From the time that a Bollywood film’s worth started getting measured in Rs 100 crore figures (or multiples, thereof), it’s the leading men who were attributed with the success.
It has been the bastion of the Khans along with stars such as Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn.
But while they continue to rule, their female counterparts have also emerged as stars in their own right.
These leading ladies, too, have their dedicated fan following, and, as a result, are names that film-makers now rely on to draw in the crowds.
As their growing popularity brings with it more box-office clout, we ask trade experts who, according to them, has the maximum impact on a film’s revenues. The top three were unanimous choices - Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha and Katrina Kaif. These three have emerged as the leading ladies, literally, of Bollywood.
Trade expert Taran Adarsh says, "Sonakshi Sinha, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif are outstanding. Alia Bhatt, too, seems to have a lot of potential. Deepika is in a different league, while Sonakshi and Katrina are great at what they do. Then, of course, there’s Priyanka Chopra who has proved her mettle too."
Trade analyst Komal Nahta also names Sonakshi, Deepika and Katrina as the frontrunners among the leading ladies. He says, "These three have the most number of Rs 100 crore films to their credit. Kareena Kapoor Khan and Priyanka have been around for longer, have showcased their skills and are still powerful."
Film distributor and exhibitor Akshaye Rathi, however, feels that "Deepika is the only one who is able to draw in crowds on her own merit."
He adds, though, that Sonakshi is also popular for being the “quintessential Hindi film heroine" and that "Katrina is smart with her choices."