True Box Office Kings -- Rajnikanth and Shankar
Media and public have always compared Rajnikanth vs Kamal or Ajith vs Vijay when they talk about who is the Box Office king. But, from a distributors' point of view, the story has always been different. Over the last couple of decades, the real box office battle has been really fought between Rajni and Shankar, without much competition from others.
- 1995 - Baasha became the all time biggest grosser beating Annamalai's record (~25 Crores)
- 1996 - Indian broke Baasha's record with the help of collections from Tamil, Telugu and Hindi (30 Crores)
- 1999 - Padayappa broke Indian's record (30 Crores)
- 1999 - Mudhalvan immediately took the top spot away from Padayappa (35 Crores from Tamil + Telugu collections)
For almost 5 years, Padayappa was the benchmark for Tamil movies. Both Rajni and Shankar had their lowest periods in their careers after Baba failing big time in 2002 and Boys doing average business in 2003 respectively. This was when Vijay filled the void temporarily. In 2004, Vijay was at his peak after delivering a blockbuster in the form of Ghilli breaking the past records.
- 2004 - Ghilli broke the Padayappa record (crossing 50 Crores for the first time)
- 2005 - Chandramukhi became the highest grosser (65 Crores) with collections for Shankar's Anniyan (Tamil+Telugu) fell short of Chandramukhi.
- 2007 - Sivaji brought Rajni and Shankar together (estimated 125 Crores from all languages)
- 2010 - Enthiran (estimated 300 Crores from Tamil, Telugu and Hindi)
All the recent releases including Mankatha, 7aum Arivu and Nanban managed to cross Rs. 100 Crores in collections each pulling closer to 2007's Sivaji collections. The collection of all these three movies combined (Vijay+Ajith+Surya) would match up to the estimated revenue of 300 Crores generated by Enthiran from multiple languages.
Enthiran's record set by Rajnikanth and Shankar is expected to stay intact for a very long time to come... At least until Rajni and Shankar decide to join hands together. Rajni through Eros has been looking for a commercially successful director for his next movie. Shankar who has decided to do his next movie in Tamil is still trying to book a leading hero who has not yet signed up for his next movie.
So, will the legends come together again? Continued...