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Like all famous actors, the three reigning Khans of Bollywood have signature styles that define their methods. Aamir Khan’s is intellect. Shah Rukh Khan is all intelligence. Salman Khan is about emotion.
It’s the heart of fans Salman is banking on after Tubelight came to theatres near you on Friday.
Combining emotion with intelligence is part of his craft today, driven by the creative intellect of directors like Kabir Khan. Speaking about the relationship between him and Kabir, Salman said in Mumbai, “If we are going to Pakistan to leave Munni (the mute girl in Bajrangi Bhaijaan), now I understand that we have to show the journey. If there is a scene where the actor has to take a flight to London, it should just be a ‘take off and landing’ shot and not the journey.”
For the man who has the record of never having missed a flight, it’s been a long journey from taking off as the evergreen romantic in Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to the first action hero with an open shirt and pectorals in Dabangg and now the buttoned-up-short-and-half-sweater character who achieves the impossible in a hostile land.
In the process of this simplification, he created fresh roles and heroines. Chulbul Pandey, the comic cop with a common man’s values, claimed a permanent place in the iconography of Bollywood—so did Sonakshi Sinha, whose entry into Hindi cinema was with Indian zaftig and smoldering sexuality, courtesy her co-star.
In Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Salman showcased the power of faith and patriotism while launching child star Harshaali Malhotra in Bollywood.
In Sultan, he competed emotionally with Amir Khan’s Dangal. Sultan grossed more than Rs 300 crore in 2016, like Bajrangi Bhaijaan did in 2015.
The themes of both movies are about the common man confronting larger-than-life issues and overcoming them with innate decency.
Even in Tubelight, Salman Khan remains just Salman Khan. His co-star in Sultan, Anushka Sharma, said about him, “With Salman, what you see is what you get! That’s so refreshing and relieving. You know he is saying what he is thinking, not something else.”
In Sultan, he became the actor who broke box office records to make millions. At 52, the actor has firmly replaced the star in Salman. Tubelight is expected to exceed box office expectations.
The plot shows Salman’s obsession with patriotism and innocence. The muscled action star, who romanced actresses such as Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif, is now avuncular proud of children he turns into stars. It’s his ability to connect with everyone—getting Shah Rukh to play a guest role in Tubelight to touching his little co-star Harshaali’s heart.
Said Harshaali in an interview, “I like acting and singing. I want to be a superstar like Salman uncle.” Now a new child star will debut in Bollywood, courtesy Salman—eight-year-old Matin Rey Tangu—with Chinese actress Zhu Zhu, with Tubelight. Zhu Zhu being a People’s Liberation Army Major General’s daughter could be a reason she will not be coming to India to promote a film set in the backdrop of the 1962 Indo-China War.
Great actors create genres. Nobody could play the lover like Rajesh Khanna nor the villain like Prem Chopra. Nobody could make war movies that rake machine gun fire across the enemy like Sunny Deol. Nobody could capture doom like Madhubala. Salman has fashioned the common man’s quest for justice where the enemy has more than one face.
Brotherhood is big with Salman, who is close to his brother Sohail; it is central to Tubelight as it was with Arbaaz in Dabangg. Dabangg II, directed by Arbaaz, didn’t do too well. But with Kabir’s vision, which inspires Sohail to do his best in Tubelight, the movie narrates the search of a lost brother and the discovery of new loves. It is a celebration of the fraternity of man triumphing over borders just as it did in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The belief that the human being is essentially good drives Salman’s creative mojo—a bit of buffoonery with lots of feeling. In feeling, he is far more accessible to fans than the reclusive Aamir and exclusive Shah Rukh. Anushka had remarked about Salman’s rapport with others saying he is “very nice with people. So many people come and meet him, he sits with them, talks to them and takes pictures.
With fans, there are times when our patience runs out, but he has so much patience. It is clear that he feels very grateful for what he has achieved, so he reciprocates by giving respect to his fans. That is why he is such a huge star. He’s unique and his reactions are not premeditated.”
It’s this generosity that makes Salman truly human. Especially his rapport with children, which makes kids like Harshaali and Matin adore him. He supports three schools and has helped fund the heart surgery of over 600 children. Akshay Kumar recently remarked about seeing Salman giving bundles of money away to people in need.
