchan is someone who qualifies by matching both the criteria’s. Apart from successful films, the hysteria that Bachchan used to create by his mere appearance is unmatchable. The inside theatre reactions on entry sequences of Bachchan had to be witnessed to be believed.
Even at the age of 75, Amitabh Bachchan commands a solid fan following as you would see 100’s of people standing outside his bungalow in Juhu to get a glimpse of the star.
As mentioned by us in one of the earlier articles, Dharmendra is someone who never quite got the due from the media and trade since he took up a lot of B-Grade films in the later stage of his career. However, that amount of successful films that he has been a part of in his career spanning over 3 decades makes him a bonafide superstar. Just like Bachchan, even Dharmendra fulfils both the criteria for being a part of this list as the actor has been a part of approximately 49 Hit films, and 6 out of them have proved to be massive blockbusters.
Apart from the Box-Office numbers, the craze of Dharmendra in the northern belt of India has always been at a different level. Even when Bachchan was the top star of the industry, his films often used to fall short of the collections of Dharmendra films in Punjab and at times even Delhi. In the olden era, people in north were not fans, but devotees of Dharmendra.
Just like Aamir Khan, even Dilip Kumar was not a part of a huge volume of successful films, however, like the former, even Dilip Kumar delivered success of humongous magnitude. Another factor which qualifies him to this list is his consistency. The superstar commanded a solid success ratio of 65%, which means that he was a part of 37 successful films, out of which 24 were outright hits (A detailed article on hits and flops of Dilip Kumar will follow soon).
With 24 Hit Films and solid hold over the Box-Office for a long period of time, Dilip Kumar is indeed a deserving candidate for the superstar tag. He was, in fact, the first superstar of Bollywood, however back then the superstar tag was not introduced, and hence he wasn’t labelled as a superstar back then.
Salman Khan is the most complex Bollywood superstar of all time. Despite being surrounded by ample of controversies, he has managed to stand tall in this industry for over 3 decades. Salman has been a part of around 30 Hit films in his career till date and the count is expected to go above 35. Out of the 30 Hit films, 14 of them are massive blockbusters and Khan thereby qualifies to be a part of this list by meeting both the criteria’s.
If there is someone who has come close to the mass hysteria that fans used to create on the entry scenes of Amitabh Bachchan in the cinema hall, it is undoubtedly Salman Khan. While the superstar has had his own share of ups and downs, the current phase witnessed by Salman is probably the best-ever witnessed by any actor in Bollywood. In last 8 years, Khan has delivered 9 Blockbuster films in the form of Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg 2, Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai. The blockbuster count of Khan this decade is probably higher than the total blockbuster of 99% of the Bollywood stars, such has been the domination. Khan has always been one of the most bankable stars of the industry despite the low phase last decade due to poor choice of films.
Shah Rukh Khan
If there is one Bollywood superstar who has put the name of Bollywood on the global map, it has to be Shah Rukh Khan. The superstar can boast of something that no one apart from him can i.e. the pride of being the most recognized Bollywood star outside India. While the films of other actors from the industry work outside India owing to several factors such as content and packaging, the name Shah Rukh Khan is enough to get the NRI’s in the cinema hall.
His domination outside India aside, Shah Rukh Khan has been a part of 27 Hit Films in his career, and the count is expected to move above 30 by the end of his career. Like all others, even SRK qualifies both the criteria to be a part of this list i.e. he has delivered a large volume of hugely successful films. The best phase of Shah Rukh Khan’s career was the last decade where he consistently delivered hits and super-hits at regular intervals. In fact, Shah Rukh Khan had attained the tag of being the Mr. Consistent at the Box-Office. Although this decade hasn’t been as encouraging as the 90’s and 2000’s, Khan’s stardom has not taken a backseat as of now. Even in today’s time, his films are opening to good numbers, which defines stardom, however, the content is not supporting in the long run. It is just a matter of the right film that gets Khan back in action.
Rajesh Khanna is often referred to as the first superstar of Indian Cinema. While he may have only enjoyed a short period of five to six years as the reigning superstar, at his peak, Kaka enjoyed a cult following that is still every aspiring actor’s dream. Khanna holds the record of delivering 14 hit films in a span of 5 years, and the same stands unchallenged till date.
Rajesh Khanna was loved by viewers of all ages i.e. from 6 to 60. It is impossible to talk about his fan following without a mention to his appeal among the female viewers. His portrayal of a lover in variety of shades, helped him gain a lot of crazy female fans. Well, to put an end to the legacy of Rajesh Khanna, all I would like to say is that the term “Superstar” was invented in Bollywood after the success streak witnessed by Rajesh Khanna. The superstar has been a part of approximately 25 Hit films, and thereby finds a place in this list.
Apart from the above-mentioned superstars, another person who is touted as an under-rated superstar is Rajendra Kumar, however owing to lack of data available, we were not quite able to get exact statistics on his career graph. While making a list of top 10 superstars of all time would have been an ideal scenario, however they are a lot of contenders to fight for the last 3 position and there is not enough data available to analyse and come up with the list of top 10 greatest superstars of all time (In no particular order). While the top 7 stars would be the above-mentioned one in any order, to give a rough idea, spot number 8, 9 and 10 would be occupied by any 3 of the following: Rajendra Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Dev Anand, Mithun Chakraborty, and Shammi Kapoor. Even Hrithik Roshan was in a contention to be a part of top 10 all-time superstars, however, this decade wasn’t quite promising for him. The coming few years will decide if he can find a place in the top 10 list or no, as he already has the magnitude, but falls very short in terms of volume.
Who is the biggest superstar of Bollywood? Do let us know