2018: The year when Tiger Shroff and Varun Dhawan inched closer to superstardom

Bollywood Opinion Piece

The year is about to come to a close, and like always, it has been good to so but not so rosy for others. However, good would be a gross understatement for how amazing 2018 has been for two Bollywood actors — Varun Dhawan and Tiger Shroff. The former took giant strides in establishing the same influence on the classes that he has hitherto had with the masses while the latter firmly cemented his place as the next big action superstar of the country.

With Baaghi 2, Tiger not only delivered a certifiable solo blockbuster, but also registered the kind of opening that has since only been associated with the Khans, Hrithik, and Devgn. Why we’re emphasizing on the opening is because this year has seen a number of surprise blockbusters like Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Raazi, Stree, and Badhaai Ho, but none took off with the staggering Rs. 25.10 crore start of Baaghi 2 — the kind of opening that’s only achieved by a bona-fide star who’s stock is on the rise with the audience.

On the other hand, 2018 may not have seen Varun delivering the mega grossers usually associated with him now, but that’s only because of the offbeat path he traversed. We seriously doubt if another contemporary of his could have opened a somber arty drama like October and a simple, sweet message-oriented film like Sui Dhaaga to decent numbers, and then taken them to semi-hit status at the box-office. Regardless which side of the fence you fall on about appreciating these movies, the indisputable fact is that they worked largely on the shoulders of Varun’s stardom, who’s yet to taste box-office failure.

Compare these two heroes to other heroes or star-kids who started out around the same time, like say an Arjun Kapoor, and their year looks doubly special. For all the unnecessary flak he cops, Arjun’s hit ratio is far from bad to be fair, but the debacle of Namaste England did him no favors. Still, we expect him to bounce back with India’s Most Wanted and Panipat, given the Directors helming those films.

Ranbir Kapoor did bounce back fantasticlly after a string of flops, delivering the year’s highest Bollywood grosser so far with Sanju, and while his performance and star-value can’t be depreciated towards Sanju’s success, Director Rajkumar Hirani, who has a fan-following of his own, is as responsible for the film’s pan-India embrace as Ranbir is. Coming to Ranveer Singh, he did get his first blockbuster and 300-crore film with Padmaavat, but again, both Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali have as much to do with its status as Ranveer does, if not more. It looks like before the year ends another blockbuster is on his way in the form of Simmba, though once again, he has the backing of an immensely popular and massy filmmaker like Rohit Shetty, who churns out superhits for fun.

The coming years are going to be very interesting to see who grabs the mantles of Bollywood’s next big superstars, but for now, purely on the basis of carrying a film all on your own, Varun Dhawan and Tiger Shroff have a slight edge over their contemporaries.

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