The Last of Stars

In the late 80’s and90’s the stars that ruled for decades seemed to be fading. With the sad transition of content from the angry young man and the entertaining, poetic and impeccable writing of Saim Javed to remakes of commercial Tamil, Telugu cinema and movies that lacked any impact. In this sad degradation of storylines and new decade emerged, marking the entry of a new generation of actors whom many did not envision, could take the baton to become the stars for Hindi cinema.

The likes of Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan were ruling the film industry and each person standing out in specific genres. Shah Rukh Khan transitioned from being an antihero to a romantic hero, Salman would dabble in both family films and romance. Aamir Khan would experiment the most in this decade from coming of age films, comedies, intense dramas and romance. Ajay and Akshay Kumar mostly excelled in the action genre.

It was abundantly clear that the new generation of actors were here to stay and each person had sowed the seeds in establishing a loyal fan base that would follow them for years ahead. This is the age where the stars were inaccessible and insight into their lives was mostly through media portals, the rare interviews they gave and film magazines. A daily insight into their lives was impossible and this kept the mystery of their real personalities and consequently genuine excitement for their films to come out.

By late 90s and early 2000s, Shah Rukh Khan literally had become a global icon with his romantic film.  Salman Khan with his stints with Suraj Barjatiya and Sanjay Leela Bhansali also excelled. Aamir Khan brought Hindi cinema to a global map with Lagaan in changing the perception of Hindi cinema by taking up scripts that were forward thinking and progressive. Ajay Devgan experimented the most by dabbing into the Indie space while still making his mark with commercial films. Akshay Kumar’s transitioned from action to the comedy genre in full swing. What stands out about this generation of stars is that many people have come and gone, have had spurts of impact with films but the longevity of these stars is unmatched. The only actor that one can think of from the same generation or later who have had a similar and profound impact is Hrithik Roshan.

Hrithik Roshan had become an overnight success with his debut film and is still by many considered to be the last of the stars from Bollywood because no one can remember the fandom of a debut ever being replicated even after more than 20 years.  The new generation of actors like Abhishek Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan were launched in the mid 2000s and did sporadically well with their stint of films.

By the mid of 2000s, Ranbir Kapoor and Ranbir Singh emerged as presumably the ones who would become the new generation stars, the actors that will grow to exponential superstardom. So much so, that the audience would actually look forward to their films more than the legends from the 90s. But this stark transition never happened as the Khan’s, Kumar, Roshan and Devgun were still the big releases to look forward to. Even with the emergence of actors like Alia, Varun, Siddhartha, Aditya, Ishaan, Janvi post mid 2010s there hasn’t been anything close to the hysteria and aura that the previous generation possessed.

You can chime in on the same on why you think the current generation of actors have not become bona fide stars with the hysteria that surrounded others previously.

Is it because of a shift of media?

Is it because of the saturation of their appearances?

Is it because of the accessibility of the stars?

Is it because of the dissemination of information and the aura and mysticism vanishing?

There are many cases that can be considered. While I would like to believe that Ranbir Kapoor,  Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor are all stars but the truth is that the subject matter of their films are the priority for even loyal film fans. And they’re pulled just through their presence is not as mighty as one would presume.

The tip off in the end of Pathaan and the sheer success of it also tells you that 90s stars are here to stay.

And the age old question of;

Has their shine faded?

It is only temporary.

The goodwill that they have established over many years is far too impactful for them to be replaceable even as they reach their late 50s today.

Had there been no cinema, then this SharmaJiKaLadka would have died long ago. Out of food, sex and cinema this guy would always choose Cinema even if he would die virgin due to starvation.
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