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The success of Pathaan has made Shah Rukh Khan the most popular male Hindi film star in India
Published on March 10, 2023   •   3 mins read
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By Our Insights Desk

  • From Nov 2010, when Ormax Stars India Loves started, till Dec 2022, only two stars - Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar - had topped the list of popular male Hindi film stars
  • But the success of Pathaan has catapulted Shah Rukh Khan to the top position in the first two months of 2023
  • With two more major releases lined up this year, his popularity can strengthen further, potentially matching Salman Khan's 2015 peak levels

In November 2010, we launched Ormax Stars India Loves (OSIL), a monthly star popularity track for Hindi film stars. Today, OSIL tracks star popularity in nine languages, and also reports a Pan India list of popular film stars.

In the first 146 months of OSIL (Hindi), i.e., from Nov 2010 to Dec 2022, only two stars (Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar) had topped the male stars list in Hindi language. That changed in Jan 2023, when Shah Rukh Khan, buoyed by the blockbuster success of Pathaan, took the top position.

How does Ormax Stars India Loves work?

OSIL is based on an audience survey that runs 365 days a year. The survey samples regular theatre going audience across India, with a monthly sample size of 8,000+. Audience are asked to name their two favorite male stars and two favorite female stars in each language they watch films in. This data is analysed separately for male and female stars, and separately for each language. Since each participating audience names two stars for each gender, the total share across all stars in either gender adds up to 200% for any language. In languages where the no. 1 star enjoys dominant popularity, their share can be as high as 60%, i.e., 60% audiences picked him or her as one of their top 2 favorite stars in that gender for that language.

Shah Rukh Khan's rise on OSIL

The chart below shows year-wise popularity share movement for male stars as per OSIL (Hindi), averaged over the 12 months in each year (2 months for 2023). As we can see, Salman Khan was the most popular male Hindi film star till 2018. Akshay Kumar took the top position in the second half of that year, and became no. 1 in the annual rankings from 2019.


Shah Rukh Khan's popularity share rose to 33% in Jan 2023, pipping him past Akshay Kumar (32%). But it's in Feb 2023 that the full impact of Pathaan was seen, with Shah Rukh Khan's share rising to 43%, which is higher than Akshay Kumar's best-ever month (42% in Feb 2022). We can expect this momentum to continue through this year, with Jawan lined up for release in June, followed by Dunki in December.

Salman Khan holds the record for peak monthly share (60% in Nov 2015) and annual average share (48% in 2015). Those records may not be out of reach for Shah Rukh Khan this year.

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