A few decades ago, three young men entered the world of Hindi films, heralding a change that audiences sought and found . The 1988 teen romance, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, starring Aamir Khan started the trend. The film’s success set the stage for another blockbuster, Maine Pyar Kiya, a year later, starring Salman Khan. Meanwhile, a third young actor, Shah Rukh Khan, emerged as the star of Fauji, a TV series.
In the coming years, Hindi films changed dramatically, much of it spearheaded by the troika. The last three decades have also seen change in India with the unleashing of caste mobilisation, the emergence of a post-liberalisation open market and the rise of an assertive Hindutva. In addition, these decades have witnessed the growth of multiplexes, the emergence of digital streaming, noisy television news channels and an opinionated and vibrant social media.
While exploring the political and social circumstances in which the Khans rose to fame, The Three Khans and the Emergence of New India maps the movies that marked the turning points in their careers and examines their social and emotional impact on Indian audiences.
Deeply insightful without being pedantic, Kaveree Bamzai’s book is a masterly examination of the role popular culture plays in our lives. Watch out for a review of the book coming soon!