Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood’s most statistically improbable actor


“Bollywood lead actors come and go. An era that belongs to Raj Kapoor will soon transition into one dominated by Shah Rukh Khan, who will then cede that position to someone else.

But there is only one actor who once he became a lead has never relinquished that position. That, according to a new study of how interactions in Bollywood can predict actors’ success, is Amitabh Bachchan.

“None of our theories work for Amitabh Bachchan,” said Sarika Jalan, an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Indore, who led the study. “We cannot define whether he is a supporting or a lead actor because he always comes out as the lead and defies all predictions and theories. He is very different from others.””

for more follow the link..


144 Responses to “Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood’s most statistically improbable actor”

  1. Made my day! Bring on more ‘proof’, ‘evidence’ that people here want!!!


  2. Pay money and get these types of results in your favour.If these types of cheap stunts can make your day, then take a bow.


    • Umm but I thought fudging figures was the specialty of the Roshan father son duo? Or I might be mistaken. Maybe it is the Bachchans who fudged KRISHIT 3’s figures from 180 to 240?


      • An Jo..I was the first who ridiculed Roshan sr for doing that..Yes, Krish3 collected 180cr and those are not bad nos by any standard..Hrithik doesn’t need such false propaganda to exhibit his super stardom..I am not that type of fanatic who will accept anything related to Hrithik after closing eyes. That is the characteristic feature of Bachchan fans who project his disasters as blockbusters.


    • This is by IIT. Not some commercial media house. Plus this is hypocrisy to keep bashing and then call every list as fake. Talking of getting results by paying money, didn’t Roshans fudge figures of Krissh 3? Remember glass houses proverb before passing comments on others! 😉


  3. Also a big lol on this..It is showing Abhishek’s graph higher than that of Hrithik.Bravo! keep it up..Chupiyapa at its climax.


  4. The obvious great does not need statistics to prove.
    When he is beyond numbers, what is there to prove?


  5. “The obvious great does not need statistics to prove.
    When he is beyond numbers, what is there to prove?”

    This being the old trick used by bachchan fans just to show his existence.


  6. how coukld Hrithik Roshan graph be so low?is not releasing films a parameter?Akshay Kumar seems to have the highest graph.So my arguments are proved.Akshay Kumar is the bggest superstar since 1992.The it has to be Hrithik Roshan.With bang bang things will change.And Abhishek Bachchan’s gra[h has to be on the lowest line.This seems manupulated anyway.

    Samar,you seem to be a fake fan of Hrithik.Krrish 3 collected 180cr?IS this fandom?Krrish 3 India gross is 233cr.Taran Adarsh is standard.


    • The krish3 numbers were as fair or as inflated as tarans other numbers
      it’s just that BOX and some other lobbies didn’t go as far with the flow as much as say some other khan films for eg
      Note how with kick suddenly boi seemed to suddenly match even outpace tarans initially before settling slightly less than tarans
      And as a reaction to that Roshan took some “countermeasures”
      and well done for that…
      U don’t work in coalmines in white clothes
      And what if we say tarans was pressurised by some khan lobbies to retract hus numbers for Krish 3? Or not go past certain numbers
      Yes these are all fictional hypothetical scenarios

      But it’s the confidence which some have over one fictional theory over another that strips them to reveal their true intentions

      Of course agendaic folks will go where they want to
      the only response to insurgency is counter insurgency

      Which brings to one of my favorite dialogues this year
      From Pacific rim

      To deal with monsters
      I created monsters of my own


  7. Only Amitabh and Dharmendra reached the zenith of 100 .. 90’s star graph range is 0-80 .. and 2000 graph range is 0-60 … says a lot 🙂


  8. Sunil,
    Yes taran had thrown nos of Krish3 as 233 but after that he took a break of few weeks just because he lost crediblity. Krish3 never touched 200cr mark..Lets be honest and practical.Now does that make Hrithik a lesser star..Just wait for bang bang and see he’ll cross 300 cr easily and no Amir,salman and Srk can reach there.


  9. Satyajit Ray’s film Charulata, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story The Broken Nest, is 50 years old, but it’s just so extraordinarily vivid and fresh. While watching this – in fact any of his films – the same question recurs: why aren’t we talking about Ray more? Or, in fact, all the time? There is such miraculous clarity here, such great acting, staged with theatrical aplomb and shot with unshowy genius. It has the effortless fluency and gaiety of a Shakespearean comedy. The setting is Calcutta in British India: Charulata, played by the hypnotically beautiful Madhabi Mukherjee, is the bored, cultured wife of a newspaper editor and proprietor who prides himself on being a bold free-thinker. His charming young wastrel cousin, a would-be writer called Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee), comes to stay and Amal and Charulata take an interest in each other’s literary aspirations – as well as in each other generally. The delicate pathos and subtle comedy of their romance is a joy, and there is wonderful audacity in the way Ray shows Charulata’s life at the beginning – simply looking out of the window, studying the passersby with the engaged curiosity of a true artist. Ray’s own artistry and poise emerges very strongly. This film is a tonic – a vitamin boost for the mind and heart.

    Peter Bradshaw: The Guardian


  10. Bandra.NRI Says:

    According to this analysis the illustrious GIVINDA is better than Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh ………

    Of course this begs the question, “better at what ?”

    If an analysis can make Govinda better than the few named above then it is definitely bovine crap.

    Amitabh does not need being propped up, his longevity is enough evidence of his greatness. I think it is an insult to Amitabh Bachchan that such garbage analysis, or statement like his movie was shown on Zee on Aug 15, are used to illustrate Bachchan ‘s majesty. In fact doing so, tarnishes Mr Bachchan, it opens a debate which is demeaning.


  11. Everyone’s misreading the graphs here.. no one is stupid enough for example to suggest that Sunil Dutt is in any way greater than Raj Kapoor but a crude look at the graph suggests that. This entire study was part of a PhD thesis and clearly the methodology behind the graphs or what exactly is being plotted isn’t clear. Again no one would be stupid enough to assert that Abhishek has been more successful than Hrithik. The point then becomes: when all of this is patently obvious why are people reading these graphs so ‘stupidly’ to further their own agendas?! Maybe folks who comment on blogs and who in doing so reveal the worst kinds of hyper partisanship know more than those who’ve at least devoted a serious study to this sort of thing. So guys, hard as this might be, let’s be a little serious.


    • Bandra.NRI Says:


      The details of the study are not clear (or available).

      The graph is definitely not plotting success or popularity as seen by the example of Govinda.

      I don’t think there is enough evidence to conclude this indeed is a study at IIT or if it is, then whether the candidate(s) was barred from making a study of any type ever in his/her life.

      It brings me to a memoir of a CIA agent. The agent was sent to a region of the former USSR to fight communism. Once there he joined the party and became the most vocal hard liner. He rose the party ranks and eventually succeeded in making the common man in the street hate communism by his hard line tactics (in support of communism). When communism fell in that region, he return home and closed the file – Mission Accomplished.

      The above game plan has been used again and again. The best way to destroy a movement (any movement including religions) is to hijack it from within, and then via hard line tactics alienate people away from the target.

      A lot of fans here remind me of that story. They are the Simon Elliot’s ( ) of this blog. they say one thing and desire the opposite outcome.


      • your logic is strange.. you’re not saying ‘let’s look at the details here’. You’re saying ‘because I don’t know the methodology I don’t buy it’! Rather bizarre don’t you think? In a different context it’s like someone presenting a study on cricketers and finding Bradman’s or Sachin’s numbers off the charts, an eminently reasonable opinion. One could then say ‘because I haven’t seen the methodology I don’t buy it’ even though the end result is one people buy anyway!

        Also there’s another slippage in your position. When I read a PhD study on any other subject, history or otherwise, I don’t say ‘let me examine all the methodology like a dissertation adviser before I accept anything’. Using this yardstick we’d all have to be scholars in every conceivable field! The amusing thing here is you’re not saying ‘even though the conclusion of this study seems to be utterly reasonable and one accepted by just about every Indian I’d still like to look deeper into the study to see what the criteria might be and so on’. Instead you’re saying ‘hey what if this was a flunking thesis?’.

        There is a way of making one’s point by engaging in all sorts of rhetorical strategies but never accepting the obvious. I’ve read enough of your comments to see how you follow this course in very many contexts while otherwise ‘posing’ (not being insulting here) as the utterly reasonable, democratic guy simply not trying to compare folks and trying to give everyone their due. I should say bluntly I don’t buy it! Even if I did I would find this stance pitiful. Why? It’s like saying let’s give Sehwag and dravid and Laxman and Ganguly and whoever their due and Sachin too while always carefully avoiding the ‘admission’ that Sachin is far greater than the rest on that list.

        To reiterate where you are concerned my ‘debate’ here is not even about this piece as such, it’s about this larger strategy where I find you shifty and do not quite trust the sincerity of your positions. Again not being insulting or condescending here. I just don’t buy it to be very honest.

        And again it’s strange to buy all kinds of box office numbers from sources obviously compromised or corrupt or both and then insist on the entire dissertation or the methodology when it comes to this kind of claim!

        This will be it from me on this piece.


