Will Salman Khan break the Rs.150 crore Box Office barrier?

Cinema for the masses is not a new phenomenon. Amitabh Bachchan did that in the ’70s. Salman Khan is only following that trend, says Taran Adarsh

By Taran Adarsh
Published: Dec 27, 2012
Salman gives the audience what they expect: To be entertained
Image: Mandar Deodhar / Indiatodayimages.com
Salman gives the audience what they expect: To be entertained

Rs 150 crore for a three-day weekend collection seems difficult. Not just for Salman, but for any actor. But if it is a five or seven-day weekend, Salman can attain that figure.

That’s because if you look at his choice of films, he is catering to the masses completely. I don’t think he is working in intelligent cinema or Oscar-nominated stuff. His funda is very clear and that is, I am here to entertain. Look at his films: Be it Dabangg, Wanted, Bodyguard…they are not path-breaking cinema. But they are record-breaking cinema. So he caters to the entertainment-seeking cine-goers and that’s where he succeeds. Why? Because he gives the audience what they expect: To be entertained.

This is not something that can be carried off by all actors. Salman is in a different zone right now. When he hits something and there are 10 people flying in the air, Salman makes it look very believable. Any other actor does it and it does not look very convincing. And that movie falls flat. That’s because Salman has the physique and the look on his face with which he can carry it off. What also helps is the larger-than-life personality and Salman fits that bill completely.

When something like this works, you have to repeat that; which Salman is doing. Cinema for the masses is not a new phenomenon. Amitabh Bachchan did that in the ’70s, Vinod Khanna did that, and if you recall, the ’70s and ’80s were dominated by masala movies. These movies did well at the box office. So, Salman is only following that trend. Of course, updating it and giving the audience what Vidya Balan says in The Dirty Picture: “Entertainment, entertainment and entertainment”.

This dialogue echoes through the corridors of the film industry today. You go to any office or studio and you will hear this. Let’s look at actors…who is not working in a masala film? Aamir Khan is doing Dhoom 3, Salman of course, Shahrukh Khan is doing Chennai Express with Rohit Shetty, Ajay Devgn of course, Akshay Kumar always, Ranbir is doing Besharam…every actor wants to play to the gallery. Everybody has to prove that I am a superstar, right? And for that your film has to work and get the numbers.

Let’s get this right. There is only a very tiny minority which says it wants intelligent cinema or, for that matter, arthouse cinema. The remaining Indian audiences—and one should stand outside theatres to see that—want entertainment. Logic be damned but that’s what people want. And Salman is giving it to them.

Today the box office has gained much more importance because the numbers are out there and the system has become very transparent. Even a common man says this movie has raked in Rs 100 crore. And even actors have no qualms about admitting the fact that the box office is of paramount importance. Awards are important, there’s no denying that; but box office rewards are more important.

Today, every film counts. And every actor gets involved in his movies. For instance, Salman has got a fantastic sense of music. He literally chooses the music and it is surprising that 90 percent of the time, his tracks have worked well. Since he understands the popular taste well, he can make it work. Till about a few years ago, Rs 100 crore weekend for a movie used to be a dream. But now, even Rs 200 crore looks achievable.  


(As told to Ashish K Mishra)

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Taran Adarsh is a film critic and trade analyst. He is also a former producer and screenwriter

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(This article is excerpted from the latest Forbes India 11 January, 2013 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com)

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  • Smitadesai

    Very nice said taran adarsh

    on Oct 27, 2013
  • Kanwar Ali Hadi

    Salman bhai I m your dieheart fan n i love u salman bhai you are not a really super star of bollywood in my opinion you are a super star of the world n want 2 see you get OSCAR award which you desurve it. I always pray to GOD to give most happiness n succses in your life AMEEN

    on Aug 20, 2013
  • Ankur

    Salmam ......u r boon to bollywood....without you bollywood like empty empty dude....love salman..im big fan of u.... Salman’s parents always wanted to see the eldest son of their family to settle down as soon as possible and now it seems that God has listened to their prayer

    on May 7, 2013
  • Tapan

    Dear all , I am watching all super star movies.But i like salaman Mos becuse his is a amezing man in film industry. His acting style,his speaking style, is helping ness no body can like salman khan.realy salma u r great.

