Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Aamir Is the King Khan

Aamir Khan’s recent successes as director and producer have catapulted him to the number one spot in the industry, reports ANIRUDDHA GUHA

Amir Khan, clearly, has emerged as the biggest brand in the film industry today. Although his popularity has been consistent over the last two decades, his recent work behind the camera and the quality of films produced under his banner — Lagaan, Taare Zameen Par and Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na — have made him the most powerful brand in the industry today.

“He makes his directorial debut with a film about a dyslexic kid and delivers a blockbuster. Then a film with new faces and director gets off to a phenomenal start, solely because Aamir’s name as producer is attached to it,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, who believes that Aamir is number one in the industry today.

Although Aamir tops the power chart in the overall scheme of things, Shah Rukh Khan continues to rule the roost when it comes to the actors.

“Shah Rukh is undoubtedly the biggest star. His pull overseas and even among Indian audiences is astounding,” says trade expert Komal Nahta. Aamir and Shah Rukh have, in fact, been having a close contest for the number one spot in the actor’s space for years now. But Aamir’s unwillingness to play to the gallery (he refuses to attend award functions and has been media shy, until recently) and Shah Rukh’s popularity in the overseas market have ensured SRK assuming the top spot, till now.

Another strong contender in the ‘popularity contest’ is Akshay Kumar. “Akshay has proven that he has sustaining power. His string of hits has established him as a star who is proving to be tough competition for the two Khans,” says film critic Indu Mirani. In fact, Akshay has raced ahead of Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and even Amitabh Bachchan, the veteran coming in only at the sixth spot on the power list.

Among the female actors, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan finally gives way to Kareena Kapoor. India’s only true international star has had the going tough in both the Indian and foreign markets, and even her teaming up with other Bachchan family members failed to make Sarkar Raj work. However, she is nowhere out of the running yet.

On the other hand, the success and awards the Kapoor girl won for Jab We Met has made her hot property among the big banners, and number one on the female actors’ list.

You would think that Yash Raj Films would be the worst hit after the past two years’ dismal performance. The production house has taken a severe beating with a string of flops like Neal ‘n’ Nikki, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Tashan and Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic lately. However, the brand continues to be the number one production house in the country, and with scion Aditya Chopra taking the directorial baton with the Shah Rukh starrer Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, which releases later this year, things may look up.

But with Aamir Khan Productions and UTV Motion Pictures close on their heels, Yash Raj need to pull up their socks big time.

Karan Johar, or KJo as he is known, assumes the number one position in the directors’ list. His last release Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna garnered big numbers overseas. Now, with Johar reportedly teaming up with Shah Rukh and Kajol once again for My Name Is Khan, more fireworks can be expected.

Abbas Tyrewala finds himself topping the writers’ list. The best music director list is topped by, no surprises there, AR Rahman. The maestro continues to enthrall listeners with scores as varied as the ones in Jodhaa Akbar and Jaane Tu... Sonu Nigam tops the singers list.

For the moment though, we would like to raise a toast to the Numero Uno — who is at number two in the actors and producers list and at number four as director, the all-rounder — Aamir Khan.

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