        • Don’t bother nowadays much here due to unfair moderation issues but couldn’t resist a few random words on this..

          on statistics I have always felt that
          stats are like Legal proceedings- If you manipulate them, you can prove anything –  
          Also Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment –

          I won’t even go into data mining and data grooming at all

          Btw on this Bachchan titled post–

          Y the heck is a post proving Bachchan seniors position needed? Y this continued anxiety?

          As per this orominently displayed graph as p er the “area under the curve”
          U have abhishrek doing better than
          Raj kapoor
          Dilip KR
          no need to even go there

          And when u have so many y issues with that post y was it displayed prominently as a separate thread ie endorsing it
          but when the graph became so obscenely ridiculous backtracking

          Feel poor mr/ms bandra has a point here

          Un/fortunately I usually side with the truth
          and not with whom he is saying it


        • Bandra.NRI Says:

          This defies logic. As given by the Govinda example (many such examples can be provided). Hence it becomes necessary to dig in further.

          But scrutiny is always required (applies to Phd studies). To the extend that I can, I want to be convinced by evidence not by summary statements.

          I have read many studies, for example, one on RED WINE. The summary states that it is overall good for you. The details reveals that over time, some liver damage, even with limited use is guaranteed. It is the fine prints that tell you the benefits can be equally achieved by consuming Concordia Grapes (with zero liver damage). Also it requires some digging to find out that the pro Red Wine study was funded by the wine growers lobby.

          Hence, yes I think just taking a study at face value is not wise. These days Phd are not what they used to be. Knowing the details is absolutely important. We do slip and slide, especially when the summary agrees with our predisposition. But not looking at the details is dangerous. Many a times it has been found that the data has been fudged or doctored in order to provide a desired outcome (viz desired by the sponsor).


        • Satyam

          If you want us (me) to accept that you post without agenda, then it is equally important for you to accept the we (I), likewise post without any agenda.

          Not proper to reserve special privileges for yourself and then deny the same to others.

          Now if there are flaws in my analysis (let’s just restrict to the topic at hand), then say so. You yourself stated that most people are reading it wrong. OK tell us how to read this ?

          Yes, I feel this study is indeed bird brained, and using this to make Amitabh Bachchan look good is counter productive. Therefore, my point is that such debate are insulting. Let’s not hold Amitabh Bachchan ransom to the credibility (validity) of this study. That is the bigger point.

          Hopefully you agree to the bigger point, even if you think my intent is suspect (?).


          • Your evasions continue to be interesting. You could very easily say ‘even though I have doubts about this article or the methodology here [though I know nothing about it because I don’t know the values assigned to each point on the graph] I have no doubt that Amitabh Bachchan is the greatest ever’ or that ‘I reject this piece but what it says about Bachchan isn’t really surprising’. So on and so forth. You constantly avoid saying this.

            Much as recently you started out by suggesting ‘Aamir has this career as a desperation move because he couldn’t match SRK’. When cornered you universalized the whole thing to meaninglessness (‘Aamir cannot be SRK’, ‘SRK cannot be Aamir’, etc etc etc).

            There’s a difference between partisanship which is about shape-shifting and simply picking the line of argument (plausible, implausible or absurd) that will serve one’s end and an ideological orientation where one puts one’s perspectives on the tavel and defends them in every sense. On this note everyone knows what my ideological positions are in every sense much as everyone knows what my preferences are even otherwise. One would have to be pretty obtuse not to get this when I have been screaming from the rooftops on all of this stuff for more than a decade! But the reason many ‘fans’ prefer partisan tactics is because they never want to own up to the facts. As opposed to saying that Aamir has carved a unique prestige for himself where he’s respected more than any other star in his generation or beyond one says stuff like ‘oh he couldn’t become SRK’. Even if he couldn’t that’s quite irrelevant to who he has been since!

            This ‘is’ the debate. I’ve said this before. I never accept ‘sticking to the point’ if I have questions about the person’s larger integrity in these matters. Why? because even the truth when embedded in a certain kind of frame can be made to do the job of a lie. And so all you have to do is support the stars you like and so forth. You don’t have to play this ‘I’m so democratic, I love everyone’ game. And if you want to you shouldn’t give yourself away in the ways I’ve cited.

            The problem isn’t one’s preferences, it’s about the reordering of reality one likes to perform to suit those choices. That’s where my problem begins. otherwise I don’t care who one likes.

            I’ll make the point one more time this way — one might not like a list in which Bradman is the greatest cricketer. But one can hopefully agree that the latter is a fact even if the list is faulty. Because any list whatsoever ought to arrive at the same conclusion. If one isn’t going to accept this and come up with all kinds of strange analogies from the Cold War to wine to what not one is simply making the agenda even more obvious.

            I have nothing more to add here till we can get these essential integrity questions answered. otherwise people say all kinds of crazy things here.


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            I don’t know whether you want to have a conversation or by hook or crook just WIN a debate. I want to be clear that I am not interested in winning anything. I am just having a conversation.

            It is not day because you say it is. It is not night because you say it is. Remember this is not a monologue, we are having a conversation. Hence provide reasons and allow your reasons to speak on your behalf. For sake of coutesy, stop using subjective or loaded word to describe my views. Rather than just use a subjective statement , “it is HOT”, it is better to say “It is 90 degree”, at least I will know what you mean. Otherwise you editorial commentary seem contrived to make your view paramount.

            I do stand by my view that earlier in his career Aamir did want to be more SRK like. But failed. He redirected his efforts to become who he is today. a win win for all. But this is not about Aamir. This is about this thread. Rather than be all over the map, let’s focus on the issue on hand.

            Even though I like Amitabh, I do not suspend logic. I keep my mind open to reality. Sure I agree he is ONE of the great Bollywood stars. Very iconic and charismatic. But there is no way I want or even expect the whole world to agree with me. It does not matter to me if someone does not like him as much as I like him.

            Just remember that I, like you, do like Amitabh. Hence stop trying to paint me as some Protestant while making yourself to be a Catholic. My liking it appears is not enough for you, I have to now like Amitabh as much as you. The fact is that it should be sufficient that we both are Christians (so to speak).

            Coming back to the study. I will repeat that for reason already stated (Govinda), I find the study flawed, but this study does not dent my views on Amitabh. This study does nothing for my esteem for Amitabh.

            Vis a vis this study I believe that a wise enemy is better than a foolish friend. This study is by that foolish friend. In fact those that promotes such bird brained studies do damage, rather than any good. This point I have tried making in various ways. This para is another attempt to make the same point.

            As one human to another, I request you to stop speculating on my intent. Much evil in this world has been done on account of such unwarranted speculations. As I said previously, let’s ASSUME zero agenda, it makes the discussion more fun. I am trying to have a pleasurable conversation, let’s keep it that way.


          • Once again you are making my point! You see how remarkable this is! You will say anything and everything except the one thing that matters. To use my Bradman example again if one has every kind of conversation on him except the one about his being the greatest it means something. Bradman doesn’t depend on anyone’s ‘esteem’! The question then becomes: why does one try so hard to not say the obvious? That is the only question. But sure you can say Bradman ‘is one of the….’. You can say ‘Sachin is one of the…’, ‘Messi is one of the…’ or whatever. All of this still amounts to speaking in denials. Ironically it confirms a certain truth inasmuch as these denials keep dancing around a certain space.

            On the rest what gave you the idea that I wanted to have a conversation?! I think everyone should have the freedom to speak but I’m not obliged to have a conversation with everyone!


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            Are you not missing something ?

            Don Bradman (and his fans) have QUANTIFIABLE records to back his claim.

            This Bollywood stuff is mostly smoke & mirrors.


          • Actually if Bachchan’s records are not quantifiable nothing in this world is. Once again you keep proving the point. Again and again! To just say what you have is the most revealing statement. It’s a bit like saying that since the trade plays games with the numbers, since stars use the trade and media in corrupt ways, so on and so forth, it must be unknowable whether DDLJ or KKHH did a certain kind of business or whether SRK was even doing better than Aamir in the 90s! If it’s all ‘smoke and mirrors’ I wonder how you arrive at the certainty that Aamir was ‘behind’ and hence had to reinvent himself!

            Maybe Delhi 6 did better than OSO or CE? How do we know what really happened? It’s not quantifiable right? There are no numbers that exist beyond a shadow of a doubt as is the case in a Western context. How do we know? Maybe it is just ‘smoke and mirrors’! Why do you even have a problem with these graphs? How do you know what the reality is?

            You see what happens.. when you make it up as you go along you keep contradicting yourself.. I might add not for the first time.


          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            Nope, that is not what I said.

            I can say “this is storm of the century”. I have direct means of measuring the storm. I can use the wind speed, expected rain (in inches) etc to support such a statement.

            But in a like manner, I cannot say this is the fragrance of this century. It is hard to measure fragrance in the same manner as a storm. We can use sales figures and say that this is the best selling fragrance. But because “smell” cannot be quantified, I have no way of saying this the greatest and the best.

            We can compare batting records, bowling records and all things that can be measured, but not concepts, not things that resides in people’s mind.

            Fame is something like fragrance. Fame is a concept, some say just an illusion. It is hard to quantify. Like fragrance we can use BO numbers, yes we can measure that. But we can use these numbers to compare contemporaries at best because these numbers are like TRP (only valid within a limited framework). Hence it not easy to state that someone is THE GREATEST. This is the reason why I try and not compare two celebrities from different eras. I appreciate their work and stop there.

