It's been quite a long journey for Bollywood. In its 100 years of spreading the cinematic magic, it has witnessed it all. The scandals, the controversial gossip, the much heated debate about promoting nepotism and what not!
But one would undoubtedly agree that despite many flaws, Bollywood still rules the hearts of Indians and millions of fans across the world.
However, the real question is who exactly rules Bollywood? Is it the Khans or the non-Khan megastar: Akshay Kumar?
Unlike the Khans who release at the most one film a year or the likes of Aamir who probably does a film once in two years, Akshay does 4-5 films a year, all of which in the recent past have been huge hits (Baby, Airlift, Housefull 3, Rustom and Jolly LLB 2), thereby making him a star who generates high returns from an industry perspective.
But is he really more bankable then the Mr. Perfectionist or the Dabang Khan? Let's find out what the numbers say.
If we look at the statistics of last three years, in 2015, Salman Khan met his fans twice on the big screen. With Bajrangi Bhaijaan, he took the box office by storm.
The movie which released on EID did a massive business of Rs 102.60 crore in its first weekend. Bajrangi Bhaijaan impressed the critics and Salman Khan fans alike.
The movie became the biggest blockbuster for Salman, raking in Rs 626 crores worldwide (including Rs 433 crore in India). In fact, Bajrangi Bhaijaan established new records to achieve, the film took just 9 days to earn around Rs 200 crore from its domestic box office run.
His second film in the same year was Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, which also, very easily eneterd the 100 crore club. Suraj Barjatya and Salman's reunion worked amazingly well for the box office. The film was a Diwali release and garnered around Rs 400 crore worldwide.
Meanwhile, Aamir Khan did not come with any release that year. However, Akshay Kumar made his presence count. Akshay came up with four films that year, that helped him match Khans at the box office.
In 2015, Akshay Kumar hit the big screen with Baby - a low budget film that earned the word-of-mouth mouth publicity among the audience, and impressed critics too. His other releases were Brothers, Gabbar is Back and Singh is Bliing.
Following are the lifetimne collection of Akshay's releases in 2015
- Baby: Inspite of the rave reviews, the film managed to earn Rs 96 crore.
- Gabbar is Back: The film failed to impress the experts but audience showered their love on Kumar. The movie earned Rs 88 Crore in India and at international screens it earned Rs 15 crore. Its total lifetime collection stands at Rs 103 crore.
- Brothers: The film tanked at the box office. The film wreleasd on 3450 screens under the banner of Dharma Productions. With an opening of Rs 15 crore, the film has a lifetime collection of Rs 106 crore.
- Singh is Bliing: With a romcom, Akshay hit the screens again and did not disappoint his fans. The film became the biggest hit of 2015 for Kumar. It did a total business of Rs 117 crore.
Salman Khan: With a massive opening on the first two days with Rs 73.74 crores, Salman Khan-starrer Sultan, created a storm at the box office.
The film became Bollywood's sixth highest hit ever on the international box office after Dhoom 3 (Rs 542 crore), Baahubali (Rs 600 crore), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Rs 626 crore) and PK (Rs 792 crore).
With a budget of 90 crore, in just 12 days of its release, the film earned more than Rs 500 crore worldwide.
Aamir Khan: The only film with which Aamir Khan released was Dangal , and that till today is creating headlines! The movie is a biopic of the former Indian wrestler Mahavir Phogat who trains his daughters to become world-class wrestlers -- a story which resonated well with the Indian audience, generating over Rs 385 crore ticket sales upon its release.
Dangal has collected Rs 1864 crore in worldwide collections and is rapidly moving close to the Rs 2,000-crore collection mark.
It earned around Rs 511 crore in India. Aamir Khan's PK had earned around Rs 350 crore at the Indian box office.
In April, Aamir and Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari were in China to promote the film, which officially opened this year's edition of the Beijing International Film Festival.
ALSO READ: Aamir Khan's Dangal may easily scale new records beyond Rs 2,000-crore box office collection mark. Here's why
In China, which has nearly 40,000 screens, Dangal released as Shuai Jiao Baba, which means "Let's Wrestle, Dad".
Akshay Kumar: As the two Khans were creating Tsunami with their movie collections, Akshay Kumar in 2016, came up with three releases. He started his year with Airlift.
Based on the real-life conflict and bloodshed that took place 25 years ago in Kuwait, Akshay Kumar's Airlift collected amount worth of Rs 127.8 crore. The film got applauded by not just the audience but received thumbs up from the critics as well. The overall budget of the film was just Rs 30 crore.
After Airlift, he was seen in multistarrer Housefull 3, with around 150 crore of lifetime collections, the film was Akshay Kumar's second consecutive 100 crore grosser after Airlift.
Despite being a hit, Housefull 3 was a disappointment as the movie didn't perform well in single screens and mass centres.
The movie, however, was Akshay Kumar's fifth highest grosser after Rowdy Rathore, Airlift, Holiday and Housefull 2.
Akshay's third 2016 release was Rustom. After donning a role of Ranjiv Katyal in Airlift, Akshay Kumar in his next flick acted as a navy officer, Rustom Powri. Made in a budget of Rs 40 crore, it failed to win appreciation from the experts but managed to enter into Bollywood's big '100-crore club'. The movie did a total business of Rs 127.13 crore.
As we are halfway through 2017, let's discuss the current year as well.
Salman Khan's much-awaited film Tubelight hit the screens last month, as the Kabir Khan and Salman duo was expecting a repeat of Bajrangi Bhaaijan, the film fizzled out at the box office.
According to Box Office India report, Tubelight had a huge drop in collections in its second weekend as it grossed Rs 7.50 crore net and took its 10-day business to Rs 110 crore net.
The report also said that the film would probably be out of most theatres in two weeks and was likely to stay short of the Rs 120 crore net mark with final business probably falling in Rs 115-116 crore net range.
As 2017 is yet to witness an Aamir Khan film, with Jolly LLB 2 and Naam Shabaana, Akshay Kumar has already marked his presence in the theatres.
Jolly LLB 2 entertained the masses in February. So far, it has turned out to be one of the biggest hits of 2017. Akshay Kumar who believes in completing a film in 40-45 days has apparently opted for 80% profit sharing ratio in Jolly LLB 2's collection, according to a report published in Bollywood Hungama.
The film has collected Rs 114.47crore. However, the final amount stands at Rs 111.95 crore after cutting all costs.
His another film, Naam Shabana was a prequel to 2015 hit film, Baby. It earned 18.76 crores in the first weekend. But after that, it failed to sustain at the box office. The movie's lifetime collection, according to some media reports are said to be around Rs 56 crore.
The budget of Naam Shabana was too high for a film with no big stars. Probably the makers were confident that the prequel factor and Akshay Kumar's cameo will give a big boost to the movie but, that didn't happen.
Akshay is now coming up with his third film, Toilet-Ek Prem Katha which is reportedly due for release on August 11. As the movie is already creating buzz over its concept, which promotes Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious Clean India Programe, trade experts have sky high expectations from it.
As the numbers speak, Akshay with 4-5 releases every year is certainly a 'play-safe' bet for the directors, however, Dangal with a worldwide whopping collection of 1,869 crore has clearly made Aamir Khan the king of box office.