2023 seems to be a year of spectacular comebacks in the realm of Bollywood. It all began with the grand success of Shah Rukh Khan’s “Pathaan,” which not only ruled the box office but shattered records for Hindi films, making it the highest-grosser in India. The film achieved an extraordinary feat by amassing a staggering ₹543.05 crore in India, out of which a remarkable ₹525 crore was contributed by the Hindi version alone.
Following this, the stage was set for another ’90s superstar to make an impressive return. Sunny Deol, known for his powerful performances, stormed back to the limelight with “Gadar 2.” Directed by Anil Sharma, this action-packed entertainer swiftly collected an impressive ₹300 crore within just eight days of its release. The film’s momentum suggests that it is well on its way to the ₹450 crore milestone, and it holds the potential not only to breach the ₹500 crore mark but also to surpass the Hindi version of “Pathaan.”
Interestingly, even with this formidable feat, neither Sunny Deol nor Shah Rukh Khan emerges as the highest-grossing star of 2023. The spotlight falls on a surprising name – Manish Wadhwa. Known for his intense portrayals, Wadhwa essayed villainous roles in both “Pathaan” and “Gadar 2.”
In “Pathaan,” he masterfully portrayed the character of Pakistani army general Qadir, who enlists the services of John Abraham’s Outfit X to orchestrate an attack on India. Switching gears, in “Gadar 2,” Wadhwa took on the role of the main antagonist, Pakistani army general Hamid Iqbal, who seeks to avenge the deaths of 40 soldiers from his nation. His on-screen brilliance and undeniable charisma contributed significantly to the films’ success.
Remarkably, the cumulative impact of his roles has translated into tremendous box-office returns. Manish Wadhwa’s portrayal in “Pathaan” contributed ₹525 crore to his earnings, and with the projected ₹500 crore from “Gadar 2,” his total earnings in India will surpass ₹1000 crore.
While Manish Wadhwa’s unexpected achievement is a noteworthy highlight of 2023, the battle for the top spot is far from over. Shah Rukh Khan, poised to take the lead with the upcoming release of “Jawan” on September 7, is generating high expectations among trade circles. With the anticipation of an even more impressive box office performance than “Pathaan,” the Atlee directorial might just cement Shah Rukh Khan’s position as the ultimate box office king of 2023.