Mumbai, July 4 -- For over a decade, Bollywood's box office has been dominated by big stars - Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar.
But the first half of 2014 has witnessed a change in this trend. In the last six months, several young actors have proved their worth with successful movies - Alia Bhatt starrer Highway, Varun Dhawan's Main Tera Hero, Tiger Shroff 's Heropanti, Arjun Kapoor's 2 States (the latest entrant in the '100 crore club) and the Sidharth Malhotra-starrer, Ek Villain.
"It's a great time for filmmakers. We finally have the option to cast properly. The emergence of young talent is heartening because you can play around with their persona and style on screen," says Mohit Suri, who directed Sidharth and Shraddha Kapoor in Ek Villain. Films like Hasee Toh Phasee (Sidharth and Parineeti Chopra), Gunday (Ranveer Singh and Arjun) and Yaariyan (Himansh Kohli and Rakul Preet Singh) have also performed well.
"It's such a positive sign to see the younger generation shining. It just goes to show that the script is the real hero [in Bollywood]," says Heropanti director Sabbir Khan.
Trade experts also are optimistic about this influx. "People were waiting to see new talent. Plus, since these films haven't been very costly, that has only helped [them make bigger profits]," says trade expert Vinod Mirani.
Meanwhile, exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi feels that this celebration might be premature, as "in the first half, except maybe Jai Ho and Holiday, no other big films released".
Big guns are back
The next six months will see big names return to the scene - Salman with Kick, Shah Rukh with Happy New Year, Aamir with P.K., Hrithik Roshan with Bang Bang, Ajay with Singham Returns and Akshay with It's Entertainment. "The young lot has emerged strong, and it's a clear sign that the audience wants to see them. But the big stars will always have their place," says veteran film-maker David Dhawan.