            Within this framework tell me how you want to measure Bachchan’s fame ?


  12. Amitabh Bachchan is an all time legend and there’s no denying that.

    but apart from that Why is a study on Bollywood suddenly carry more weight if it comes from IIT. When did IIT become a specialist on Bollywood?


  13. Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar are missing in the graph. Naseer was never a boxoffice material. What about Sunny deol?
    Joy Mukherjee, Bishwajeet had better bo records than Naseer. If it is only about longevity, it should include Pran too.


  14. bandra.nri,you area good logician.


  15. The full thesis can be found here:

    In simple terms, the thesis covers about 9000 movies and the entire set of actors who have worked in Bollywood since 1913 to 2013.

    What this article claims is that out of all actors and supporting actors who have thus far acted in Bollywood, Amitabh has a graph that is unique.

    The blue curve represents the “overlap” or the number of sets of co-actors that an actor has worked with. In other words, the blue curve represents multi-starrers.

    The red dots are a straightforward representation of number of Filmfare nominations.

    Amitabh’s curve is unique because in spite of working with a multitude of co-stars, he has a very high number of FF nominations, which supports the hypothesis of the author that “We cannot define whether he is a supporting or a lead actor because he always comes out as the lead and defies all predictions and theories. He is very different from others.”

    The blue curve is high for supporting actors. The red dots tend to be high for lead actors. Amitabh has a high proportion of both blue and red points.

    The other important bit from the article is this:

    All leading actors work in a certain limited number of projects, which enables them to remain successful, according to the paper…

    Amitabh Bachchan, however, has worked in far more films than any other lead actor, but still manages to remain on top. He is the only exception to their theory.


    • Dharmendra has a high overlap (blue dots) but very few filmfare nominations. The same is the case with Ashok Kumar and Rishi Kapoor.

      To receive FF nominations working in multi-starrers, or films which have multiple actors, is deemed more difficult than getting nominated in solo starrers. That does make sense, come to think of it.

      To be fair, if one goes through the entire thesis, longevity of an actor’s career is also defined as success, but that doesn’t apply to the above graph.


      • It is indeed amusing to see the contortions that some fans of other stars have to go through trying to deny what they know in their heart to be true – i.e AB’s supreme, unchallenged berth at the top of BW hierarchy. DK probably comes somewhere near , others are lagging far behind.
        They try to reduce it to numbers, where again AB rules.
        But, it goes beyond numbers- the sheer domination, longevity, variety, popularity across all sections, the exalted status amongst all, the erudite,charming dignified persona and above all the shadow cast beyond Bollywood.
        Makes others look like pygmies.
        Even for people who were born later with an iota of honesty and intelligence can see it.
        No study is really needed nor combing through BO numbers.
        There is actually no debate here.


        • AamirsFan Says:

          There is always room for debate. Things like these can never be absolute. But I also get your point. I’m a huge basketball fan and grew up watching Jordan in the 90’s and I cringe at some of the comments today when some consider Lebron the best of all-time. I admit Lebron James is without a doubt the best player in the game of basketball right now but people today easily forget just how dominant MJ was and how he transcended the sport of basketball throughout the entire world. He has the stats, he has the championships, he has the mega sponsorship deals, hell…the guy is still amongst Forbes highest paid athlete (retired for a decade now) because he has his own shoe brand!

          Amitabh was dominant at his peak, in my opinion, there is no comparison right now. And I agree the closest thing to his success and his legacy is probably his own idol, DK. The Khans are probably closest in today’s era but they are three combined and that’s just not a fair argument. SRK you can say would be the nearest as far as success with sponsorship deals, business ventures and successful films but even he pales in comparison. I guess the story is yet to be finished because maybe SRK, Sallu or even Aamir may sustain their success for another decade or so then we *may* put them in the category with Amitabh…individually! Let’s see what happens.


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            In the case of LeBron James Vs Jordan we have their records. These are hard cold facts. In all such debates we can settle the dispute, either by comparing the aggregate or the average.

            But how do we measure fame ?

            I cannot measure how you perceive XYZ. Even if I had this tool, which number should I use, how you perceive XYZ in your mind or in your heart ?

            If push comes to shove, at some point we have to make an assumption that the BO (all revenue generated) represents this measure of fame.

            But then as most have rightly pointed out, Amitabh is beyond numbers. Numbers will not do justice to how we really feel about Amitabh in our hearts (and minds). Sadly, if you use numbers then forget the Khans, forget even Hritikh, Akshay & Ajay, even Emran MAY come out ahead. Unless of course we use the inflation gimmick to artificially inflate Amitabh’s (and his generation of actor’s) numbers. Amitabh (his generation and older) cannot stand stand on their own feet and see eye to eye the present generation, unless of course we avail them the opportunity of standing on an inflation booster.

            The alternate is what I suggest. Don’t go there. This comparing stars is as silly as “my mother is better than your mother” flights that infants have. Appreciate and respect all.


          • I think fame can be roughly measured. I will place Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna on top. One who likes Raj K may not like others and vice versa for every top star.


          • “SRK you can say would be the nearest as far as success with sponsorship deals, business ventures and successful films but even he pales in comparison”.

            It hink this would be limited to films only, as far as business is concerned, Amitabh is nowhere near SRK. SRK is worth close to 4,000 crores with his businesses. I don’t think amitabh is even 10% of that.

            ABCL is nowhere near RedChillies.

            SRK also has hands in many other businesses like VFX, some other company like Indian version of Chucky E Cheese, realestate, etc…

            Some of the other stuff, you just can’t compare because a lot depends on the era. Todays era is totally different from 30 years ago. Imagine doing busines in era when there’s internet, so many other things to do, so many source of entertainment, pirate movies releasing on internet with in few hours, you don’t even have to go to video library to pick up pirate like 20 years ago 🙂 There are just so many factors going against movies of today.

            Back in 60s/70s, about good 50 to 60% movies would make money, now it’s down to 10% or probably less.


    • You explained well about blue dots and red dots.

      Somehow I feel the study is somewhat not really convincing and seems made to order. It shows that one has to work indiscriminately in a number of movies and also win the highly disputable FF nominations.


      • If this study is applied to Hollywood actors, who will be leading?


        • AamirsFan Says:

          On the top of my head I would say Tom Hanks would be at the top…maybe Harrison Ford.


          • thanks.


          • thecooldude Says:

            The boxofficemojo list obviously needs to be sorted as well since actors like Sam Jackson and Morgan Freeman were never a box office pull. Even with Hanks and Ford, you need to take out movies like Toy Story and Star Wars since they were not the reason for the box office success. Hanks had a streak in the 90s which is just unbelievable by any standards. Starting with Forrest Gump in 1994 and ending with Road to Perdition in 2002, everyone of his movies where he was the main draw made over 100M. I don’t think any actor has come close.


  16. I think it is undemocratic to expect everyone to accept anything and everything without question. Everyone has a right to interpret and question.


  17. Inflation adjusted life time collections
    AB has six out of top ten and nine in top fifteen.
    Still want to argue?


    • Amitabh – 11 , Dilip – 4 , Raj Kapoor – 2, Sunil Dutt – 2, Salman – 1, SRK- 1, Aamir -1 Says a lot ..


      • all of the above combined, how many are multistarrer?

        movies that really stood out from the list is Jai Santoshi Ma and Bobby.


        • LOL,THATS ALL YOU CAN SAY! Telling!
          Just think – HOW MANY straight men remember dialogues of DDLJ? And, compare it wth Sholay,Sambha!


          • hmm, DDLJ was a solo starrer, while bachhan was a 2nd lead in Sholay after Dharam.

            Chew on that Sambha.


          • “hmm, DDLJ was a solo starrer”

            agreed.. not like Darr, KKHH, K3G, Mohabbatein, KHNH, KANK (sorry this didn’t work but at least it got an initial), HNY.

            “while bachhan was a 2nd lead in Sholay after Dharam.”

            that must be why Dharmendra became the top star for several years after Sholay..

            One of these days in this world you live in, for which alternate reality would be a dignified term, you must consult whatever the equivalent of a psychiatrist is..

            The other day I issued a sanity warning for the blog. To repeat insanity is ok in small dozes. Those who persist do so on their own risk. All views, counter-views, polemics et all are welcome, even bull is fine in certain dozes. But there comes a point when the blog threatens to be deluged by this stuff. One should be mindful of this. Because a nonsensical discussion breeds others like it. This is why I had to shut off the political stuff. Some couldn’t restrain themselves.


          • This Sholay ‘factoid’ has been argued so many times by mostly ignorant folks. These people do not realize that a Sledgehammer called “Deewar” had released barely a few months before Sholay. It took 2+ yrs to make Sholay. A few industry-changing events namely Zanjeer, Deewar et al had released within that 2 yr span. Amitabh had already become a superstar before Sholay released.
            To say that people went into Sholay thinking of it as only being a Dharmendra film is beyond absurd. Poor Paaji had not even had a Zanjeer level success before the Sholay blitzkrieg. Had the Sholay success actually rubbed off on Dharmendra, he would have been starring in every BigB starrer from AAA to Coolie. He was the original He-Man after all!


