This decade saw the rise and fall of the biggest stalwarts from the industry. While a lot has been spoken about the star-power of the actors, here’s a series that analyzes in-depth the strengths and weaknesses of the top 10 Bollywood stars, and ranks them based on their performance this decade taking into account factors like magnitude of success, opening day collections, consistency, potential, awareness, and loyal fan following. The one who scores high on all the fronts will be crowned the STAR OF THIS DECADE.
Number 2 on the list is Akshay Kumar and here’s a report card at how he fared between 2010 and 2019.
2010 – 2015:
The first half of the decade was just about average for Akshay Kumar. Though he started it off with a hit in the form of Housefull, that gave rise to one of the biggest franchise of Bollywood, he didn’t have a lot to celebrate and bank on for the first five years. Being the thorough professional that he is, he didn’t slow down and maintained the pace of delivering four films a year. He had 22 releases in a span of six years, of which – Housefull, Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Oh My God and Holiday were clean hits while Gabbar Is Back, Baby, Special 26 and Khiladi 786 were fairly successful ventures as no one associated with the film lost money. The rest of the 13 releases were flops, but none the less that didn’t stop Akshay for working harder and becoming a brand in himself in the years to come. His hit ratio was barely 20%, while the success ratio was again low at 40% in the first half this decade.
At the start of this decade, he wasn’t the bankable force that he is today – in-fact, most in the trade didn’t consider him among the top 5 stars of the industry primarily due to the not so impressive opening day numbers and just about decent lifetime collections. Though his films were non-holiday releases, the opening wasn’t as formidable as even non-holiday had seen much bigger opening in that span. So to buckle up was the need of the hour for Akshay at the end of 2015.
2010: Rs. 204.25 crore (4 Films)
2011: Rs. 130.13 crore (3 Films)
2012: Rs. 413.22 crore (5 Films)
2013: Rs. 181.95 crore (3 Films)
2014: Rs. 212.47 crore (3 Films)
2015: Rs. 355.53 crore (4 Films)
2016 – 2019:
Tables turned for Akshay big time in last four years starting with his January 2016 release, Airlift. While he was often positioned as an action and comedy star, which resulted in an overdose thereby hampering his image and also the box-office prospects, he tried to transform into the serious actor mould with films like Baby and Special 26. By doing OTT films like Boss, Khiladi 786, Singh Is Bling, Gabbar Is Back to name some, Akshay had lost absolute trust among the multiplex audience. While the masses were always there, they were never enough to take film towards the hit threshold. So now it was time for Akshay switch gears and win over the multiplex audience and it was a slow process. Special 26 and Baby were not big hits but gave him a standing a certain amount of goodwill in the market. Its Airlift wherein the things changed as the multiplex audience came in huge numbers and took the film towards the super hit tag. Airlift started a series of hits for Akshay with Housefull 3, Rustom, Jolly LLB 2, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha emerging smash hits and getting Akshay back in the game. The common point among all films was the fact that they were positioned among the classes and not masses.
After five back to back hits came, Padman, an acclaimed subject that even won him a national award, but an average grosser at the box-office. The follow up to Padman was again, Gold, which didn’t do much of noise at the ticket window, emerging a below average grosser. While 5 back to back hits got the goodwill for Akshay, and also placed him in the top 5 stars of the industry, Padman and Gold were in-a-way minor set-backs. What happened after Gold is probably something that not many imagined. Akshay blended the multiplex films with a little commercial touch and kept on rising from strength to strength to the extent that he became the brand that he is today and also termed “mini-industry” by a lot in the trade. Right from 2.0 to Kesari to Mission Mangal, Housefull 4 and now, Good Newwz, he went from strength to strength bettering his box-office collections as well as opening day number with every passing film. The time taken by him to build the goodwill transformed into a brand around 2.0, and helped all the films post that. In today’s time, Akshay gets support from both the masses and classes alike, which then result in even his multiplex films doing respectable business at mass belts. In last 4 years, the number of hits delivered by Akshay is higher than what some stars have in the last 20 years, and the aggregate of hits of some stars this decade. Yes, he has 10 hits under his kitty in last 4 years, which is nothing but a phenomenal display of consistency. It wouldn’t be wrong to crown him the number one star of 2019 based on the sheer magnitude of success blended with consistency. He proved the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”. His success rate in last four years is 91%, while hit rate is 83%, which is earth-shattering to say the least.
2016: Rs. 364.74 crore (3 Films)
2017: Rs. 287.98 crore (2 Films)
2018: Rs. 376.09 crore (3 Films)
2019: Rs. 720.00 crore (expected) (4 Films)
The number crunching analysis:
Akshay in today’s time has become a force to reckon with. While for most part of the decade, he was devoid of the big openings and lifetime collections, he has got in the zone of delivering both big openings and grossers. Taking films like Mission Mangal, Housefull 4 and Good Newwz around the Rs. 200 crore mark is nothing but sheer display of his stardom. While he was indulged in just delivering the content films until 2018, the slow transformation to appease both classes and masses alike is working wonders for him, and is just going to get better with mega films up for releases in the next couple of years. He is closing this decade with 15 hit films, and that’s something that places him at the second spot in this series of stars who ruled the decade. It was a tough call between Aamir and Akshay for the second spot but the sheer magnitude and consistency of delivering the hits at regular intervals backed by the lack of releases by Aamir Khan and underperformance of Thugs of Hindostan has given Akshay an edge. He is the only actor whose films have aggregate net collection of over Rs. 3000 crore this decade.
Where does Akshay go from here??
Akshay’s standing in the industry is expected to just get bigger and better next year as he has films like Sooryavanshi, Laxmmi Bomb, Prithviraj Chauhan and Bachchan Pandey up for release, all of which stand a potential to emerge not just major grossers but also take a bumper opening at the box-office. Star-power is often gauged by culmination of several factors, opening being the major one, and with Akshay coming ahead to deliver the big openers will consolidate his position as the top star of even 2020. While he is doing perfect at the moment and blending well between commercial cinema and the content driven ones, we would love to see him plan his releases better and slow down a bit, which in turn would create more curiosity around his films which in turn would result in bigger grossers and openers.
It’s a given fact that four releases a year results in over exposure and does reflect in the business of films. Imagine the business of a commercial film with Akshay having just one release a year. None the less, the power to deliver four hits a year shows his pull and fan following among the audience, as not many can sustain and deliver with such high level of visibility.
Final summary at a glance:
Total Collections: Rs. 3248 crore
Total Films: 34
Average /Film: Rs. 95.52 crore