The New Aamir Khan: How Akshay Kumar is slowly but steadily dethroning the 'thinking Khan'
Christmas of 2020, expect to see Aamir at the movies. But alongside, there will be Akshay Kumar. And there's more to the box office clash than meets the eye!
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When Bollywood's A-listers sat down to divide public holidays and festivals on which to release their films, Salman Khan claimed Eid, Shah Rukh Khan got Diwali and Aamir Khan was handed Christmas. Akshay Kumar joined the party a little late — they had run out of festivals by then. He, quite fairly, was thus allocated Republic Day and Independence Day, two prime public holidays in the country.
And the business of cinema continued peacefully.
Film producers and distributors will tell you why they prefer to release films on special days — it means better business and more profit. “Expect a family to buy 3-4 tickets on an average during this time, if not more. Then if your extended family is visiting, expect that number to go up to 10-12 tickets even. That right there is almost five times the business,” said Siddharth Bhardwaj of UFO Moviez.
This model — the division of dates — ensures there are fewer clashes. After all, nobody wants a big film to clash with another at the box office and eat into each other’s market. That is also why you see entertainment portals and dailies endlessly reporting clashes, if they were to occur, despite this foolproof setup. And Christmas 2020 happens to be one such occurance — with Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar now locking horns.
Akshay took to Twitter to release the first look of his Bachchan Panday — a moustachioed Akshay, standing shirtless with a black dhoti enticingly wrapped around his waist, thick gold chains around his neck contrasted against his bronzed, ripped abs, a tilak smeared across his forehead and nunchucks in hand.
On the other hand, Aamir had revealed on his birthday in March that he will release Laal Singh Chaddha, reportedly a remake of Forrest Gump, on Christmas 2020.
We still have a year and a half till this clash actually happens — and actors in the past have changed their film’s release dates to avoid a loss of profit. Aamir and Akshay could do the same too.
Yet, this announcement points at something deeper — that Akshay Kumar is, slowly but steadily, dethroning Aamir Khan.
Amir Khan is known for content-driven, acting-based cinema. And no, you should not judge him based on the debacle called Thugs Of Hindostan. He is the thinking actor — the only Khan in this respect — who appeals to the Netflix-watching urban audience of today. And Aamir has worked hard to earn that, to carve a niche for himself, reinventing himself over and over again, just so he can stay relevant with the ever-changing audience base. His films are entertaining but with a social message.
Off-screen too, Aamir has a similar persona, thanks to Satyamev Jayate and his philanthropic ventures.
But Akshay is catching up quickly.
Next Christmas: Who will win the year-ender crown? (Photo: Bachchan Pandey and PK poster/Twitter)
Let’s not look at Akshay’s films as simply nationalistic tales for a moment — they are not just that. His movies have a social message too that goes beyond any party, whether or not at the centre. He appeals to the masses both by making them laugh and hitting hard wherever required. He experiments just as much as Aamir — doing away with his once carefully-crafted 'Khiladi' avatar to make way for the serious, sombre guy we see on screen today is just one example.
And now, he takes Christmas.
No, it's not about a single date — it is about the space that once Aamir dominated, that now seems to be slipping away from his grip — into Akshay's.
It is definitely time for Aamir to, therefore, reinvent himself again.
For the audience, however, it's going to be a Merry Christmas indeed!