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Is It The End Of The Road For Aamir As A Superstar?

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By: Navneet Mundhra | BENGALURU
Updated: August 20, 2022 13:32
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The thundering debacle of Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ has not only stunned the industry into silence but has also given his detractors the fodder to run him down. While his contemporaries – Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn – have copped bouts of troughs at different times, it is for the first time in the last 20 years that two successive movies of Aamir- ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ and ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ – have bit the dust.

The manner in which these films have tanked is also worrisome. Both of them have been resoundingly rejected by the audience with ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ being the biggest disaster of his career. While other actors do at least one or two movies every year and can quickly bounce back, Aamir takes at least two to three years to complete a film which makes it tougher for him to shed off stains of failures. Age is also no longer on his side. He’s 57 and has to be exceedingly prudent about the kind of roles he picks as every character might not suit him.

In 2000, at the age of 58, Amitabh Bachchan decided to change his career trajectory and started opting for substantial but parallel roles in films such as ‘Mohabbatein’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’. Bachchan was quick to grasp that his days as the leading man are over and he can no longer be the mainstay or showstopper of every film. In between, he got to play principal characters in movies such as ‘Black’ and ‘Baghban’ but he willingly started accepting side roles which prolonged his career manifold.

The choice before Aamir perhaps is not as clear-cut as it was for Bachchan in 2000. By 2000, Bachchan was clearly past his prime as a leading star after a string of flops. But in the case of Aamir, he still seems to have the ‘pulling power’ to remain the leading for a few more years before gracefully slipping into character roles. Two back-to-back disasters have certainly dented his box-office standing but even his biggest detractors are in no hurry to write him off.

So, what should be the way ahead for Aamir?

Taran Adarsh, the veteran trade analyst, told The New Indian Aamir’s bad choices have led to his undoing at the turnstiles but it is premature to write him off.

“The feverish media starts writing obituaries of stars after a couple of duds. But Aamir – along with Salman and SRK – have been ruling the roost for the last 30 years. These 3 are still the biggest crowd-pullers in India. I think Aamir’s poor choices have let him down. Both ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ and ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ were crummy films and that’s why they bombed badly. Their failure has affected Aamir’s standing but he is far from being washed-up,” he said.

 

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“Aamir has given us so many terrific movies. In ‘Dangal’, which released in 2016, he had played the role of an older man with laudable felicity. He has proven himself to be a versatile actor and will never hesitate to play characters of any age if he’s convinced about the script. This time he will not take a gap of four years to come up with a new release. I think he must opt for movies with universal appeal. He still has the firepower to continue as a leading man for a few more years,” Adarsh opined.

Vishek Chauhan, a prominent exhibitor, feels Aamir should stop taking himself so seriously and focus on making entertaining movies. “See, the pandemic period was the death-knell for the slice-of-life cinema which was Aamir’s forte. The audience likes to watch such films on OTT platforms now. It is time for Aamir to go back to the drawing board and reinvent himself. He should opt for high-octane commercial films such as ‘Ghajini’ and ‘Ishq’. Aamir used to do such movies which didn’t take themselves so seriously but thoroughly entertained the hoi polloi. He should be doing more such films now,” he stated.

 



“Aamir is a special actor. He became a superstar by establishing an intellectual connect with the audience. Unlike Salman and SRK, people never went bonkers over him but respected his wisdom and acting skills. All the other superstars – Salman, SRK and Bachchan – whipped up mass hysteria and frenzy because their stardom emanated from gargantuan personality cults. Aamir’s stardom stems from stellar content. Since ‘Thugs Of Hindostan’ and ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ lacked substance, which people had come to expect from his movies, they torpedoed unceremoniously,” Chauhan explained.

But Chauhan thinks Aamir’s days as the leading actor still aren’t over and his equity is intact. “Of course, he still has the equity among the audience. There is no need for him to slip into character roles at this stage. While churning out two flops is disappointing, he can still deliver as the lead actor. Even his clunker ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ took a bigger (relatively) initial than movies of younger stars such as Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Tiger Shroff and Ayushmann Khurana,” he signed off.

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