This is my list of who I feel are currently the 5 biggest Bollywood box office stars in India. This list takes into consideration the recent years only. It does not take into consideration decades of work.... only recent years!
So here we go.
5. Varun Dhawan:
Honestly, this was a tough choice between him, Hrithik, Ranbir, and Ranveer. But Varun gets the spot due to his consistency. His Dishoom, a film which had poor pre-release buzz, still managed an 11 crore opening. His recent release, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, also got a double-digit opening, and it crossed the 100 crore mark, making it the highest March grosser of all time. Consistently strong opening day collections and overall successful films at the box office give Varun the #5 spot. With that being said, this could change with any star's next film. In particular, he needs to be careful of his imitation of Govinda's acting, something that many pointed out he was doing in BKD.
Ranbir did 178 crore with YJHD at a time when only Salman and Aamir were getting similar collections, and he still manages to give double-digit opening day collections. The biggest example of this is Roy, which did have chartbuster music, but wouldn't have gone above 3 crore opening day if it was only an Arjun/Jacqueline starrer. Too many flop films, including probably the biggest of all time (Bombay Velvet), kept Ranbir down. Hrithik is capable of huge grossers (Krrish 3 and Bang Bang in recent times), but his last two films Mohenjo Daro and Kaabil got single-digit openings, didn't perform too well a the box office (MD in particular), and lost in clashes to both Akshay/SRK. Ranveer Singh had a huge grosser with Bajirao Mastani, defeating SRK's Dilwale, gets consistently good openings, but his films as a whole aren't successful when he's not working with SLB/Deepika. Befikre, with one of the biggest directors of all time (Aditya Chopra), was a box office dud.
4. Akshay Kumar:
Consistency is the name of the game. The man who at one point was consistently delivering flop films, is now doing the opposite. Come to think of it, Kumar's career graph has been full of ups and downs. After several flop films in the 90s and early 2000s, he reached his peak point in 2007, the best year of his career by far, when he had four back-to-back major hits with Namaste London, Heyy Babyy, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, and Welcome. Welcome was one of the all-time highest grossers upon its release. He never reached his peak year again, but he's getting close. What he's severely missing right now though, is a film that can be counted as being amongst one of the all-time highest
What he's severely missing right now though, is a film that can be counted as being amongst one of the all-time highest grossers. Films like Rustom and Airlift are Super Hits, sure, but they haven't gone anywhere near the 200 crore mark, let alone the 300 crore mark that Aamir and Salman have crossed many times now. His highest grosser remains Rowdy Rathore (130+ crore mark), which released 5 years ago. Akshay needs to do less films so that there is more anticipation when his one or two films in the year do come, and he needs to try to get them on a festival release date (Eid/Dilwai/Christmas) which would work wonders for him given the positive audience WOM (Word of Mouth) his films usually get. Robot 2, a Diwali release, is a step in the right direction, and although it's a South film, it will give a further boost to his Bollywood career, as he will enjoy a stronger fan following in South India along with his North India fan following.
3. Shah Rukh Khan:
The man who used to the biggest star in India, now settles at third place. Consistent under-performers bring SRK down, as he doesn't have even one film yet in the 300 crore club, whereas Aamir and Salman have many. His last Blockbuster was 4 years ago (Chennai Express). However, as I've said before, if you clash with SRK, you're not going to get a better opening day than him. It's been proven over and over in the last 10 years.
Also, at his most washed-up, old looking self on screen, he still manages to get opening day collections around the 20 crore mark. Raees getting a 19-20 crore opening on a non-holiday against a Hrithik starrer was an amazing feat. His weak films, such as Dilwale and Raees, still get to the 130-140 crore mark, a mark that at the moment would be considered a huge achievement for every non-Khan in the industry.
2. Aamir Khan:
This was a tough one between him and the man at #1. Since 2008, he has been delivering a film that would become the biggest grosser of all time: Ghajini (opened the 100 crore club), 3 Idiots (opened the 200 crore club), Dhoom 3 (opened the 250 crore club), PK (opened the 300 crore club), Dangal (opened the 350 crore club). Incredible achievements, but not as incredible as the fan following the man at #1 owns....
The biggest star in India. Since Dabangg, the megastar has been on a phenomenal run, with 8 of his films becoming huge Blockbusters, and the other 2 films (Jai Ho and PRDP) still managing Semi-Hit and Hit verdict, respectively. He and Aamir are the only two stars to have films in the 300 crore club.
He has a fan following in every nook and corner of India, as proven by the fantastic opening day collections his films get. His two films this year, Tubelight and Tiger Zinda Hai, are threatening to shatter some box office records to pieces.