By Subhash K. Jha
If you were one of the three Khan superstars in Bollywood, then 2018 was definitely not your year. While Shah Rukh Khan has delivered what looks like a box office debacle in "Zero", quite recently his Khan fellow-superstar Aamir Khan too came up with one of the biggest duds of his career, "The Thugs Of Hindostan".
Earlier during the year, Salman Khan's "Race 3" underperformed abysmally at the box office.
Is the Khan triumvirate losing its touch?
Says trade analyst Amod Mehra: "The writing is very clear on the wall. It is time all three Khan superstars switched to more mature roles. Or else they would no longer be superstars."
However, film and trade analyst Girish Johar doesn't see the setbacks of 2018 as detrimental to the Khans' careers. "The three Khans are SUPERSTARS, a film here or there doesn't matter. Their fan following does not decrease nor does their stardom get affected. Yes, all three failing together in one year does raise eyebrows but I am sure they are bound to bounce back with their next outings. Also yes, they have to be much much more careful as audiences are growing, their taste patterns are changing faster...so what they bring to the table has to be extraordinary as anything below neither suits their stature nor is it any longer expected from them."
What next for the Khans?
While Salman Khan has the eagerly-awaited Eid release "Bharat" which spans the lifestory of one man from India's independence in 1947 to present day, Aamir Khan is taking a sabbatical from the big screen to do a web series based on the Mahabharat. Shah Rukh Khan is not committed to any new project.
All three Khan superstars need to sit and do some serious career thinking and revamping. Their fan-following remains intact. Only their selection of roles needs to change.
Warns critic Raja Sen: "Their films may have underperformed this time, but each of the three Khans is just one hit away from being on top of the heap again. Any obituaries or celebrations by gleeful rivals would be premature."
(Subhash K Jha can be contacted at email@example.com)