Who says the Indian entertainment industry is bolstered by nepotism? The track record during the last 60 years shows the outsider as the No.1 among the male superstars.
Rajesh Khanna for whom the term ‘superstar’ was invented had no connection whatsoever with the Hindi film industry when he stormed into the No.1 slot in 1969 with Aradhana followed by a slew of blockbusters which left the competition looking hopelessly inadequate .Among those actors whose careers suffered a massive setback due to the Khanna wave were the scions of Raj Kapoor’s empire , brothers Shammi and Shashi Kapoor.
This was the first occasion when nepotism in the Hindi film industry got a big jolt.Then came Amitabh Bachchan who replaced Rajesh Khanna. The Big B arrived in the film industry armed with no recommendation except a letter from Mrs Indira Gandhi which got him an early break in Sunil Dutt’s Reshma Aur Shera. After this, he was on his own,suffering a slew of flops until Prakash Mehra’s Zanjeer made Mr Bachchan the overnight No.1 of Hindi cinema.
Zanjeer changed a lot of lives. It turned around Salim-Javed’s careers, Amitabh Bachchan’s and Prakash Mehra’s careers. It redefined the screenplay for Hindi cinema. The comedy track was done away with, for once. The hero didn’t sing any song. He didn’t even smile in the film. At the time when it was being made all of what Salim-Javed thought to be USPs in their script were stumbling blocks.
So many heroes refused Zanjeer. Dharmendra was the first hero it went to. Dev Anand and Raj Kumar refused. Dilip Kumar Saab felt that it didn’t jell with the kind of films he was doing. He felt there wasn’t much room for a performance for the hero.
Zanjeer hurtled Amitabh Bachchan to the No.1 spot. After Rajesh Khanna, the Bachchan’s superstardom withheld any competition for thirty years.
“I never knew I would last this long. Before Zanjeer I had several flops. After Zanjeer my luck changed overnight. I went from strength to strength and now here I am,” says the Big B.
Significantly Shah Rukh Khan , the next in line for the No.1 slot was always ahead of the two other Khan superstars Aamir and Salman who were both star kids.
In an old interview with me Shah Rukh had said, “With due respects to Hrithik,Salman,Aamir and all my other colleagues when you talk Shah Rukh Khan you can’t touch this.I may be wrong.But that’s how I feel.People may think I’m being pompous .But I genuinely feel that I work very hard.And nobody messes around with me.From Motilal to my son Aryan,nobody can touch this.It’s so stupid,but every year since I came into films someone or the other is about to overtake me.When I came I was a nobody.In some ways I’m still a nobody.So overtaking me is no big deal.If you want to be successful you need to be yourself.The achievement is not in removing Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan.The achievement is in being Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Kan.I think the magazines that pitch one actor against another miss the point completely.There’s no need to remove one actor for another to succeed.For me Aamir Khan will always be a good actor.I don’t even want to be diplomatic by claiming there’s a place for everyone.No one takes my place.That’s what’s so unique about me.I guard my place very zealously and I’m proud of it.I can be no.27 or no. 1000.But there cannot be another Shah Rukh Khan. Honestly do you think there’s another Amitabh Bachchan or Rajesh Khanna.”
Kartik Aaryan faced some major setbacks like Akaash Vani, Kanchi The Unbreakable and Guest In London until Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety put him in the top slots.Now three years later Bhool Bhulaiya 2 has perched him at No.1 where he longed to be just a few weeks earlier. Before the release of Bhool Bhulaiya 2 he was among the top contenders. The stupendous success of Bhool Bhulaiya 2 has swept all competition aside. Kartik is being offered the sun and the moon and the stars.
It’s like he is living in a dream.
Director Luv Ranjan who put Kartik on the road to superstardom says he is proud of him. “Did I foresee this superstardom for Kartik? I would be lying if I said I did.Of course I knew he had the potential . But stardom so big? There were other two young debutants in Pyar Ka Punchnaama but fate chose Kartik. It is his good karma , lots of luck and hard work.”