THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL

The Khans still rule, but it’s the ladies who showed how far Bol­ly­wood has trav­elled

India Today - - SOCIAL - By Suhani Singh

AAMIR KHAN PRO­DUCED and starred in sports drama

Dan­gal which over­came de­mon­eti­sa­tion woes to be­come Hindi cinema’s big­gest ever hit. Yet, Mr Per­fec­tion­ist Khan has a ways to go be­fore he be­comes the most pop­u­lar one. That po­si­tion is still held by Sal­man ‘Bhai’ Khan. Shah Rukh Khan has kept him­self in con­tention, though his star has lost some of its sheen with some ‘dis­ap­point­ing’ shows (which in film par­lance means his movies are no longer crack­ing the Rs 100 crore club). But then, the ac­tor has lately demon­strated a pro­cliv­ity for less-for­mu­laic cinema (Fan) and isn’t in­se­cure about tak­ing the back­seat

(Dear Zindagi) for a change. The 51-year-old trio is still ahead of much-younger peers like Ran­veer Singh and Ran­bir Kapoor, but their tough­est com­pe­ti­tion is Ak­shay Ku­mar, who is the hero of the hour with films doused in pa­tri­otic fer­vour (Air­lift and Rus­tom). In­dia’s movie-going au­di­ence isn’t just root­ing for the top dogs; they like the un­der­dogs too as is ev­i­dent with the pres­ence of Nawazud­din Sid­diqui on the list, after hav­ing two solo re­leases in

Freaky Ali and Ra­man Raghav 2.0. On the hero­ine front, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra were the desi girls who went pardesi, spend­ing 2016 build­ing ca­reers in the US. Padukone shot her Hollywood de­but xXx: Re­turn of

Xander Cage; Chopra was busy with sea­son two of Quan­tico and the movie adap­ta­tion of pop­u­lar TV se­ries Baywatch. The box of­fice queen of 2016, though, was Anushka Sharma with Sul­tan and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil cu­mu­la­tively earn­ing Rs 400-plus crore in In­dia. Lastly, the en­ter­tain­ment story of 2016 has been the rise of 23-year-old Alia Bhatt. The young ac­tor may not know the who’s who of the na­tion but when it comes to her craft she has it all fig­ured out . With a stel­lar per­for­mance as a Bi­hari mi­grant who is sex­u­ally abused and ad­dicted to heroin in Udta Pun­jab, Bhatt is the bona fide hero­ine to watch out for.

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