According to the latest rankings published by Duff & Phelps, for the first time, a cricketer emerged as the most valuable celebrity brand in the country. Indian skipper Virat Kohli dethroned Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan from the top spot. Kohli’s brand value of $144 million grew by 56% in last 12 months but the bigger reason behind SRK’s decline was the dip in his own brand value. Shah Rukh’s brand value came down by nearly 20% from 2016 to $106 million. This was despite Virat Kohli endorses 20 brands while Shah Rukh promotes as many as 21.
“For the first time since we began publishing our rankings, Shah Rukh Khan has slipped from the top ranking and been replaced by Virat Kohli. Kohli is now the first choice of brands to engage and attract consumers, fuelled by his extraordinary on-field performances and off-field charisma,” Duff & Phelps managing director and region leader – India, Japan and Southeast Asia Varun Gupta said.
This drop should serve as a wake-up call for Shah Rukh who has been disappointing his fans with his movie choices for the last couple of years. One argument is that SRK is getting older while Kohli is the rising sun. The Indian skipper not only led the team incredibly well over the last 12 months but also blossomed at an individual level, both on and off the field.
But, another Bollywood actor of almost similar age, Akshay Kumar’s brand value surged nearly 97% to reach $47 million in 2017. Akshay delivered some of his finest cinema in 2017 (Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Jolly LLB 2) and added 7 new brands to his portfolio.
For, Shah Rukh, his own choices are not helping his case. His desperate attempt to revive a declining career with Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal failed badly while Raees, despite doing well on the box-office wasn’t enough to compete with other stars like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan or Ajay Devgn. To put things into perspective, Raees which was a superhit earned less than Salman Khan’s Tubelight which was one of Salman’s rare flops in last few years.
What Shah Rukh needs to be reminded of is the fact that no matter how many cricket teams he owns or production houses he opens, fans will always remember and follow him for his acting skills. His flamboyance from the 90s that was the USP of hits like Dil Se, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge, has gone missing.
Poor script selection and reluctance to play roles that suit his age have cost him more.
At 52, Shah Rukh Khan is not getting any younger. The current generation of actors including Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan are rising at a brisk pace. They will soon pose a massive threat to all the big names.
Interestingly, the threat is also coming from the sports fraternity. From contributing 19% to the total celebrity brand value in 2014, sports celebrities now contribute 25% to the overall pie, with PV Sindhu and MS Dhoni also featuring in the top 15 list.
If there is a time for Shah Rukh to bounce back, it is now! He has an ‘unnamed’ Anand L Rai film in his kitty where he is reportedly playing a dwarf along with Farhan Akhtar’s Don 3 which is reportedly in pre-production state.
As harsh as it may sound, these two films might shape SRK’s future in Bollywood.