The 100 year plus history of cinema in India has seen around seven genuine superstars or megastars. We say genuine as regional superstars are called superstars today while stars and mini stars also get called superstars so the word superstar looses value. When historians right about Indian cinema then it may well be that the names of Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan are top of the pile due to various reasons
In reality these things are very region based as X can be the biggest ever in one region and then this X can be number 5 of all time in another region and huge essays can be written who was greatest where and when but that is for another day. But there is a huge huge similarity in the career of Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan and it becomes even more uncanny that all three are among the biggest superstars if not the biggest India has ever seen.
All the three superstars had a hiatus in their respective careers and not only were they all at a similar age but it was also for a similar period and it looks like Shahrukh Khan may have passed where the other two legends did not.
Dilip Kumar took a break at the age of 54 post Bairaag in 1976. This film is seen as a flop in the industry but on box office collections it was a HIT or even SUPERHIT but prior to this Dilip Kumar had not seen a hit for six years and Bairaag was a much delayed release and the decison to take a break was probably taken much before the release of Bairaag. Bairaag was released in October 1976 and then Dilip Kumar came back with Kranti in February 1981 which was a break of 52 months. Kranti broke all first run box office records but Dilip Kumar came back as character artist rather than the lead, its another matter that he set a precedent that his films become set around this older characters rather than leads and many also became huge BLOCKBUSTERS. This sets him apart from all the actors and is basically why he is the greatest ACTOR India has ever seen.
Amitabh Bachchan took a break at the age of 49 post the release of Khuda Gawah. This film did not live upto expectations due to the huge costs but was a good grosser and the biggest of that year in some circuits. But generally except for Aaj Ka Arjun the films of Amitabh Bachchan had not been performing as they should for a few years. Khuda Gawah was released in May 1992 and it was break of 60 months as Mrityudaata came in May 1997. There was a guest apprearance Insaaniyat in between but that was a long delayed film. Amitabh Bachchan came back as main lead but the film just did not work and nor did others as lead so eventually had to shift into character roles. It was still a great career as character artist and is still going strong today but the sort of films and roles Dilip Kumar got was not there for Amitabh Bachchan.
Shahrukh Khan took a break at the age of 53 post the release of Zero and there is not much to say about the fate of this film and also the few films that came before Zero. Zero was released in December 2017 and Shahrukh Khan came back with Pathaan in January 2023 which was break of 61 months and Pathaan has smashed the box office. The difference here is that Shahrukh Khan has not comeback as a chracter artist like Dilip Kumar but main lead and while Amitabh Bachchan did come back as main lead it was to failure while Shahrukh Khan has succeeded and how. Basically he has gone to where the legends could not go pot the hiatus they all took.
There can be a new chapter of super success written here depending on how the story unfolds from here. This is a different Shahrukh Khan from berfore just not on screen but as the way things are done also. Shahrukh Khan was the king of promotion and it was his methods that the rest followed and are still following today. This is while Shahrukh Khan himself has changed to keeping a low profile which is actually still a must for a genuine superstar or star though many dont seeit that way. You see all these actors promoting films with stupid interviews all over the digital space, there are these instgram videos and shorts or reels or whatever they are called sort of telling the public you can see me on these regularly for free so no need to come and watch my films and the public does as they say. The difference now with SRK maybe is that the message will be that if you want to see me then see me on the big screen and with this scene of exclusivity with the correct product and the sky will be the limit. Both will have to go hand in hand but the potential to create history with this mix is huge.
Also if this is the way SRK goes then just like he taught the industry about promotion he may now teach that it is all pretty pointless now and its your film and your exclusivity that urges fans to watch you in the cinema. This actually would be far important than any box office history as it will put the film industry on the correct lines.