The No.1 spot: After Deepika Padukone, will Alia Bhatt occupy the throne? – Padmaavat is a runaway hit. The period drama has had a Rs 300-cr BO collection (with the dubbed collection yielding Rs 15 cr). While the film has reinforced Deepika Padukone’s position in Bollywood, it also brings us to the question — what next for her? DP’s film with Irrfan Khan is on hold for the moment and she has not signed a single movie, post this development. If she sits out for another year, will she be able to hold on to her position or will it be the classic case of out of sight, out of mind? Moreover, rumour has it that the Padmaavat actress will marry her steady date, Ranveer Singh, later this year. And the unspoken norm of married heroines not being able to hold on to their supremacy in the Bollywood hierarchy is a known fact. In this eventuality, B-Town is wondering who will be the successor to Dippy’s throne? But before that, let’s take a quick look at why Deepika is the No 1 heroine of the day.
THE BOX-OFFICE BAROMETER
The actress sat out for two years before Padmaavat released and yet her star power remained undiluted. Post Happy New Year (2014), where her role as the bar dancer Rosy did little or nothing for her profile, in 2015, the actress had three releases — Piku, Tamasha, and Bajirao Mastani. Each of them was different from the other and Deepika shone bright in all of them. In Shoojit Sircar’s Piku, where she played the title role, she matched Amitabh Bachchan’s legendary status and overshadowed Irrfan, who was happy to let her shine.
In Tamasha, the doe-eyed beauty displayed the histrionics of an ace actor. And as Mastani, she once again proved that she could be a warrior princess on screen and off it. In other words, Deepika can take her fight to the marquee with panache.
Post Padmaavat, where she was equal (if not more prominent than the historical’s two heroes — Ranveer and Shahid Kapoor) when we interviewed Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he said, “Deepika is so fabulous. I just love her, she is effortless. All her hard work and brilliance she comes to on the set with is effortless. She does her preparation, but there is none of the — ‘I am prepared for a role’ — heaviness around her. It is done with so much silence. It is such a pleasure to work with someone who does what she is doing at that moment with absolute honesty. An actor who feels so simply, though her performances are so detailed and nuanced. I’m not done with her yet.”
Javed Akhtar, who saw Padmaavat, paid the actress the ultimate compliment when he told her, “I think this is your Mother India.” Even if we discount this a bit by saying that the lyricist-filmmaker got carried away in his praise, there is still the Rs 300-cr BO collection that hammers the point.
When asked which actress would he bet his buck on after Deepika Padukone, trade analyst Komal Nahta names Alia Bhatt. He says, “In my opinion, Alia is already on par with Deepika. She is young, fresh and she’s a fabulous actor. She has a terrific connect with the youth and her choice of films and subjects are perfect. People love her.’’
Taran Adarsh couldn’t agree more. The trade expert says, “It’s a no-brainer. In my opinion, it will be Alia Bhatt who will be the next No. 1.”
Distributor Girish Johar states, “She has a huge connect with the youth. Her strength is her fantastic acting capability and she has the screen power to carry a film on her shoulders. She can give any decent hero a run for his money.”
Film producer-distributor NR Pachisia too puts his money on the Dear Zindagi actress. He points out, “Alia is spontaneous. If you see her graph, from Student Of The Year to Udta Punjab and the Dulhania films — Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania, she has not only shown variation, but also done very well. She took a bold step with Udta Punjab and was fantastic in Kapoor And Sons (Since 1921) too. She is the new youth icon and the best in town today. The young audiences connect with her.”
DEEPIKA’S ROAD TO SUCCESS
Padmaavat (2018): Rs 283.18 Cr
Bajirao Mastani (2015): Rs 183.75 Cr
Tamasha (2015): Rs 68.55 Cr
Piku (2015): Rs 78.38 Cr
Happy New Year (2014): Rs 178.41 Cr