The year 2013 ended on a good note with a Bollywood blockbuster — Dhoom: 3 starring Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra and Katrina Kaif.
And now, 2014 has opened with the first look of film-maker Farah Khan’s next, Happy New Year (HNY), starring Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek, Sonu Sood, Boman Irani, Vivaan Shah and Deepika Padukone.
And while the film looks promising, we can’t help but notice whether the trend of multi-starrers is coming back to Bollywood. This year alone, several established actors have taken up films with multiple leading actors.
Ask trade analyst Amod Mehra about this trend and he explains, “Multi-starrers have always been around. It’s sort of an attraction for the audience. You pay for one ticket and you get to see multiple actors. Who wouldn’t like that?”
That’s about the viewers, but why is this trend appealing to well-established, bankable stars?
“These are more of ensemble cast movies than multi-starrers. There are wonderful supporting actors here, but a multi-starrer is when actors of the same calibre come together, something like what Manmohan Desai would make,” says film-maker Nikhil Advani.
But one must also note the fact that with more multi-starrer projects coming up, the box-office parameters for certifying a blockbuster have gone up as well.
Says exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi, “Until a couple of years ago, making Rs 100 crore at the BO was the aim, now that has become Rs 200 crore. So to be able to achieve more and do more business, making a multi-starrer is a smart decision.”
So even though the trend is catching on, Farah is of the opinion that it’s never a conscious decision on film-makers’ parts to make multi-starrers; it’s something that the script decides.
She says, “Doing or making a multi-starrer isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In my case, the script requires multiple actors. I was only excited about that. Doing multi-starrers is never a conscious thing.”
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Last solo: Talaash (2012)
Next multi-starrer: P.K.
Aamir’s co-stars (in P.K.): Sanjay Dutt, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Anushka Sharma
“Multi-starrers change the paradigm of the box-office. And Aamir Khan, no matter how much successful he is, will always try and expand his reach regardless of the number of co-stars. Also, more actors means greater reach,” says exhibitor-distributor Rathi.
Shah Rukh Khan
Last solo: Chennai Express (2013)
Multi-starrer: Happy New Year (HNY)
Shah Rukh’s co-stars (in HNY): Abhishek Bachchan, Sonu Sood, Boman Irani, Vivaan Shah, Deepika Padukone
Expert talk: “Shah Rukh, like his solo hits, has also delivered big multi-starrer hits. He is a superstar, a secure actor and chooses films irrelevant of it being a solo lead or a multi-starrer,” says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Last solo: Dabangg 2 (2012)
Salman’s co-stars (in Kick): Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Randeep Hooda, Mithun Chakraborty
Expert talk: “Salman Khan has extra-ordinary star power. He will always have an upper-hand even in multi-starrer films. But, I don’t think that crosses the mind of an actor like him. He does a film for content and his character,” says trade expert Vikas Mohan.
Last solo: Boss (2013)
Multi-starrer: It’s Entertainment (IE)
Akshay’s co-stars (in IE): Sonu Sood, Prakash Raj, Mithun Chakraborty, Krishna Abhishek
Expert talk: “Akshay has delivered many hits that have been multi-starrers. He is quite
comfortable sharing screen space with other
talents,” says trade expert Vinod Mirani.
Saif Ali Khan
Last solo: Bullett Raja (2013)
Saif’s co-stars (in Humshakals): Riteish Deshmukh, Bipasha Basu, Ram Kapoor, Esha Gupta
Expert talk: “From the start, Saif has always done well in multi-starrers with actors such as Akshay and Shah Rukh, among others. So if you look closely, you will find that his best comes out in multi-starrers. So Humshakals should be
interesting,” says Mehra.
It’s interesting to note that while the superstars are ready to share screen space with their contemporaries, the young guns of Bollywood are choosing to do single-hero films.
Ranveer Singh: Kill Dil
Sushant Singh Rajput: Paani, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
Sidharth Malhotra: Hasee Toh Phasee, The Villain
Varun Dhawan: Mein Tera Hero, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania
Arjun Kapoor: 2 States, Tevar
Aditya Roy Kapur: Daawat-E-Ishq, Fitoor