Who Will Reign Supreme As Bollywood’s Next Superstar?

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Cut to 2013: Which of the younger stars in Bollywood has got what it takes, to be crowned Bollywood's next superstar?
Cut to 2013: Which of the younger stars in Bollywood has got what it takes, to be crowned Bollywood's next superstar?

Since the early 1990’s, Bollywood’s top brass has been crowned, and has steadily held their positions at the top of the heap.

Be it a young Shah Rukh Khan, who charmed his way into millions of hearts with his inimitable dimpled smile or his boundless energy; an adolescent Salman Khan, whose earlier films saw him as the quintessential do-gooder lover boy (‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ and ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun!!’ anyone?); or the youthful chocolate-boy appeal of a boyish Aamir, cycling his way to glory in ‘Jo Jeeta Woh Sikander’ or furiously romancing an even younger Juhi Chawla in ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’; the names that have ruled the roost in Bollywood have done so for more than two decades.

Cut to the present day: the Khan triumvirate of Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir is still at the zenith of success and superstardom. Though well past their 40’s, these bona fide superstars show no sign of slowing down. It is but common knowledge that an SRK, Salman or Aamir Khan Friday commands the biggest buzz and sees the highest numbers at the ticketing windows.

Somewhere along the way, actors like Ajay Devgn (who took the comedy route to establish his status as a superstar; and then went the old-fashioned action-hero way to maintain his superstardom), Akshay Kumar (synonymous with the tag of ‘Khiladi’ for the many superhits he delivered under the ‘Khiladi’ tag; and who has also been appreciated for his comic timing in several films) and Hrithik Roshan (who entered Bollywood armed with a dream debut; but a successive string of flops later, completely reinvented himself in ‘Dhoom 2’, to turn into Bollywood’s resident Greek God, and India’s answer to Hollywood biggies like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt) all picked up the tags of superstars and box office Baadshahs in their own right.

Nevertheless, the top 5-7 names in Bollywood have been on rotation among the top filmmakers, who continue to beat each other in making bigger films which gross more and more moolah at the box office. The Khans, Kumars, Roshans and Devgns have come to symbolise all that is bold and beautiful; and, needless to say, profitable in Bollywood.

But here’s a question which begs to be asked: Who Next?

Of the current lot, the stars that have shown the most promise in the past few years are the most likely names, thrown into the ring to contend with the big boys.

Ranbir Kapoor, of impeccable lineage and veritable film pedigree, looks poised to take over the mantle of ‘Bollywood’s Next Superstar’, with an impressive display of acting prowess in films like ‘Rockstar’, ‘Wake Up Sid’, and most recently: ‘Barfi!’, to say nothing of his popularity among audiences of all ages, shapes and sizes.

Shahid Kapoor too appears to be a top contender for the crown, with an impressive filmography of varied roles. The raring young star, despite having powerful performances with films like ‘Kaminey’ and ‘Jab We Met’ is sadly yet to receive his due; but he can’t be written off just yet either, thanks to his tremendous potential. And then there’s Imran Khan, who might prove to be the dark horse, the proverbial ‘lambi race ka ghoda’, whose choice of offbeat roles (‘Delhi Belly’ and ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ come instantly to mind) and ‘hatke’ acting talent differentiate him from your everyday Hindi film hero.

Young guns like Arjun Kapoor (also of a pedigreed filmi family, with father Boney Kapoor as a successful producer and uncle Anil Kapoor proving to be India’s most successful import to Hollywood) and Ranveer Singh too have shown promise, and might just surprise everyone in a few years’ time with their steadily climbing career graphs. Personally, I wouldn’t write off the Shehenshah of Cinema, Amitabh Bachchan’s talented son Abhishek Bachchan either, who has proved his mettle as an actor in films like ‘Guru’, ‘Yuva’ and even ‘Bol Bachchan’, and who might also have an ace up his sleeve in the coming years.

Special mention must be made of Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra, two red-hot young debutants who silenced the harshest critics with their believable (and enviable) launch in Karan Johar’s ‘Student of the Year’ in 2012.

Among the women, though ‘shelf-life’ plays a vital role, Bollywood’s reigning queens Kareena Kapoor (now Khan), Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Vidya Balan have dominated public opinion for at least half a decade, if not longer. In itself a remarkable feat, these ladies refuse to let marriage (Kareena and Vidya in particular) or relationships get in the way of their race to the summit. At the peak of their careers, a Kareena, Katrina, Vidya or Priyanka film is awarded as much publicity and hype as that of their superstar male counterparts.

So which of the newer actresses have it in them to oust the above mentioned powerhouse actresses?

Judging solely by the last couple of years, one can predict that the GenNext female superstars to watch out for are:

Dusky Bangalore beauty Deepika Padukone already seems to have tasted superstardom in her 6 year-long Bollywood career, with her much-appreciated spirited performances in films like ‘Cocktail’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’, and her casting coup as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s desi Juliet in his upcoming magnum opus ‘Ram Leela’. Priyanka Chopra’s very young and very spunky cousin Parineeti too has shown promise, and could well succeed her sister in the Bollywood rat-race. Sonakshi Sinha can’t be ignored for her ‘lucky mascot’ charm in Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn films, and neither can Anushka Sharma, who’s proven time and again to be a solid, dependable choice for filmmakers, and who’s also shown her acting prowess in films like ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ and ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’.

Ileana D’Cruz and Huma Qureshi are two ladies to watch out for, both having wowed audiences with their film debuts last year. Ali Bhatt, another newbie, shows promise with a dream debut in Karan Johar’s yuppy romance ‘Student of The Year’.

So there you have it: our list of possible future Bollywood Kings and Queens. Who have you got your money on?