          • He also of course had Namak haram where he was commonly perceived to have stolen the show from Rajesh Khanna. he had Benaam. He had Abhimaan. He had Majboor. Even in Roti Kapada aur Makaan where he had a short part he generated buzz for many cross-sections of the audience. It’s in any case a rather weird time to argue against Bachchan in an age when Anand is now more often called a Bachchan film in may quarters (completely unjustly but it’s an index of where Bachchan is). But many of SRK’s fans have been in this propaganda war for ages. The same old recycled arguments. Interestingly their own star has given trying to be Bachchan where once he was foolish enough to at least try.

            And again I like to keep adding this — the only star who had that sort of success even if for a much shorter period of time was Khanna. He was the first superstar for a reason. No other star in Hindi film history before Rajesh Khanna and after Bachchan has had the kind of success they did. They weren’t just massive stars but a culture unto themselves. Bachchan is another story altogether but even the greatest stars otherwise have never matched Rajesh Khanna. Sure longevity counts for something but it isn’t the only thing. Jeetendra lasted much longer than Rajesh Khanna but he isn’t more important to the Bombay film past than Rajesh Khanna. I am a huge Dharmendra fan and of course he was a defining star (though never the top one) for very long, a legend in his own right, but whether even he can trump Rajesh Khanna even from this historical vantage point is extremely questionable.

            In any case all of these debates can be had when there are not brain-dead claims on the other side. The industry called Bachchan everything from 1-10, Truffaut called him a one man industry. The thing with Bachchan’s numbers is truly that they’re ‘impossible’ (as someone said of Messi’s recently) for his peak period but it’s not just about numbers. It’s about the absolute meaning he represents as a figure of Indian popular culture.

            related stuff:

   [extension of this: ]


          • Or let me put it another way. In September 1975, a person could’ve seen Zanjeer at a matinee show in a Tier C center (where it would’ve just released), hopped on a train to a Tier A center, seen Deewar (having crossed its silver jubilee run) at the 6pm show, and then gone on to the next door theatre to see Sholay at the night-show.


          • Zanjeer released in 1973. Sholay and deewar in 1975


          • I know that Krish. Zanjeer released in May 1973, Deewar in Jan 1975 and Sholay in Aug 1975. Which is why I said “see Zanjeer in a Tier C center”. In the old days, Print Production cost was very high, so there were always a finite amount of prints to distribute. The movies always released in big cities and as their run ended in the big cinemas, the prints would then make their way to the next rung of theatres and then the next, etc. The small town and rural theatres (ie Tier C) waited anywhere from several months to more than a year to get a movie released. Especially, if it were a hit film, it would take longer, because the bigger centres would not let go of profitable prints that easily. Zanjeer was a Diamond Jubilee, hence it would not be a stretch to have Zanjeer running in a small centre, simultaneously while Deewar completed its Silver Jubilee in the larger center, and Sholay just released at the same time.


      • Truly, looking at Amitabhs past achievement, he is not even 1% of his past now.


        • Thsi is where Dilip Kumar takes the cake. At around age 70, he did Saudagar where he was the main lead. Came, lived and left like a king.


          • Zayed or Zee or whatever,
            You are sounding like a kid whose toy was taken away!


          • “…left like a king”-

            Ummm…no, he didn’t. His last film, which was well and truly a B-film, had him raping Rekha. I certainly wouldn’t want Bachchan to leave like this. Also forget 70, I would love to see where SRK is when he is say 55.

            BTW I have noticed this pattern that people who are SRK fans quite often try and use Dilip Kumar to make their case when their star is compared with Bachchan. The truth is SRK isn’t half of what Dilip Kumar was leave alone Bachchan.


          • Every Dilip Kumar film that was not with Ghai more or less flopped. Barring Kranti (but we know that these films aren’t multistarrers) and Shakti (though still disappointing by Bachchan’s lofty standards). Some were embarrassingly bad. In any case you’re quite right this has been going on for years. people think that if they go ‘before’ Bachchan they’ll discover something! Of course the whole strategy begs the question — if one believed everything one said about Bachchan what is one protesting so much about?! But again this is an example of what I was just referring to. The nonsensical discussion breeds responses like ours. We try to ‘correct’ things but are sucked into the nonsense. One day SRK’s son will be debuting with Bachchan and these guys will wonder how many hits Bachchan has at 90! This after they forget their whole ‘self-made’ piety about SRK!


          • @Z

            Amitabh’s films are multistarrer for you but you comfortably ignore presence of Raaj Kumar and debutant Vivek Mushran in Saudagar. Dilip Kumar left with the B grade Qila in 1998. Few scenes will tell you what a king like departure he had.


          • The person who left like a King err Queen is Vyjayantimala.


      • even folks like Taran and Nahata not always Bachchan’s best friends (!):

        the Taran video has been made private since but he gave some other examples. This article is a number of years old of course but Bachchan’s record remains timeless!

        But yet again the point is that when argues with the absurd one in a sense has to stoop and it’s best to ignore such stuff.


    • Bandra.NRI Says:

      Does anyone have the real numbers without the inflation booster?


      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        Guys. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade. The fact is I rather join the festivities. But facts are fact, and delusions are delusions. Hence, as much as I dislike what I am about to do, for the sake of honesty and integrity I have to do it.

        I urge you to 1) Check the Base Numbers and 2) Check if all the movies on the list have been inflated by the same factor.

        IF there is a) Selective & random departure from the real base numbers and b) Double/multiple standards (adjustment rates), THEN the raison d’être for this inflation adjusted list will become self evident. 🙂

        But that is not the main problem with this analysis. That is small potatoes. The bigger problem is the LOGIC

        If you say yesterday’s X amount means (X + Rate of Inflation) today THEN you MAY BE right.

        BUT, one cannot use the past to predict the present (or the future). The last Great Recession was in a nutshell because too many people foolishly used the past to predict the future.

        Hence a movie that made X yesterday does not mean that it as good as it made (X + Inflation) today. This is just wishful thinking or unsupported & unreasonable conjecture. Many a times one can say a movie that made X yesterday was lucky it made that much, today it would make nothing.

        Now we can open this further with examples from the economy. But I think I have done my part. I have given you few reasons to chew on. If you still want to believe such list, be my guest. I have nothing to add. I don’t want to play spoil sport.


        • Bandra.NRI Says:

          It is the money that makes money overtime, not the movie. Don’t give the movie the credit for the time value of money.

          This is a debunked old argument. Giving credit fir the work of Peter to Paul.


        • Bandra .. Two points :

          1. So as per you there is no way to prove that Three Idiots was much-much bigger Hit than Dhoom-3 and CE .. because in 4 years so much environmental condition has changed . and no one can use the past to predict the present (or the future).

          2. Ok, we will not adjust .. Can you compare today’s list of all time earners with this list from 80’s and can tell me which Superstar today has 9 of his movies in top 13 all time hits ?

          At least one can gauge what real phenomena was by digging out history (if not witnessed by you) and ask khans or any other superstar today on how many efforts they still need to put on to reach that zenith ?


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            Please do not jump to conclusions and then present that as something I said. Have I said # 1 (In your comment) ? Now I can go into the theory of why I did not say it, but that is getting too deep. As a colleague on this blog please just accept that these matters are something you need to study to understand. I cannot teach/convey this in few sentences or paragragraphs.

            I suspect there exist a couple of others here on this blog who understand stats/finance, and if they have also taken these courses they will endorse this truth.

            For the moment just understand the basic summary. It is money that makes money, not the movie (restricting ourselves to the inflation adjusted list). We can introduce many real life examples here, but this point is so basic that it is not necessary (everyone gets this point). BUT IF everyone here insist, THEN I will provide examples, till then let’s not turn this into a Stats/Finance course.

            The logic flaw in the list is that we are going credit for the time value of money to the movie. It is almost like showing your bank statement and then saying look how wealthy I AM. That is not my money, that is your money.

            In Amitabh’s age & time, Amitabh was a phenom. There were others also, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor etc. One can say that Amitabh was the full porter house whereas the others were just filet-mignon(s). But one needs to recognize that filet mingnon is not chopped liver. Also (moving away from the poter house /filet mignon), that Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor each had a segment/market that they too dominated. The bottom line is that was then, and this is now. There is very little similarities between the two era except they both occurred in Bollywood. It is returning to your home town after 30 years and not being able to recognize it (new roads, new buildings, new people, new attitude).

            We could have avoided all this mud slinging if we had just believing in live and let live.


          • actually you don’t know what you’re talking about on those other stars. Either this is complete ignorance on your part or a deliberate agenda. But again how do you know? You said you can’t measure fame so that’s out the window. You cannot rely on numbers (which would make the opposite case from yours anyway) so how do you know?

            I hate to keep bringing this up but from this hole you’ve dug for yourself there’s no escape.


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            You will perhaps find this funny.

            I was once talking to guy from Delhi. He used water, H2O in his argument. He said his star was the Oxygen and hence there were two aspect to the revenue (one hidden and another visible). Thereby he multiplied all the BO numbers by two to inflate the market of his favorite.