    on Feb 19, 2013
  • Danny

    there'™s no denying that; people went to theater to get Entertainment and salman khan give that Entertainment, also godfather to many new artist in industry, and his helping hand toward needy make salman more attractive and box office king ....lage raho bhai...... we'll kept watching ur movie.

    on Feb 1, 2013
  • Sadat

    Dear sir There is no such thing as mass and class genre. It is a myth circulated by fan blogs ! There is only entertaining and not-so-entertaining genre. Professional Screenwriter is a full-time role in Hollywood. That trend is only now picking up in Bollywood. Salman Khan films are doing well simply because he understands what is universally entertaining and what is not. For instance, he has a good eye for costumes, tunes and lyrics and the result is the audience gets the best works from his technicians and music composers.

    on Jan 26, 2013
  • Sandy

    4get serious movies. enjoy salman khanz movie. 100 crore guatanteed.

    on Jan 6, 2013
  • Bhuban Das

    not now, getting stereotyped.

    on Dec 28, 2012
  • Coolsap

    Unbelievable that Forbes India allows Taran Adarsh to write columns, A critic should understand the value behind the movie rather than talk about just numbers. A lot needs to be discussed for the 100 cr number (no. of screens, average ticket price, satisfaction of the viewer, how the movie fared after the opening weekend). I remember people unable to get tickets for 3 Idiots even after 2 weeks while Dabangg 2 tickets are readily available. Forbes is about value creation. Even if I believe the numbers, I dont see the discussion about Salman Khan movies. I see people wanting to watch 70s Amitabh Bacchan movies even today. I have not seen many people excited to watch Ready or Bodyguard again(if they have watched once) Compare Facebook likes of Ready, Dabangg and 3 Idiots and the picture would be clear, how much people love Salman Khan and how much hyped he is.

    on Dec 28, 2012
  • Amit Jain

    No one could have described salman khan better thn the best and most famous bollywood critic

    on Dec 28, 2012
  • Sohail Makda

    absolutely right salman is a entertainer....look at dabbang2 the film is all about salman salman salman..salman fobia is on its peak.

    on Dec 27, 2012
  • Bjb

    Agree, Right now, he is in his own league. But the big question is how long..?? No formula is permanent in Bollywood. Personally i feel he should not think of the masses all the time. If he is doing 3 films in a year 1 film he can do something different. Look Amir Khan if he is doing a Ghajini, he has a Talaash, he has a 3 idiots. Again he is coming for masses with Dhoom3. That's the way to balance. Also, 100 Cr should not be a benchmark for a good film. If he continues with same type of movie all the time, then these same people will get bored within few years. After all one should remember that no one is bigger than box office. No Dilip Kumar, no Rajesh Khanna, no Amitabh Bachchan. This is a awesome phase of Salman Khan life, but he need to balance it little bit intelligently.

    on Dec 27, 2012
  • Jeetubaboo

    So what new is being said here. we know all this for years. whats the point of this story?

    on Dec 27, 2012
  • Sameer

    "Logic be damned but that's what people want. And Salman is giving it to them." I don't think so Mr Taran Adarsh. For the time being it's working but i don't think its the only sure shot formula to get box office success. By the way what do you call the taste of music...???? Every songs portraits some vulgarity and objectify women in worst possible manner in recent Salman's movie. I don't think anyone will be happy as father or as a sister or as brother if someone of their family members sings "Fevicol se ". In which Kareena Kapoor states herself as "Tandoori" and guy says "Laundiya patayenge Miss call se". As far as Masala movies are concerned, there will be a downfall because u can not enjoy the same thing again and again. For example Dabangg2 which was expected to break all the records , has not done the kind of business it should have . If you consider it's extensive release which is around 3700 screens biggest ever in India..!!

    on Dec 27, 2012
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