It has been two decades that the three Khans - ShahRukh, Aamir and Salman have been calling the shots at Bollywood. I remember reading an article few years back, which said 1990s belonged to three Khans and Kajol. And, there is no denying this. The three Khans not only provided vibrance to the hindi movies, which failed miserably to produce superstar when Amitabh Bacchhan was not actually young to play the angry young man.
Not only that, the music of their movies was undoubetdly fresh! Remember the 1980s music, when audience used to move out of hall to smoke a cig, grab a cold drink, and returned to the hall only when the song got over. In fact, it was the feeling of 'something new and unseen' which gave SRK his first few hits like Baazigar, Darr, where the villian was bigger than the hero or the hero had villanious touch.
Towards, the end of 1990s, it seemed that it dawned upon Khans that their time was running out and they have to step up their efforts to compete with the young brigade. I remember reading an article wherein SRK had said that he was afraid of his fans forgeting him in his old age. And, there was a precedent to it as well. The 'Jubilee Kumar', Rajendra Kumar used to get so many letters from his fans that he had to appoint a secretary just to read and reply to them. Years later, when Jubilee Kumar was old, he said he was craving for even one letter from a fan. No one had written to him in ages.
It seemed to me that the three Khans knew that post they cross their mid thirties, they have to be extremely careful of their image, the kind of movies they do, the kind of directors they work with. However, all three of them gave more importance to have a certain image in audience's eyes. They even tried to expand their fan club. Take SRK for instance, the youth icon of 90s who had girls drooling over him and who once did bold film like Maya Memsaab, he said he will not kiss the heroine. If this was not for making sure that old ladies treat him like their son, then what was this for? SRK knew it that he was famous only among young people, which he did not afford with his age meter reading one more every year. SRK also made sure that he does movies with same directors like Farah Khan, Karan Johar. All his experiments like Maya Memsaab, Oh Darling Yeh Hai India, Darr, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman belonged to 1990s. In the current decade, he has done just three different movies - Swades, Chak De. It is strange to know that Swades and Veer Zaara were released at that same time, still SRK went on to win the awards for Veer Zaara.
Aamir Khan, known also as 'The Perfectionist', has done few experiments. There is no denying that Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameein Par were experiments considering the kind of repetition prevailing in Hindi Cinema. But, to label Aamir as an actor who does take huge challenges would be over-rating him. If we compare these movies, with the real experimental stuff which happens in other parts of India, we would realise that actors like Kamal Hassan, MohanKumar are far superior than Aamir in acting department and they have done such varying roles that with Aamir's pace, he might end up spending his life and still would not be able to do half as those experiments.
As far as Salman Khan is concerned, the last time he did a serious role, which the audience could digest was Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam in 1999. Post that, it has been an endless series of comedies, which are often cheap comedies, double meaning in nature, which are not even a surrogate for the kind of comedy, the world has seen.
I think the kind of cinema SRK, Aamir and Salman belong to definitely discourages the new breed of film makers, who see their experiments tanking badly because the distributors think the audience can watch Billu Barber, but not movies like Dev D.