            He would keep on saying, don’t you know two molecules of hydrogen are attached to every one molecule of oxygen. He would ridicule everyone into submission.

            But then someone had to say to him that while we agree to the structure of water, what does that have to do with the BO ?

            Here we are in the same situation we agree to inflation etc, what does that have to do with the movie ? This is fake science (misapplication of science).


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            Your editorial comment just suits your narrative. Given this is a debate and we don’t agree then your disagreement is par for the course. You don’t have to tell me via your editorial comments that you disagree. There would be no debate if we agreed.

            I am not in a hole because you say so. Make your case. Let your reasons speak. If I am in a hole than burry me, can you ? If not now then when ? If I am in a hole then the advantage is all yours.

            Therefore let’s debate rather than say in different ways, “I disagree”.

            I have no agenda to make Dharmendra & Co look good, but tell me do you have an agenda to them look bad ? Either we accept neither of us have an agenda or you accept that you have an agenda to make Dharmendra & Co look bad.

            I like to believe you have no agenda. My discussion is in good faith.


          • that’s another non-response from you. And in case you don’t realize it you’re already buried. With the terms you set out, with the logic you used. Not mine! You cannot make any claim about any star. You shouldn’t be part of any such debate. Because of the things you have said. You can’t measure fame, you can’t depend on any numbers. How then do you know anything? Not that I expect you to respond to this. It will either be a straight non-answer or the pretend sort that involved idiotic (yes let’s stress this word) analogies. One has the right to say anything (not here though but as a general matter) but no one is obliged to give everything the same weight. You’ve been saying what amounts to utter nonsense on this entire debate. And it’s utterly dishonest too. You’re doing exactly what you accuse others of when it comes to politics. These are the tactics politicians use. of course one wonders how you ‘know’ anyone did that. What quantifiable, verifiable evidence do you have against Modi for example? So forget the movies your logic doesn’t hold anywhere else either. Which is not surprising. Because it’s simply dishonest and meant to advance a position.

            As for me having an agenda on Dharmendra on anyone else don’t make me laugh.

            By the way I have an ideological agenda. Have been saying it forever. But I like to keep it separate from the facts. And it’s different from having an agenda on a particular star. But there is always this propaganda effort (a rather juvenile one at that) that works this way: if I say Messi is one of the greatest or Maradona is or Pele is and then if someone else says that Suarez is one of the greatest in the same way, the one supporting the latter claim pretends he (or she) is no more or less biased than the one supporting those three. If one says Lincoln is the greatest president the other side might say it’s Ronald Reagan and then we get (by your rights) into another unknowable zone. Different eras, radically different histories, no way to quantify the two, so on and so forth. In other words one cannot really say whether Bill Clinton is greater or FDR. Who knows? hey we can’t compare! Different era, FDR got WWII, the Depression, he could run for 4 terms. Clinton couldn’t do any of these. Who knows?! Maybe John Major is a greater PM than Thatcher. Again how does one compare?! We could keep playing this game and every single historic achievement in any field wouldn’t mean anything. We could move on to artistic fields, scientific ones and so on.

            All of this involves absurdity at every level. I still give you some credit by calling you dishonest because if you really believe what you’re saying, if you actually accept this logic you should be fired from your job! I mean this very sincerely. Because to actually believe all of this would imply a gross kind of incompetence!


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            I not saying all what you claim that I am saying. Let me speak for myself and you speak for yourself.

            This debate now boils down to the two issues I have bought to the table. You can contribute to it or divert it into Dharmendra. Sure I used them as an example too but that was never the main debate.


          • one more non-response. I think others can judge what’s been going on!


          • Bandra .. do you have any idea what u are saying ? Atleast i am completely lost .. the things which i can infer from all your responses is “Please pardon me, i am writing shit” .. that’s all.


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            Stop battling the wind mill.

            You create a straw man for your convenience and then set about battling that straw man.

            This issue is not about making Dharmendra look good. This issue is not about making Amitabh look bad.

            I am waiting for you to respond on how you can attribute the time value of money to the movie ?

            If that is not possible then at least lets discuss base number and inflation rates.

            Stop diverting this into a debate about presence/absense of agenda.

            I fail to understand how being respectful to all (my stance) is NOT GOOD, but underminingc every star is GOOD

            I almost regret asking the above question because you will now try to further divert attention.

            Will the real Satyam please stand up.


          • I’ll clock this down to one more non-response on your part. By the way ‘playing dumb’ this way is getting quite stale.


          • Yakuza

            I have treated you with respect. Let’s talk about this without personalizing it.


          • “but undermining every star is GOOD”

            Bandra, did you just join this blog?


        • Bandra

          I would not read the link Rajen has supplied as facts. But I don’t think that is what is trying to be peddled here either.
          Obviously any comparison between era to era where inflation is involved (and the mere fact of infrastructure, where the country’s people are in terms of standard of living, purchasing power etc.) won’t be correct. It is not designed to be correct.
          The website will be as false as BOI or IBOS or Taran or Komal have been for a number of years! As incorrect as I was too when flaunting numbers out of my arse! The REALITY is the indian box office is a farce when it comes to numbers from Day 1 and the media is equally corrupt and inept to interpret what ever numbers are thrown at them. Countless times, they have interpreted gross as net or worldwide as india etc. either inflating or deflating totals.


          Forget the numbers for a second. Forget the science and thought behind how this was created. The idea a table like this is trying to create is a story of sorts. Or a pattern or a trend. It is not perfect. It is trying to create a certain “order”. And the “order” might not be right but the structure is probably not that far off either.

          If you asked me how to read the this table I would start with a reference point. My reference point would probably be 3 Idiots which is for all arguments sake the top grosser of this time and the other reference point would be Sholay for which the following point might not be “fact” but it would be fair to say is the most popular Bollywood film of all times. You don’t need science for that – i.e. you don’t need Science to tell you the sky is blue today. If you are colour blind you might, but even then you would ask 20 people and if 18 of them said its blue the likelihood is you would believe them. The other reference point would be Mughal E Azam and probably Hum Aapke Hain Koun.

          So my first “assumption” is Sholay is the most loved film of all time. I hope most would agree – heck I have not even seen the damn thing! But I have not seen Gone with the Wind or Casablanca or Citizen Kane but through discussion, reading, data, tv, media, articles over years and years I have come to know these films are significant. Sometimes you do not need to “live” through the era or “be there” to know what is “widely” accepted as much as Shakespeare was 600 years ago but he would make any list of the greatest authors of all time. Science is not “required” to prove everything when every school for donkeys years teaches Shakespeare!

          Sholay is 715 crore
          MEA is 568 crore
          HAHK is 338 crore
          3 Idiots is 280 crore

          I’d saying looking at these figures that the recent films are being just a tab penalised but I would not argue with this “order” as a matter of petulance. 3 Idiots is relatively close to HAHK which is fair but people do quickly forget how huge HAHK was. That film ran for ages and had a unique release with no promos, limited prints, bought people thronging back to cinemas. So possibly I think HAHK should be more like 400 crore and 3 Idiots 300 crore. MEA probably more like 500 crore and Sholay 600-650 crore. But the story is still very similar.

          But my point would be these reference points are not particularly silly or far stretched. NOTE this is NOT ME saying these films would make THIS MUCH in TODAYS TIME. This is NOT HOW I READ THIS DATA. I read it as a relative “ordering” of films – say the most “popular films of all times” and I even I would have move a couple of films here or there (i.e. no Gadar on the list is a surprise or possibly even Maine Pyar Kiya) but if you highlight a few reference points and compare the figures it’s not far stretched.

          I might be blowing crap but think about Sholay and its cast. It had the top 2 stars, with their wives as pairings. A villain who became a craze. Another highly successful actor Sanjeev Kumar. The script and the type of film was “new” for the audience. The combustible elements are huge.
          Now imagine a film with say SRK and Aamir with Madhuri and Kajol. Say Big B is also in the film. Say a new villain, who plays the role to the T makes his mark in the film. Say it is a great film and absolutely hits the mark with the audiences. Say the script is loved. Say the lines are loved. Say it is a film for our ages. Say it has an awesome soundtrack. Say it was made 10 years ago when all the stars were at their “peak” age and they “looked” the part.

          Now imagine what that FILM could make today. I am not justifying the 715 crore for Sholay but can you not see that SUCH a film would dwarf 3 Idiots. It would probably canter to a 250 crore first week and possibly go at least 500 crore – it is not a stretch to imagine these things when the “right” film with the “right cast” and the “right” timing coincide. In the overseas it would simply be historic in any sense.

          I think what this table tells me is 1) the quality of the films today relative to our tastes are not as good as the quality of films yesterday relative to the tastes yesterday 2) there is more choice today for sure entertainment wise but isn’t India better “economically” in the last 10 years than ever before? The purchasing power today is better – so there is that compensation against the “more to do today” argument. The mere fact that we can watch dvds, do other entertainments etc. should spell to you that we are “richer” economically. So we do have more choice, we also have money than yesterday.

          To re-iterate I don’t take the numbers here as fact, but the relatively ordering has a fairly secure story to tell. The list can be refined in certain ways to shift things about but the certain reference points I have eluded to, make sense to me “even” if I have not “lived” through that period. In fact I don’t need to “live” through it to have some level of acceptance.

