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Last Updated 28.01.2020 | 7:24 PM IST
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The decade Power: Varun Dhawan’s 5 years of high followed by a steep low

This decade saw the rise and fall of the biggest stalwarts from the industry. While a lot has been spoken about the star-power of the actors, here's a series that analysis in-depth the strengths and weaknesses of the top 10 Bollywood stars, and ranks them based on their performance this decade taking into account factors like magnitude of success, opening day collections, consistency, potential, awareness, and loyal fan following. The one who scores high on all the fronts will be crowned the STAR OF THIS DECADE.

The decade Power Varun Dhawan’s 5 years of high followed by a steep low

Number 10 on the list is Varun Dhawan and here's a report card at how he fared between 2010 and 2019.

2010 to 2015

Varun Dhawan made his debut alongside Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra in the 2012 Karan Johar directorial, Student of The Year. The film proved to be the biggest opener featuring new comers at that point of time, and Varun was touted as the most promising of the lot. And he even lived on to the expectations by following that up with commercially successful films like Main Tera Hero, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Badlapur, ABCD 2 and Dilwale. Interestingly so, all the five films took a good start at the box-office and proved to be a winner for everyone (excluding Dilwale) thereby making him the most bankable new comer within a span of merely 3 years (2012 to 2015). ABCD 2 was the first 100 crore film for Varun, and the stage was set for him to go even bigger in the second half of the decade.

What separated Varun from the rest was the fact that he primarily targeted the kids, which got him the support from family audience as well. Varun’s contemporaries on the other hand tried to appease the youth. His humble off-screen image too worked in creating a base for him amongst the family crowd and in no time, he became the youth star with a fan-base and trust factor among the families. By the end of the first half of this decade, every trade analyst and critic pitched him as the next big thing in Bollywood as delivering five back to back successful films in a span of three years wasn’t a joke.

2010 to 2015 

2012: Rs. 70.00 crores (1 Film) 

2014: Rs. 127.41 crores (2 Films) 

2015: Rs. 304.53 crores (3 Films)  

2016 till date

The brand Varun Dhawan was growing among a set of audience, however the critics often tagged him as a limited actor, catering to the commercial cinema one. But it seemed as if the criticism from the critics didn’t bother Varun much as he kicked off the second half of the decade with Dishoom, which though an average affair at the ticket window, fell well within the commercial template and found appreciation on television. The film yet again pitched him as the star of families as the television is primarily a consumption platform for the families. Dishoom was followed by two mega-successes, Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2, both of which went past the 100 crore club. By 2017 end, Varun had his kitty filled with eight successful films and no failures. He was far ahead of his contemporaries – Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Tiger Shroff by the end of 2017. Though he didn’t have the big blockbuster under his kitty, he was consistent at churning out hits, which the others lacked.

However, since then it has been a downhill for the family man. At the trailer launch of Judwaa 2, David Dhawan had said, “Chalti Gaadi Ka Bonut Nai Kholna Chahiye” and that’s exactly the mistake that Varun did. He tried to step aside from his successful zone to win over the audience he didn’t cater to at first thereby deserting his loyal audience. His follow up to Judwaa 2 – October, Sui Dhaga and Kalank were disappointment as far as box-office is concerned.

2016: Rs. 70 crores (1 Film) 

2017: Rs. 255.29 crores (2 Films) 

2018: Rs. 79.02 crores (3 Film) 

2019: Rs. 80.35 crores (1 Film)  

The number crunching analysis:

Our understanding suggests that he tried to woo the critics in 2018 with films like October and Sui Dhaaga, which proved to be box-office disappointments, despite the positive reviews. He stepped aside from the commercial template, tried to get out the actor in him, which resulted in him losing out on the target audience, who are used to seeing him in the commercial fun zone. The two disappointments were followed by a disaster in Abhishek Verman’s period drama, Kalank, which is Varun’s last release of the decade. Unfortunately for the actor, in the same period, his contemporary, Ranbir Kapoor delivered a 300 crore blockbuster, Ranveer Singh had three releases in the form of Padmaavat, Simmba and Gully Boy, which put him in a position of a superstar and actor to look out for and Tiger Shroff cemented his position as an action hero with Baaghi 2 – a bumper opener and War, which featured him as the parallel lead alongside Hrithik Roshan. In the decade to follow, apart from the consistency, he needs the big grosser to jump the ladder. A bumper opener and big lifetime total is the need of the hour for Varun as the final analysis of Varun’s work this decade looks a bit underwhelming to say the least – both in terms of opening day collections as well as the lifetime numbers. However, one must not underestimate his pull as his biggest strength lies in the families and that audience will come out to see entertaining films.

Where does Varun Dhawan go from here?

Varun’s line up looks promising more towards the commercial “masala” cinema, which is the audience he has catered to till date, with films like Street Dancer, Coolie No. 1 up for release next year and Sriram Raghavan’s Arun Kheterpal biopic and Shashank Khaitan’s commercial entertainer co-starring Kiara Advani and Bhumi Pednekar slated to hit the big screen in the year to follow. We hope, Varun signs on for subjects he absolutely believes in, and does films that Hindi cinema is known for as ever since his debut he has been touted as a true blue Hindi film star. Octobers and Sui Dhaagas can always be taken up by some “actors”, who don’t come with the pressure of delivering at the BO, as it’s not something meant for a “star”. May be a film in two years shouldn’t be an issue, but the focus needs to be on the big films.

The lack of big grossers, bumper openers and downhill in the last two years of decade coupled with upward swing of his contemporaries makes us put Varun Dhawan as star no. 10 on the list of “Bollywood Hungama Decade Power”

Final Summary at a glance

Total Collections: Rs. 986.60 crores

Total Films: 13

Average/Film: Rs. 75.89 crores

Also Read: Varun Dhawan reunites with brother Rohit Dhawan for the sequel of Dishoom

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