With Gully Boy, Ranveer Singh has delivered a hat-trick. His previous movies, both released in 2018, Simmba and Padmaavat, were blockbuster hits. While it has only been five days since his latest release, Gully Boy is likely to follow the same route considering its box office earnings so far. So, is it the dawn of a new era? An era that has the Khans in the mix, but not in the frontlines as was the case in the preceding decades.
The Khans - Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir - were all anyone would talk about in the 90s. With hit after hit such as Saajan, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Karan Arjun, Judwaa, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Baazigar, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Darr, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Yes Boss, Dil To Pagal Hai, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, Rangeela, Raja Hindustani, Ghulam and Sarfarosh, the Khans bought a new order to the Hindi film industry. Since then, there have been other stars but none have quite dislodged the Khans from their stronghold.
However, last year saw three of the biggest movies by the Khans sink without a trace. Salman Khan's Race 3 that started strong but crashed in the following couple of days after negative word of mouth pushed the movie out of the theatres, Shah Rukh Khan's Zero that garnered no attention at all and Aamir Khan's Thugs of Hindostan that registered the highest opening collection of a Hindi movie but then met a grisly fate soon after, indicated a change in the winds. More than the dismal collections and poor reviews, these movies witnessed limited conversations around them, which might have proved fatal for their collections.
While these movies were reduced to dust, Ranveer Singh saw an exceptionally great year. He started off the year with Padmaavat that initially courted a lot of controversy but went on to become one of the biggest movies of the year. Ranveer Singh, who played the negative character of Alauddin Khilji obsessed with Rani Padmavati, was unanimously praised for his portrayal of the invader. To help matters, Padmaavat went on to make close to Rs 600 crore worldwide.
Ranveer Singh wrapped up the year with the last big release of 2018 - Simmba. It was anticipated that the Rohit Shetty movie would perform as well as his previous movies, all of which were part of Rs 100-crore club. However, Simmba performed better than expected and became the director's biggest hit, surpassing Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Chennai Express. While it received mixed reviews, Simmba went on to make approximately Rs 400 crore worldwide.
Gully Boy, Singh's latest offering with co-star Alia Bhatt, is likely to join the ranks of Padmaavat and Simmba. In five days, Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy's box office collection was more than Rs 80 crore in India and Rs 34 crore outside the country.
Padmaavat, Simmba and Gully Boy were widely discussed. There was enough curiosity and interest around the films before the release, which ensured their longevity.
The timing of Ranveer Singh's rise to superstardom could not be any better, seeing as the Khans' stronghold is waning.
In the times of social media, only box office collections do not make a star. And Ranveer Singh's social media presence is second to none. His interaction with fans as well as his heroes makes him unlike a star. To top it all, he has the ability to turn heads with his unique sartorial choices. Quite frankly, there has been no superstar who can rock a skirt and kohl-rimmed eyes with such aplomb. The actor can also rap like it is nobody's business.
Not only is Ranveer Singh perhaps the next superstar, he is definitely the most unusual one. Or perhaps, he just resonates more with today's youth than the Khans do.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)