          The other debate on Big B being the biggest. I’ll say this, when I was growing up in the early 90’s it was always a dual contest between Big B and Dilip. It could be because they both had presence at the time, but the “feed” I was getting from talk/media/articles/tv was they were equal, so in my mind they were equal.

          I think the difference or separation of this happened in the late 90’s. With KBC, the comeback it put Big B back into the limelight and almost as if history being re-written. I would agree that Big B has made some horrendous choices and possibly hurt his filmography but by what he has done well in the last 15 years (KBC, some good films and performances) he has kept his “brand” alive. This has propelled his position ahead of Dilip Kumar as keeping a “brand” alive and still creating some success has propelled his past stardom into today’s limelight. It creates a connection, a passage for “today’s” viewers to peak into the past, because the past is present today.


          • Well said, Jayshah. Very well explained.


          • One more point. Bachchan could reinvent himself and he today as relevant as he was in those times. In those times too, he was far ahead in terms of acceptability which lasted for a very long period till now.


          • Even a very well liked film wont run for more than a month, forget jubiless as it was in the past. And the ticket prices are too high to sustain a film to run forever. The films which had potential to run for a long time wound up after the third week. Inspite of the most popular star starring in. 2 recent films which ran like a dream were YJHD and CE and to some extent Kick. All had highly popular stars and yet they could not reach 300 crores. Kahani, OMG and EV were liked so much but they could not make even 100 crores. After 4th week, a film loses steam and becomes dated nowadays. They look forward to the next movie. Because there is internet, piracy, time consuming trips to theatres etc.


          • Bandra.NRI Says:


            The two issues that I put on the table are clearly stated.

            One you cannot use inflation for this purpose.

            Two, even if for some reason we look beyond this fatal flaw, the base number and the discount rates have been fudged. Take for example the 715 Cr, now reverse this calculation using the standard 8% over 39 years, you will get almost 32 Cr. Now you know that Sholay did not make 32 Cr. You will find the rai·son d’ê·tre, if you go down that list and connect the dots.

            Now given the above (you said you accept or understand), these numbers and any discussion using these numbers are equally flawed. YOU need to make a case without using them.

            I agree for any era there are reference points. For me MI, MEA, MGMD, Sholay, Pakeeza, DDLJ, 3I, CE, D3 provide these reference points.


          • The same website has 15 crore nett figure for Sholay. So where is your 8% coming from?
            In any case I am not saying the numbers are correct.


          • Jay

            In most such long term calculations 8% is the standard rate.


          • What is the source?


          • Bandra … “Now you know that Sholay did not make 32 Cr. ”

            Yes .. Sholay didn’t make 32 Cr .. It was 35 Crore Nett .. 70 Crore Gross .. and 25 Crore distribution share.

            You want proof ?? I have tens of links to prove .. but problem is will you buy anything ?? NO .. so this is worthless.


          • Jay

            This is getting too predictable.

            You did not raise any issue about source, base numbers, and inflation rate while propagating the flawed inflation adjusted list.

            Now you seek due-diligence ?

            Why ? Just so that the discussion can be diverted ?

            Also why when you already agree with both the issues that I have raised ?


          • It only takes your 8% to be 10% and then the numbers are closer. That’s why i am asking. But if you don’t have a source than so be it. Plus you have decided the data is shit based on the 8% so its only fair to know where that is from.


          • Jay

            If I use US Dollar Vs Rupee (only because FX is the most widely traded commodity and hence least fudged data) I get an Inflation rate of around 4. (Less Than).

            All methods have plus and minuses, I have used a method that can be easily verified.

            Now why this needs to be verified, is obvious. Anytime you submit something it has to be endorsed or at least (as in our case) easily verifiable from credible authority.

            Well, Instead of 4, I used 8 (Standard Text Book).

            If I had used 4, it would have meant Sholay made approx 86 Cr.

            As you can see even HAPKHK made less.


          • Ok thanks that’s all i wanted to know.


  18. Is there any surprise in this list ?? No .. India Today top 10 list from 1985 is similar .. 6 were starring Amitabh .. check here ..


    • And earlier we have posted a link from India today … Of 13 All time grossers, 9 was starring Amitabh … Sholay, Amar Akbar Anthony, Jai Santoshi Maa, Deewar, Dharam Veer, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Laawaris, Suhaag, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Andhaa Kaanoon, Coolie, Naseeb, and Kranti.

      This is link ..

      Some other points from this link :

      Zamjeer touched the Rs.1 crore mark in the Bombay territory and has earned not less than Rs.80 lakh in every major territory in the country. This comes to around 6.5 Crore Nett business.

      Till may 1984, Coolie sold 7 Crore tickets (in 6 months).

      Namak Halal, his 1982 mega-release, has netted Rs.1 crore in Bombay and commands packed houses even now (1984).

      Muqaddar Ka Sikander, made in 1977, fetched Rs.90 lakh in the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh territory in the first 18 months(Industry standard) though the distribution rights were sold for a measly Rs.25 lakh: the revenue from Muqaddar Ka Sikander now approaches a staggering Rs.1.2 crore in each of the major territories.

      Naseeb(1981) ran in London’s art theatre circuit for many months as cult cinema, and is screened even now(1984) to packed auditoria.

      Industry standard of lifetime business was 18 months, though almost every bachchan movie earn 30-50% more business in over and above 18 months period.


    • But i know .. today’s whiz kids not interested or do not want to see any such proof of incredible hysteria from any other star from past .. because this hurt them to see that their fav star has still miles to go …


      • can we talk about present or does it hurt to see your fav in the position he is today?


        • Yes it hurt to see your fav still struggling … none of current stars leverage out the benefit of current business model to stand lonely on top .. like bachchan for two decades .. one to ten.


  19. Just a minor correction from my side: the blue curve in the graph most probably represents the ‘volume’ of films that any actor has done, over a given period of time. The authors describe it as “overlap” with other co-actors but don’t explicitly define how this overlap is calculated.

    My first guess was to think of overlap as “multi-starrers” and while that can be a factor in determining overlap, considering the fact that the study takes into account all the films and all the actors from Bollywood history, it has to be linked more with the number of films rather than just multi-starrers. (More number of films=more chances of working with co-actors)

    Having said that, the conclusion still remains the same. In the simplest of terms, this study states that Amitabh has acted in abnormally high number of films as a lead actor and maintained a certain level of quality in terms of performances (characterised by FF nominations). That’s the unique bit about him.

    Other lead actors hardly work in as many films and while there are examples of actors who do work in a lot of films, they tend to get little recognition in terms of their performances. That’s the gist of it.

    The title of the article describes Amitabh as a statistical oddity…an outlier. That’s not a startling revelation by any means, but it’s still good to know that there’s some mathematical rigour that supports what people already seem to know.

    The next question that comes to mind is this: Is Amitabh’s overall career as big a statistical oddity as Bradman’s average of 99.94?


    • Saket, great seeing you here after a long time. Hope all’s well..


      • Thanks, Satyam.

        I’m all right…haven’t seen many films, so haven’t really commented much.

        It’s interesting to note that this article has sparked a huge discussion on the Box Office, when the study is about actors, per se…


    • “In the simplest of terms, this study states that Amitabh has acted in abnormally high number of films as a lead actor ”
      This is what I allude to in my previous comment about someone being able to watch Zanjeer/Deewar/Sholay in different places on the same day. From 1974-1984, there was an absolute Amitabh bonanza at the movies. He had at least 4 releases every year, and a very high hit ratio, which meant that more of his movies were doing silver/golden/diamond jubilees. Due to the logistics of print distribution (as has also been alluded in this link there would be an Amitabh movie playing in at least one theatre in any Tier A center. Other actors simply did not have that kind of universal appeal. There actually was a mass hysteria for Amitabh during those ten years. And to top it all, this was also the period in which the FIlm Media imposed a ban on Amitabh! So he had no way to promote his movies through the print. It did not deter him in anyway.


  20. Ohhhh! one more fraudlent method being used to to prove the point that Bachchan is beyond reach at boxoffice.The laughworthy thing is Sholay at 750.Has Indian market grown upto that level? Can any movie touch that figure in domestic market? Leave domestic aside, even worldwide looks impossible.So these gentlemen are presuming that Sholay would have collected this much in present time.These la la land people doen’t accept the reality.This inflation adjustment theory is total nonsense and the fact is that Sholay had collected around 15cr on earth.I have no information of its collections on other planets and for that some gentlemen can throw light here.


    • 60+ Crore gross, 30 Crore Nett, 22 Crore Distributor share, 25 Crore ticket sale,This is sholay data available till mid 80’s … And it was collecting 40 Lakhs per annum even till mid 90’s (From India today, 1995) … so you can add another 8 Crore in above figure.


    • Bandra.NRI Says:



      Can the market (demographics and distribution penetration) available to support the INFLATION adjusted numbers ?

      This is why I said in the very beginning that all such fake science examples are counter productive.


