Prateek Dham | Last Modified - Apr 19, 2012, 04:58 PM IST
Our nation is primarily proud of two of its passions, Cricket and Bollywood. And when it comes to the latter, everybody exercises their right of expression most liberally. Everybody has got their own favourites, and everybody has got a story to tell regarding their favourite stars. But one actor whose stories you are most likely to come across is Salman Khan. He is immensely kind, we all know. He is terribly handsome, we all know. But the way he connects with the audience is something insurmountable, to the extent of being unprecedented. Salman is a Dabangg superstar, both on and off the screen.
We know that his career has had its ups and downs just like everybody else’s, but the manner with which he has still managed to maintain an emotional chord with his loyalists is what nobody else can achieve; at least not in our film industry. We have our personal favourites. If we stereotype the fans in terms of their favourite ‘superstars’, you’ll mostly get these names as replies;
1. A 30+ upper middle-class married woman: Shah Rukh Khan
2. A hip girl with a Blackberry in her hand: Ranbir Kapoor
3. A 45+ cultured home-bred lady: Amitabh Bachchan
4. A 20-something college going, long-skirt clad girl: Hrithik Roshan
5. A seven-year old gaming freak: Aamir Khan
Society is divided, so is the opinion. Though we are most likely to hear the above mentioned replies, but that specific percentage that is left will account for the fans of Salman Khan. And those ‘specific percentages’ could ultimately account for a significant part of our whole cinema-going population. Those who love Salman, don’t merely love him as a star; he is almost a family-member to them. He becomes a ‘Sallu Bhai’ to them. Stars have admirers. Superstars have fans. Salman has die-hard fanatics.
Talking of figures to put a sense to the point, he is the only Indian actor to have three solo movies in the elite 100 crore grosser bracket. And the fact that this guy does not have to try hard to achieve that makes it even more fascinating. He has never taken his acting abilities seriously all his life, he is just confident that his movies would always have ample audience. Amongst the three famous Khans in our industry, he is seemingly the most complacent, yet the most ‘powerful’. His charm overpowers everything.
There is Aamir Khan who works his kidneys off for months at a stretch to ensure that his movie does well at the box-office. He does not usually sign a second movie while working on another. Then there’s Shah Rukh Khan, who is seen all over the place when his movie is about to release. ‘King Khan’, as he is sometimes addressed as, tries so hard that it becomes mundane for the passive ones after a while. But then there is Salman Khan, who does not try at all. And it can be depressing for the other two. When his last blockbuster got released, he was not even in the country. He was abroad for a surgery, and many Bollywood heavyweights, including Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn, were promoting his movie merely out of their love for their ‘Bhai’. Such is the charisma of Salman.
His ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ is scheduled to release this year, and we expect it to break all existing records in Bollywood. And we are confident when we say it, because we have a hugely dependable figure behind it. Everybody loves Salman dearly because he gives it back to the society. He shares his superstardom with the slum-dwellers. He makes his movie so that the front-benchers can whistle away their pain. His charities are relocating the under-privileged everyday of the year. Moreover, he does not have airs up his sleeve. That is the mark of a man, a real superstar if ever there was one. May you live a thousand years, Salman Bhai. Most of the country prays for it.