Bollywood Super Heroes OLD IS GOLD

Bollywood has seen some of the most prolific actors and actresses of all times. Following India’s independence, the period from the late 1940s to the 1960s is regarded by film historians as the “Golden Age” of Hindi cinema. Some of the most critically acclaimed Hindi films of all time were produced during this period. Examples include the Guru Dutt films Pyaasa(1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), and the Raj Kapoor films Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955). These films received immense public acclaim and a major part of their success goes to the actors and actresses of that era. Decades have gone by, and in these decades some noteworthy films and some of the most talented and versatile actors have ensured that Bollywood productions earn name and fame around the world. Bollywood actors are very popular not only in India, but also beyond its boundaries. In fact, they are treated like demi-gods by their admiring fans. So much so that Bollywood stars are now in no way less than Hollywoodstars. And because of the increasing popularity of Hindi films, they are now widely recognised in Western countries too.
An important factor that has made Indian actors and actresses so popular is that Indian films are heavily star oriented. In earlier decades, actors and actresses made their debut in films at a very tender age and won acclaim for their performances at a relatively young age. Nowadays, this trend has changed substantially. If we look at the current pattern of Bollywood, the younger generation of male actors in particular find it very challenging to reach a pivotal position in the industry. Most of the top current male stars are above the age of forty and many are above thirty. Take, for instance, the perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan. He is one of the most popular and successful actors today and is also regarded as one of the most powerful actors. His performances and work have thrilled viewers and he has become a synonym for success. It is hard to hear of an Aamir Khan film or production flopping and his inclusion in any film works like magic.
Another name that comes to mind immediately is that of Salman Khan. His fan following is incredible and to his credit he is still considered, at age forty five, one of the most eligible bachelors. Many of his fans still regard him
as “the most glamorous star.” Shah Rukh Khan is yet another of the superstars who continue to reign supreme despite crossing age forty. Romantic movies in which he has generally starred with much younger actresses in the lead role have enhanced his crowd appeal. He is often described as “The King of Bollywood”. To his fans, he is “King Khan”. Anil Kapoor is now very selective about the films in which he wishes to star, but his iconic status remains not just intact but has recently brought him a very prestigious Hollywood role. Amitabh Bachchan, regarded as the ultimate super hero by many will soon be celebrating his seventieth birthday, but that has in no way affected his fan following. Ajay Devgn, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar are other names whose abilities have won them acclaim and established them as stars. Akshay Kumar is also credited with being a very versatile actor who started his career as an action hero, but has now become an actor who has done and can do all sorts of films.
However, when it comes to the younger crops of actors, they are still trying to make an indelible mark in Bollywood. Out of the younger lot of actors, perhaps only Ranbir Kapoor can be said to have achieved a degree of recognition which will ensure that he is around in Bollywood for quite some time to come. Shahid Kapoor made a good beginning in establishing himself, but after a few successes in the form of noticeable performances, he has not been able to attract popular adulation. Imran Khan too started his career on a high but has not yet reached a level where he can claim wide public acceptability as a star. Ranveer Singh has starred in a few good films, but can’t yet be considered a star. Sharman Joshi has so far tasted success chiefly in supporting roles.
When we compare the younger lot of Bollywood actors with the older lot, it is quite remarkable to find that the older generation are the stars who are consistently pulling in the crowds. The younger generation who should have the appeal of freshness and youth on their side, are lagging way behind. Will the present lot of young actors be able to match the evergreen star appeal of the older actors? And if so, when? Both these are intriguing questions.

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