      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        * Is the market


      • Mmarket is available .. but we don’t have combination of Star pull and Good content in order to attract audience …. 200 Crore was unthinkable when Three Idiots was released, it was laughable figure before it, because except Ghajini no movie was able to cross even 100 Crore .. but Three Idiots proved that market is always here .. with greater star pull Three Idiots could have done even 300 Crore …

        Potential is realized only when there is some product which have ability/power to utilize maximum .. today both have diluted .. during 80’s .. 90% of India was bachchan fan, now it is divided between 4 Khans and Kapoor, Kumars etc .. Content is not even passable .. they are remaking movies having already known/predictable storylines ..

        to sum all, today makers/actors combination don’t have ability to maximize the available potential ..


      • you have this mysterious position (which I took apart earlier in this thread so I’ll keep it brief) where unless any older number is verifiable in a Hollywood sense you consider it suspect but somehow you consider contemporary numbers to be fine or at least reflective of some reality. My question to you again would be (based on your claims): how do I know DDLJ did more than Rangeela? How do I know OSO did more than TZP? But then let’s get to comparing ‘fame’ (again your claim). How do I know SRK was more ‘famous’ than Akshay Kumar in the 90s? How does one quantify this? Since the numbers presumably don’t tell us.

        This is not a caricature. It is precisely your position. You just start using it selectively when it comes to Bachchan. I’m just universalizing it. If you can now tell me what your ‘methodology’ is to determine numbers or fame perhaps we can move forward!


      • here’s the slippage in all such claims about market adjusted data and so on.. the idea that ‘there are distractions today’ or ‘the market is different’ etc. First off one can look at a lot of this stuff, complicated as it might be, provided there’s some honesty to the debate. If the aim is to always justify lesser results today one is starting off with an agenda.

        One could say that Bradman had a 99+ average but that he played against one team pretty much. Or that there was one major team for him, the rest didn’t quite matter. it certainly isn’t like today where there are many more teams and many more competitive teams. Now what’s wrong with this claim? No one in Bradman’s era ever came remotely close to his average or his scoring and so on. So if it were only about that era many other great players (not Bradman but great) should at least have come somewhat close to his mountain of numbers. Now when you get to a more modern era you have to start making allowances for many things. But what happens here? If you have a great enough talent you get Sachin. So in a completely different era an order of greatness is still possible that can be put up against historic milestones. The debate can begin. The problem is that with SRK you have neither one nor the other. In fact my whole point has for very long been not that he is inferior to Bachchan (this analogy is too absurd to be taken seriously) but that in his own era, by the standards of his own era he has never had an extraordinary box office record. He’s been the most iconic star, he’s been a symbol of new India, he’s obviously been successful (though all of this ought to be unknowable for you) but he’s not had the kind of record that would be proportionate to his name otherwise.

        Similarly in Bachchan’s age he was called ‘1-10’ for a reason. No one else seemed to be taking advantage of that era in the same way!

        The other problem with this whole ‘age is different’ argument is precisely Hollywood. The most distracted society on the planet probably and they regularly throw up hits that can be compared with older ones because they display not just the absolute scale but a certain minimal level of trending. One doesn’t even have to go as far as James Cameron for this.

        But even in Bollywood from a number of Aamir films in a number of genres to some other examples elsewhere you can still get trending and you can also get this coupled with big openings. It happens less often than Hollywood or less often than Tamil cinema because we make disposable films not meant to last the distance. No one wants to accept this honestly upfront and then when big openers trend poorly one pretends there are other reasons. All three of Hirani’s moves trended well or very well. Surely there’s no mystery here!

        In any case, and for years, this entire set of claims meant to justify the present have been a huge smokescreen. But of course where you are concerned it doesn’t even come down to this because I wonder how you know SRK’s doing better than Saif or is bigger than Saif?


    • Will agree with one thing – if 3 idiots, a film that everyone from dada-dadi to pota-poti watched, couldn’t do anywhere close to 750 crore 4-5 years back, then there is no way in hell Sholay would have done that kind of business.


      • Yes it can, easily.

        Take 200 crore that 3I made and add to it 550 crore for inflation and you have the 750 crore number, it’s that easy.

        Mind you, 3I was playing on thousands of screens, not like the days of 70s when movie would release on about 100 to 150 screens thru out india. My small town got Sholay print about 1 year after the movie released.


      • Henry, everyone from Dada-Dadi to Pota-Poti watched 3I but with a repeat value far far lower than Sholay. There is simply no way that 3I had the same number of footfalls as Sholay did. Sholay ran for years in several places, on the strength of its repeat viewings. I can bet you that 3I was not watched as many times as Sholay was. The VCR/piracy scrouge started only around 1982 onwards, after the Asiad (ie, the moment when GOI allowed color TVs into the market). Until then, people had simply no way to watch movies, except to go to the theatre. So Sholay had 7 solid years of runs in some places. Only after the VCR revolution started, did the repeat viewing bonus enjoyed by Bwood started waning. By the mid-80s, BO had indeed started getting massively impacted. Is it any co-incidence that the 70s was the decade of the biggest Blockbusters? With an inbuilt audience, and full copyright protection, resulting in repeat viewership bonus, the producers had minted like never before. And they all had one Golden Horse to ride on: Mr Amitabh Bachchan.
        From the mid-80s to mid-90s, there were no ATBBs, not until the Khan trio started. And even their biggest ATBBs have not compared to the ones from the 70s.


        • That’s why this inflation theory does not work because there are so many factors like piracy, dvd players, influx of other entertainment options etc.


          • But the population also grew 4 times in the last 40 yrs. So there were more eyeballs being created with every passing year, even though these other factors did play a role. One can argue it both ways, nevertheless, the fact remains that the BO performance and ROI of those 70s movies was far ahead.
            One can be a Khan fan, without ever stepping into a theatre and seen all their movies on VCR/Torrent downloads. But one could not be a fan of a 70s actor without having paid for it.


          • “But one could not be a fan of a 70s actor without having paid for it.”

            Correct. I remember for Naseeb and Qurbaani, in my town 2 theatre played same movie and they would send the print of 1st half to other theatre during interval.


        • how many screen Sholay released on and how many screen 3I released on?

          I think more and more the # of days needed to make x number of boxoffice collection will continue to reduce.

          At one time movies would release on 100 screens, Kick released on 4,000 screens. One can say that what Kick will make in 1 week with 4,000 screens, it will take 40 weeks for that same movie if it’s running on 100 screens only.


          • Sholay did not fizzle out in 40 weeks! Kick fizzled out in 2 weeks, even 3I pretty much wrapped it up in 5 weeks. Sholay prints were used for fillers in the late 80s, on days when a theatre had nothing to put up. So was the case with AAA, MKS, Naseeb, even Kranti, RTGM etc. The prints of these movies would be sought by people who even exhibited them in rural fields, with the projector being powered by generators. Have you ever experienced that? Pay Rs5 and sit through the movie with the Generator drowning out the audio. Yet, people would clap and whistle at every dialog. There was a fantabulous in-built revenue generation mechanism during those years. You just need to wrap your mind around the idea that a movie could not be seen unless the print was run on a projector, and there was price to be paid for renting that print.


          • “exhibited them in rural fields, with the projector being powered by generators. Have you ever experienced that? Pay Rs5 and sit through the movie with the Generator drowning out the audio”

            Yes I have, I had watched mithuns Jeene Ki Aarzoo on an open field but the ticket price was Rs1.

            In my time and in my town, the movie tickets were Rs2 for 3rd class, Rs 3 for First Class and Rs4 for Balcony.


          • @NyKavi .. leave 80’s .. I recorded this few seconds footage from a Ghaziabad video cinema in 2012 .. they were playing Naseeb(1981) and you can see show was houseful .. i just went in and record few seconds .. and came out as ambience was not too good to sit for long. I asked from ticket counter about seating capacity .. he said 800, and ticket price was 20/- .. 🙂


          • I cant remember when I had watched Shakti in an open field. Perhaps it was 1991, and I do remember paying Rs 5 for it.
            I have watched Sholay in all types of theatres, from Mumbai to Bhilwara. Watched MKS first time in a theatre in Ahmedabad. My first BigB moment, We were late, as usual, and at 8 or 9 years old, I step into the theatre with Amitabh riding a bike and Kishore crooning “Rote Hue…”
            I don’t think that the magic of cinema, which was left imprinted on young impressionable minds of that age, can be recreated anymore. Not when babies can see their first image on a 70inch screen at home. And thus, to recreate that moment, back in the 70s, one would HAVE to go the theatre. I wonder if schoolkids even bunk school to go watch movies anymore? Why would they if they can just watch Netflix on their Iphone??
            So, can one even account for those footfalls that have been lost by theatres?


          • NyKavi,

            Agree, that feeling is lost with todays movies because there’s so many other avenue of entertainment. Remember when even TV Serials were watched like a religious ceremony?

            Now there’s just so much of so many things, it’s all divided.

            I had watched many films by then but the movie which left most imprent on me was Satte Pe Satta, simply because me coming from small town in Gujarat and we were in Bombay and went to I think Maratha Mandir. First theatre I had went to which had carpet. and the screen was so big. I still remember it like it happenned yesterday.


          • You know what else was fun, watching the small clips of movies for 10 paisa at the local mela. Usually they were about 5 minutes or less.

            Where have those days gone.


