Is Aamir now King Khan?

Suma Nagaraj
Popcorn
14 April 2011

Aamir Khan seems to be everywhere nowadays, a phenomenon that is usually associated with the Baadshah of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan. He was found cheering loudly for Team India at the World Cup, sporting his new look for the upcoming film with Honeymoon Travels' Reema Kagti. He apparently partied with the boys in blue till the sun rose the next morning the day we won the World Cup. His brand and cause endorsements can rival any other top star's in Bollywood today. He makes big news for his productions, for his skillful PR both in India and abroad, for the Twitter conversations he has with the Big B and for random sound bytes every now and then.

Long living in the shadow of arch rival Shah Rukh Khan, he seems to have perfected the art of PR that SRK was hailed for. During Aamir's decade-long (was it longer?) tiff with the media, when he refused to attend award shows, give interviews to certain publications and refused to play favourites, SRK reigned as the media's golden boy. There was no faction, publication, banner or brand that didn't want him to endorse them, including a popular beauty soap. He was available for all PR duties including but not limited to dancing at weddings of complete strangers. The mutual admiration society that was the media and SRK should have been made essential study material for all PR professionals.

Which doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Old loyalties still continue, but the very factions who swore by Brand SRK seem to be switching sides to his longtime nemesis, Aamir Khan - Karan Johar and Yashraj Films, to name two. Pinkie-swearing best friends seem to have moved on from enabling SRK, for a brand is only as strong as the foundation it stands on - Farah Khan, to name one. Publications that wouldn't touch Aamir with a bargepole now find reason to feature him every other day and write reams and reams of tributes to him every chance they get. Nobody seems to want to use the epithets that were heaped on SRK. Add to this Time's nomination to this year's most influential list, Aamir being the sole Bollywood star to have made the list and the question begs to be asked - has SRK's self-claimed/christened/ascended throne been usurped? Is Aamir now King Khan?

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