This giving spark in him in turn brings adoration. Ask any one from the industry and chances are that some may not say Salman is their favourite actor but most will certainly say that he is the most lovable star in B-Town. He has weathered controversies the hard way, be it the black buck case or the hit-and-run case.
So what is it that despite the tide of negativity, the man always crosses the bridge when it comes to popularity?
The answer lies in his attitude. Salman still lives in a 1-BHK of Galaxy Apartments, which has his parents a floor above. When he cycles a sizeable distance from Bandra to Film City, the perception he leaves behind is that he is not the ‘Mercedes types’ and is like any other common man.
During the Q&A session at the Tubelight trailer launch, the first words he uttered even before the questions began were about his fond memories of working with Om Puri. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, his co-star in Kick and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, vouches for Salman’s benevolence. “During the shooting of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, he did many things which I won’t spell out. He still does a lot. When he doesn’t reveal anything, there is no point in me revealing them. He does all his work without telling anyone. I have seen these, and the country needs such people,” Nawaz had said.
Salman has often been quoted saying that he earlier made films for his friends and colleagues, but now the past ‘charity’ stands invalid. With every film, apart from the stardom, he has grown wiser.
Gone are the days when he worked with David Dhawan, Anil Sharma, Prabhu Deva and Vipul Shah. For the more current and in vogue Salman, it’s all about script selection. When he finds merit in scripts that Kabir brings along, he does three films in a very short time. The same applies for Ali Abbas Zafar and Sooraj Barjatya. People are able to comprehend his rationality.
To a query on whether Tubelight will surpass the earnings of Baahubali, he retorted that he would be happy if the film makes money, and breaking records comes second to him.
Kabir also believes that it’s a responsibility to show Salman’s myriad facets. The director explained this to trade analyst Komal Nahata at his TV show. “Tubelight will show a craft of his, which rarely comes to the fore. When he brings it, nobody can match him in that department. The pressure is always to deliver a better film than the previous one. I have done three films with Salman, and every time I have tried to do something different. Had I succumbed to box office pressures, I would have repeated things he is best known for.”
People often say that it was Reshma Shetty, the co-owner of talent agency Matrix, who single-handedly brought about the transformation in Salman. She made him aware of the positives of being a thorough professional. Years of hard work have paid dividends, and now the actor comes across as a thoroughbred. His quotes are calculated and measured, though mishaps do happen when he makes analogies between the tough schedules he had to go through while shooting for Sultan with the trauma of rape victims.
Testimonials for the fact that Salman is a towering figure in the industry come rushing in from Bollywood’s young lot.
While Salman took personal interest in training and grooming Sooraj Pancholi, he also ensured that Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Dhawan all were mentored by him in some way or the other. When Riteish Deshmukh thinks of making a biopic on one of the most revered figures of Maratha community, Shivaji Maharaj, he resorts to Salman for advice whether prosthetics should be used or not for the character. There was also a time when Arjun considered him as a godsend. In an interview he had remarked, “He is at par with my parents in my life. He believed in me when I was written off by everyone from the industry. He was the last person my mother spoke to when my debut film was releasing and she only wanted to thank him.”
Salman’s nonchalance these days also says a lot about his mindset. This also stems from the fact that he is aware of the position he is in these days. There was a phase when his nonprofessional attitude made him suffer, be it his court cases, his fracas with Vivek Oberoi or his love affairs. There was no stopping the man. But it all changed after the success of Wanted, the action thriller by Prabhu Deva. The superstar tasted success after a long gap and that also brought in self-discipline and the thought that nothing comes easy.
Once when this writer went to interview Salman on the sets of Salam-e-Ishq at Filmistan Studios in Mumbai, their meeting got late due to a prolonged shooting. Salman, his publicist and the writer were starving. The dinner platter served to them was home-cooked, with chicken, mutton, fish and prawns. Being the gregarious man, Salman made them try everything. “Try them, the black buck is very tasty,” he joked.
Irony may not be Salman’s usual forte, but with Tubelight he is likely to go laughing all the way to the bank.
The Box Office Juggernaut
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Source : http://www.newindianexpress.com/entertainment/hindi/2017/jun/24/being-salman-1619766.html