          • Yes, I have done that as well. Once went to a riverside mela in PanchMahal district, perhaps in 1982.
            Wonder if they still have those billboards on wheels, advertising the next release. A guy would push this throughout town, and another guy would carry a loudspeaker and blare out the name and showtimes. Or even billboards on tonga and rickshaw, with a guy sitting at the back blaring through the loudspeaker!
            The craziest FDFS was for Shahenshah, I found myself at Al-Nasr in Muscat. This huge group of Pathans had blocked everyone so they could get tickets. Never seen a mass of Pathans dance in the aisles, and whistle at every dialog of Amitabh!



    When it comes to Big BoB — Big Box Office Bucks — who’s the biggest of them all? A debate on who is the “greatest” Hindi movie star of all time can go on forever, but money talks louder than critics.

    So Big BoB should be at least a realistic gauge of star value. So, who’s made the Big BoB in Bollywood? Dilip Kumar? Rajesh Khanna? Shah Rukh Khan? Nope. An ETIG study reveals that Big B — The Bachchan himself — is also the Big BoB!

    Amitabh Bachchan tops the list of actors delivering the maximum box office collections for films between 1940 and 2006, according to the study based on Bollywood trade estimates. Behind him come Dilip Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan.

    Full article -


  22. This whole Bachchan comparison thread is so pointless and purposeless!!!!

    There is no debate here as we are talking about different times / different sensibilities / options and distractions and the way stars were idolized. What we see now is people getting into these prejudiced deliberations which are largely amplified due to religion mix though I must admit exceptions are always there on both sides. To Srk’s credit and general indian liberal thought process, he has largely overcome that hurdle and been able to make a mark on the Indian cinema and in the process amassed huge wealth and there is nothing more to it. He is now using movies and television to further his business and indulging in all kinds of acrobatics and fraternization to be relevant. He had abandoned the creativity path when he opted out of 3Idiots / Robot type movies midway to do Ra1 and Rab ne or may be it was just plain cockiness.

    Bachchan even with all the wealth and prestige he has amassed which is amplified due to inclusion of son and high profile daughter in law , at core remains a creative person and still offers something beyond the rut to his viewers via his movies / tv chats / blogs and twitter world which has added to that aura and given him a depth and following which I doubt anyone can replicate in near future.
    Though I would say in all honesty kal kissee ne nahi dekha hai. The chocolaty Khan era was supposed to be over the minute romance was gone from movies but look how they remain relevant in this masala / action age where aamir reinvents with one ghajini and salman with a Wanted….

    I personally feel there is no comparison in talent between the two and srk may have been a good actor before but he exposed himself wide open when he did the buffoonery act of Don to utter surprise of one and all and this to a movie where Bachchan was better than his usual self and must have been one of his best acted movies. In Nov/Dec 2006 for the first time industry stopped talking about srk as a star actor and he was simply referred as superstar / megastar / king….

    At the end all I would request the bloggers here please do not demean Bachchan by comparing him to SRK since there is not only difference in their age and physical stature but vast difference in competency level too.


  23. I am not supporting any star.
    Amitabh is definitely the biggest star in bollwood. There is no point arguing about it. He was a complete package(mass entertainer/acting/comedy/action etc). Even now we can watch his 70/80’s movies on tv.

    But that era was different and every era is different. Todays stars(like khans/Roshan/Kumar) are also big but they lack something or the other. But i feel todays competition is such more than 70/80’s.


    • It’s much harder currently, it’s not only competition amoung peers but you have to overcome all other stuff like internet, piracy, other sources of entertainment, movies from USA, etc…


  24. Once again I see Z here among others pulling out this red herring. So let’s state it again. The ‘lie’ must be combatted each time it is brought up. Why can’t movies today have the trending of Ghajini or Singham or 3I or OMG or Kahani or ZNMD or Rajneeti more often? I’ve covered every genre here pretty much. And of course there are even more little multiplex films that have done it. But sticking to the big films if those can do it why not others? What happens to all those alternative forms of entertainment and what not then?!

    What about Hollywood? Forget Cameron, there are so many films all the time that trend well. Hollywood doesn’t even accept a film that does not trend minimally irrespective of how many millions it makes!

    One could add Tamil cinema to the list. or Telugu cinema.

    In essence you have a number of contemporary industries including Bollywood where big openings are matched by good or good enough trending. It’s not surprising that when you make junk films you don’t get such trending. But this was NEVER true. Bachchan had only 6 flops between 1973 and 1986 or films that actually lost money in some sense. Why? because these had initials of course but also trended minimally well. The jubilees are all about trending. And once more other stars in that age did not have a tenth of the record that Bachchan did. Now is it true that the market was in some sense greater? Yes! But why was that the case? Because they included the greatest cross-section of the audience! This is something some of us had been saying for years and the folks on the other side pretended this wasn’t the case. Except that the tide turned and even this kind of debased masala gets the sort of initial (all else being equal) that multiple-only films simply cannot manage. Similarly if these were better films these would have much better trending as well. It’s quite an irony when SRK himself joins the masala bandwagon as often as he can but he known where the biggest numbers lie. If you shrink your pie as Bollywood did for so long you cannot expect the biggest numbers!

    So again these claims are made like propaganda all the time. Either the folks making them are pretty dumb and display alarming levels of stupidity or else they do it on purpose. I am going to be kind and say it’s the latter though it might well be both.

    Now it is absolutely true that cinema has lost its transcendence. It did so a long time ago. But it does not follow from this that films cannot trend well or whatever. But also if one accepts this one should also say that today’s stars have less meaning. So again even with a false claim you can’t just pick and choose. You have to accept its entire logic. Much as today there’s an enormous amount spent on marketing and more or less shoving the film down everyone’s throat. Mysteriously the same folks never wish to talk about this. Older films didn’t have a fraction of such advertising.

    The truth simply is this, West or East. if you make a good enough film it will work. If you have a bankrupt industry with garbage being dished out most of the time and if you then support this same stuff in the media and elsewhere you can’t expect better things to happen. The audience is also responsible though the fact that these films don’t trend well while the better ones do shows something even about them.

    A good analogy here is with TV in the US which for 15 years or more has been enjoying a renaissance and many would say the greatest age in its history. How did this happen in such a distracted age in probably the most distracted society? Because once again Hollywood started making junk films for the most part and TV did the opposite (for whatever reason.. this is a different discussion). And so you now have shows that run on what used to be the major networks, those on extended cable (which most people have), and finally those on premium channels. Now you even have Netflix into the game. This is the ‘entertainment’ that dominates the conversation the way cinema once did. Why? it’s authentic. In the most distracted society people constantly take time out to watch these shows or DVR them or get them on DVD later. House of Cards (Netflix) was a sensation even without a TV release. And it’s not surprising either. Any sane person could compare most of Hollywood (the better stuff) with these shows and in most cases if not all would prefer the latter.

    Ultimately a consumption paradigm leads to certain excesses, often marketing becomes everything. But when it comes to story-telling of any kind there is still a huge space for someone who actually wants to tell a story. For the rest there is only the marketing and sure a film can be sold like a product. You can get people in. But you can’t make them love it.

    Whether it was past Bombay film eras, whether it’s the contemporary Tamil one, whether it’s American TV today, etc etc it’s rather simple. You make the worthwhile ‘product’ and you can sell it more. If you just make cynical business decisions you reach a limit very soon. This is true in popular entertainment, it is true in politics, it is true everywhere. There has to be some attempt at authenticity. You make disposable cinema and you expect it to become a classic. When classics are made (3I) you become partisan and start pretending it’s just like any other movie. I could go on.

    In the end it comes down to honesty. We all have our perceptions, our opinions and that is fine but some claims are so obviously dishonest in every sense imaginable that either one is really dumb or one is playing dumb. There is no other option.

    This will be my last word on the subject for some time. Folks might want to repeat the same nonsense again and again ignoring everything else. That’s their prerogative. And at some point if the forum gets too clogged with the same stuff those comments will start disappearing too.


  25. Why are khans even compared here.The main paramaters here.Which Khan gave three superhits in a year.srk had two blockbusters many years ago and once in 2007.He didnt have three hits in a year in his entire career.Salman had one superhit,one hit in 1999,na two blokbusters in 2011,2012.Aamir doesn’t have two hits in a year apart from 2006.Volume is important.How much a star could get ttoal gross in a year is important.khans cant be compared to Amitabh.


    • Khans/HR are in film business right now, not 40 years ago. Talk about present.

      Why do so many films when 1 film can do more than what most other stars can’t do in 2 or more films combined.


  26. Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has been roped in as an ambassador for Interpol’s “Turn Back Crime” campaign to promote awareness on how everyone can play a role in preventing crime.

    SRK, said to be the first Indian to be made an ambassador for the global campaign, is lending his voice to help spread the message that all of society benefits when citizens respect law and fight crime.

    “It’s a very special honour to be a part of Interpol’s Turn Back Crime campaign as an ambassador,” said Shah Rukh.


  27. Srk and Bachchan are two biggest manipulators in Bollywood. This Interpol episode seems to be a masterstroke by this manipulator.He always indulges in such practices to keep himself on top like Bachchn does. The innocent fans/ fanatics fell prey to such propaganda and never try to look behind curtain. But it is the reality that wins at last.


  28. This whole discussion is so pointless. Cant someone turn comments off in this thread.


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