Gone are the days when actor-director jodis lasted for decades, and both sides would keep benefiting from a tried and tested blockbuster partnership. Legend has it that during the shoot of Amar Akbar Anthony, Manmohan Desai declared he would never make a film without Amitabh Bachchan. That promise resulted in some of the most memorable moments in Hindi cinema -- and Bachchan fans shall be eternally grateful to Desai for bringing out the best in Big B.
The 90s saw Shah Rukh Khan consistently create history with Yash and Aditya Chopra, while Govinda dominated the comedy genre under David Dhawan's direction. Sunny Deol did some of his most memorable work with Rajkumar Santoshi, while Salman Khan ruled hearts as Prem in Sooraj Barjatya's blockbuster family dramas.
With viewing patterns becoming increasingly diverse, today's stars as well as filmmakers prefer dabbling in different spaces, and everyone is open to working with a varied pool of talent.
Nevertheless, each time a hit combination is repeated, the trade still goes into overdrive expecting the new film to surpass previous box office records.
The first half of 2015 has been a relatively quiet one with niche films overshadowing commercial potboilers. But the year is far from over and the second half is packed with big-ticket releases which also mark the return of some famous teams hoping to recreate their past magic. Here's a look at the seven most anticipated collaborations.
1. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Salman Khan-Sooraj Barjatya)
Easily the most awaited reuniting of the lot, this duo has delivered some of Indian cinema's most successful blockbusters. Returning more than a decade after Hum Saath Saath Hai, as the lovable boy-next-door, for Salman Khan it is a chance to revisit a side that has been playing second-fiddle to his Chulbul Pandey avatar in the new millennium. Khan has admitted that it has been a challenge for him to bring back that innocence on screen, but going by the stills it looks like Barjatya is in firm control of his signature character and he has suitably upgraded Prem to be in line with the sensibilities of a new generation of Salman fans, without compromising on the soul. Back in the day Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hai Koun were instrumental in bringing back audiences to the theatres, and with the business witnessing a slump once again, everyone is hoping that this dream team can give Bollywood one more era-defining, game-changing hit.
2. Dilwale (Shah Rukh Khan-Rohit Shetty)
Chennai Express came at a time when SRK was facing serious heat at the box office from contemporaries as well as younger stars. But the effortless charm of SRK's ever-so-reliable Rahul avatar won hearts from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and Chennai Express was just the kind of universal Diwali bonanza that Shah Rukh fans had been missing. This year the duo arrive on Christmas with a quintessential entertainer that features a talented ensemble led by the dream jodi of Shah Rukh and Kajol. With the name Dilwale half the battle is already won, while SRK-Shetty are likely to smoothly take care of the rest.
3. Dil Dhadakne Do (Farhan Akhtar-Zoya Akhtar)
Zoya Akhtar's critically acclaimed debut Luck By Chance may not have been lucky at the box-office, but over the years the film has gained a cult following. Farhan Akhtar's sharp performance as a shrewd struggler who doesn't mind sacrificing relationships for the sake of stardom is a powerful depiction of the dark side of fame. In a complete contrast, their second film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara masterfully showcased Farhan's witty sense of humour, balancing it out with a winning emotional scene where he holds his own even in the presence of a powerhouse like Naseeruddin Shah. In Dil Dhadakne Do, the actor has once again been cast in an ensemble, but he is already owning the promos with that priceless 'Dhinadindha' move where he matches steps with the real Lakhan.
4. Bajirao Mastani (Ranveer Singh-Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
Looks like SLB has found a new Salman in Ranveer Singh. Having delivered a solid knock-out punch in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela, the stakes only get bigger for Ranveer with Bhansali's long-awaited dream project. The prep has been extravagant...Now let's see if the film turns out to be equally spectacular.
5. Hamari Adhuri Kahani (Emraan Hashmi-Mohit Suri)
This duo disrupted the box office with their unique brand of thrillers laced with chart-busting songs. Save for the under-watched Awarapan or an occasional misfire like Crook, Emraan's star power steadily grew from Zeher through Murder 2, while Mohit Suri made a name for himself for his consistent success ratio. With Aashiqui 2 and Ek Villain, Mohit Suri graduated from being a bankable director to becoming a brand - Emraan on the other hand switched gears and tried his hand at offbeat roles, albeit with limited box-office success. Today in an interesting reversal of fortunes of sorts, Mohit's Emraan Hashmi-Vidya Balan starrer, Hamari Adhuri Kahani, is being pitched using the director's name and the actor is hoping for his box-office drought to finally end with this emotional love story.
6. Bajrangi Bhaijaan (Salman Khan-Kabir Khan)
They have done only one film together, but Ek Tha Tiger remains an important chapter in trade history as it was the film to surpass the Rs 30 crore mark on its opening day. Salman Khan has since then delivered other hits, but in terms of style and substance Ek Tha Tiger is the only recent Bhai blockbuster that both fans and critics agree upon. If photos from the Kashmir shoot are any indication then Kabir Khan has once again presented Salman in a different role. Complementing him on screen is Kareena Kapoor, who is among the few heroines who can give the Dabangg star serious takkar. Will the Tiger team roar once again on Eid? Your guess is as good as mine!
7. Mohenjo Daro (Hrithik Roshan-Ashutosh Gowariker)
This one arrives in Jan 2016, but is exciting enough to merit a special mention. Ashutosh Gowariker will be looking to rediscover some of the film-making mojo, which has gone missing in his recent releases, while Hrithik Roshan fans too wouldn't mind seeing the superstar in another period saga. Can they better Jodha Akbar? Watch this space.