· The three players, all born in 1965, rose to prominence in the context of the country’s economic liberalization.
· The author does not hesitate to give readers a glimpse of some of the great controversial events of their lives.
· The three stars have positioned themselves in very different ways: one as a middle class icon, another as a champion of the working class, and the third as a hero of the NRI.
There is no better time than now to watch the legacy of the Three Khans of Bollywood as the film industry grapples with one of its most difficult phases in the post-Covid world. “” By seasoned journalist Kaveree BamzaiThe Three Khans and the Emergence of New India ” examines in detail the three-decade long journey of superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan while at the same time recounting the changing political and social contours of the country.
The three actors, all born in 1965, have gained importance in a context of economic liberalization and simultaneous social transformation in the country. Bamzaï Notes. “What made the Three Khans of the Stars so enduring, so adaptable to changing India, and so relevant even thirty years later? This is because they, along with their audience, have built myths about who they could be and, in particular, who their audience would like them to be. These myths were by-products of their films, ”she emphasizes.
The book draws heavily on the opinions of academics and film analysts to describe the impact of various films and the career paths of the three actors. What gets the reader hooked are behind-the-scenes anecdotes that provide the full context of the films, supplemented by commentary on the social and political background when these films were released.
The book is not a hagiography as the author does not hesitate to give readers a glimpse of some of the great controversial events around their lives. Whether it’s the juicy details of Shah Rukh Khan’s infamous fight against Salman Khan in 2008 or the bad and expensive bets made by some Hollywood studios while dabbling in Hindi films over the past decade, forcing them almost shutting down. The book gives readers a first-hand view of the various developments that shaped Bollywood and various decisions made by the Khans.
Right from the start, the book gives a sort of calculation of how the three players have positioned themselves to remain relevant in the industry. Bamzai describes Aamir Khan as the icon of the middle class. Citing films such as Dil Chahta Hai and Lagaan, she goes on to say that he established himself as the Thinking Man superstar and that he became known for making films that “invariably carried a message.”
Chronicle of the journey of Shah Rukh Khan’s emergence as a hero of the NRI, the author believes that although his roles have been varied, he “always emphasizes his level of comfort with Western manners while retaining his innate Indianness.” .
At the same time, Salman Khan who began to restore his box office successes with films such as Tere Naam, Wanted, Dabangg and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, offers Bollywood fans a role model for the champion of the working class displaying “more openness and cultural hybridity than the so-called elite”.
These superstars began to establish themselves in the 90s when Indians were introduced to the concept of consumption and the Indian economy opened up to money and foreign brands. He notes the role played by the three actors in helping Indian audiences navigate these changes.
But will the triumvirate continue its box office run badshahs after three decades? Pandemic has rewritten the playbook with over 20 OTT platforms ready to offer consumers a variety of long and short stories. The pandemic has also accelerated the process of democratizing talent. With no restricted windows for small films, the actors’ playing field leveled out. It also remains to be seen how quickly multiplexes will recover with various concerns surrounding a third wave. The book also aptly highlights the successes of so-called “character actors” using OTT platforms in recent times.
“But for this distinction to endure, the Three Khans will have to tell stories that matter to India and the world. The world is ready for it, with an emphasis on more diversity in storytelling. Khans need to get out of their comfort zone, ”Bamzai says in the book.
The intention of the book is rather ambitious – after all, it is no small task to portray three of India’s biggest stars, analyze their filmography and at the same time mingle with the socio-political currents sweeping the world. country, especially given the family names of these powerful players. Does Bamzai manage to do justice? Yes. The book packs a lot of punch in less than 250 pages.
The three khans: and the emergence of the new India
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(Meenakshi Verma Ambwani is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu BusinessLine and closely follows the media industry)