Shahenshah or Badshah — who is the real don? If Shah Rukh Khan declared war on Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic status with his sexed-up Don revisit on celluloid this year, the argument will continue as Khan gets set to fill Bachchan’s big boots by hosting Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) in January.
Statistics, of course, can be more complicated and interesting than a simple vote for either star — as the Hindustan Times-C fore poll on Khan versus Bachchan reveals. Clearly, the SRK or AB debate pits two generations against each other. While the young and the restless back Khan on every count, those who grew up worshipping the angry young hero of the 1970s will not look beyond Bachchan.
On KBC, 52 per cent respondents aged between 16 and 25 feel Khan will be a better anchor. In contrast, 75 per cent in the 25-and-above age group root for Bachchan. In the youth-driven rat race for TRPs, Star TV need not sweat.
The generational divide bares itself in all categories. Fifty-seven per cent of those polled in the 16-25 bracket feel Khan is a better role model, while 70 per cent of the 25-plus age group still look up to Bachchan.
On the topic of Khan being Bachchan’s true successor, 56 per cent of the younger segment say yes; the majority in the older segment (68 per cent) disagree.
Will Khan still be a hero when he is 60? Fifty-eight per cent 16-to-25-year-olds believe so. However, 63 per cent aged 25 and above say no.
The trend repeats on all counts that define a star. The older generation votes for Bachchan as the sexier, more charming, more emotive, versatile and credible hero. The 16-25 age group swings the verdict in Khan’s favour. Bachchan may be Bollywood’s Big B, but Khan is clearly the don of a new era.