ET on Aamir and SRK and their contrasting brand appeal
thanks to Bliss..
In the space of two weeks in May, Indian audiences got to see two of their favourite film superstars in completely different settings.
First, Aamir Khan shook the nation’s conscience awake with an episode on female foeticide on his TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’, an hourly program at 11 am that seeks to change Sunday TV viewing habits. In sharp contrast to the tears and gravitas of this show, Shah Rukh Khan was by turns at his brash and playful best. In the span of a week, he was in the news for swearword laced yelling contests with security guards at Mumbai one moment, and the next, turning cartwheels – black inners on show – in a free-spirited celebration of the team he co-owns winning the Indian Premier League, 2012.
In a market where younger stars are making significant inroads into the roles they once cornered and the brands they once promoted, the two Khans are taking contrasting routes to ensure their longevity – both on and off screen.
Forty seven-year old Aamir has morphed into the nation’s conscience, willing to weep for the unborn girl child on his show, and manfully brush away tears at a cause du jour every Sunday as he attempts to become the face of social change. In a country, which likes to view its film stars like the Americans do their presidents – as paragons of virtue-Aamir is seemingly making all the right moves. “This is the first time you’re seeing a star use the power of cinema, with almost the altruistic power of someone like Anna Hazare,” says Anirban Das Blah, founder and managing director of Kwan Entertainment, an event and people management firm.
In sharp contrast, Shah Rukh, also 47, has built a profile of being the impetuous Delhi boy who wants to be the country’s biggest and most visible film star. And he isn’t averse to cultivating an anti-establishment image – a la the Rolling Stones – to connect with the youth. And, as Messrs Mick Jagger and Keith Richards will testify, a bad-boy image works like a charm. To complete the rock-n-roll analogy, if SRK is to Bollywood what Jagger was to popular music in the 60s and the 70s, Aamir is closer to what a Cliff Richards was – no sex, no drugs, only music, often the gospel variety. “He has made no apologies for his ambition,” says Blah. For SRK as he is called by friend, foe and fan, this has meant leveraging his personal brand to the hilt, signing scores of endorsement deals and being available to do promotions, dance at weddings and whatever else it takes to be visible all the time.
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