Doesn't he get it? Stars work much like brands. The sharper the niche you occupy, the better the chances of success. Ghajini is a run away success even if it is a remake. Because Aamir thinks strategy, Shahrukh does not. Even Akshay is more marketing savvy than Shahrukh. And marketing savviness does not mean how well one 'promotes' a movie. But what goes behind when it is being conceived. Are you thinking sharp at that stage? Are you focussed and in line with your image and viewer expectations?
What did Akshay do right? He learnt from his one big success that made his other films follow suit - Namastey London. He realized that his portrayal of a rustic villager with a heart of gold worked with the viewers. More than that he realized he had unwittingly occupied the slot vacated by Govinda - mindless plot with mindless comedy and action and a heart of gold. Only the flab was replaced with fab and you had a sexed up formula that worked. And he stuck to that niche ever since (Heyy Babbyy, Singh is Kingg). And today he is paying advance tax even higher than Shahrukh. Won't be surprised if Chandni Chowk does well too.
Aamir on the other hand has always stuck to the image of a man with a purpose. Love happens to him as a sub plot (Lagaan, Sarfarosh, Taare...). And he is today called the thinking actor. He has stuck to this formula in all his portrayals. That is why heroines are incidental in his films. A good niche to occupy.
And we all know Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar's niche in tragedy, Amitabh's in angry young man etc etc. Dharamendra never could establish his own niche. He was talented, versatile and good looking in his hey days...but alas these are generic qualities expected from any actor. And we all know how we react to a soap brand that promises to freshen up versus that makes us fantasize. Which one are you tempted to pick up from the shop shelf? Is Shahrukh going the Dharamendra route? How long can he be seen as an ISI mark - that is generic too!! There is enough success behind him to see which niche works best for him. All he has to do is think strategic.
Hope this new year all stars find their niche. There are so many who still haven't - Saif, Abhishek...the list is endless. And if they need help, well they know where to look!