Why the Khans can

In the Indian Express Sunday magazine Eye, Shubhra Gupta on Bollywood’s three superstars: Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan:

It’s not like there haven’t been others, some who have held their own, some who have retired hurt but only temporarily, some who are coming up so fast that they could be serious challengers to the Khandom. Kyonki har ek star zaroori hota hai. Amitabh Bachchan is the formidable carryover from the era before theirs, but is clearly a senior statesman. Saif Ali Khan has charm, and the rare ability to be both star and actor. Akshay Kumar is biding his time, to forget his bad run, and to get into a fresh sprint to the top. Hrithik Roshan is clear superstar material, whose presence in a pretty road movie makes it top drawer. Ajay Devgn has all three crucial sectors — comedy-drama-action — under his belt. And Ranbir Kapoor is fast reaching that stage where he’s slated to become the stickiest youth magnet.

So what is it about the Khans that sets them on top of the A-list? In the last five years, the Salman-Shah Rukh-Aamir trio has battered all opposition into submission. They no longer just act. They produce. They control almost every aspect of their films. When they come to the table, and that in itself is a prize they bestow like visiting deity upon waiting masses, they bring with them the triple-barrelled power of influential star, all-pervasive brand, and industry maven. They are to the left of you, to the right of you, all around you. There is no escape. As a young SRK once sang: jaata hai tu kahaan?

A true-blue industry maven himself, with his 42 years in the trenches as lyricist and filmmaker, now chairman of Reliance Entertainment, Amit Khanna has a calming yet definitive perspective. “We’ve always had superstars,” he says, “right from Ashok Kumar to Dev-Dilip-Raj, Rajesh, Amitabh, and now the three Khans — they all have had the ability to endear and endure.” More:

[Image: Eye magazine cover]

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