As Salman Khan celebrates his 50th birthday on December 27, we look at how the Man With The Midas Touch became the industry’s most bankable star. Ever since his very first film in a lead role, Maine Pyar Kiya, down to his last two releases, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Khan has delivered super hits and has built a diehard fan following. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, we walk down memory lane with distributors and exhibitors across territories and ask them to share moments they cherish relating to Khan’s films. Here are some priceless memories:
Jaspal Dhingra, Distributor, East Punjab:
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is the highest-grossing Salman Khan film, ever. But, in our circuit, his first really big film was Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, while Hum Saath Saath Hain and his other films did only average business. In terms of fan following, the response to Khan’s films has been tremendous in the last four to five years. Wanted boosted his career and his films have been doing very well since then.
Sarang Chandok, Distributor, CP:
Salman Khan’s most successful film, which also enjoyed the longest run in our circuit, was Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! The most recent film to join this list is Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Also, his fan following has seen a steady increase over the years as he has started playing mature roles. Earlier, Salman’s films didn’t do well at multiplexes but they do now.
BH Basha, Distributor, Mysore:
Salman’s biggest-ever movie in our circuit is Bajrangi Bhaijaan whereas Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! occupied that position 10 to 20 years ago. His fan following has, of course, grown phenomenally.
Earlier, Khan’s films used to work because they were good movies with good content. Now his films run purely on his star power. Good content only further boosts collections. In terms of an all-time record, the Salman film that has performed best in our circuit is Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! His fan following is great. I mean, in the Hum Aapke Hai Koun..! days, a handful of actors had a diehard fan following but now it’s all about Salman.
Debashish Dey, Distributor, West Bengal:
Salman Khan’s biggest film to date is obviously Bajrangi Bhaijaan and his fan following has grown exponentially. When Bodyguard and Wanted released, his fans were limited to singleplexes but now he caters to the multiplex audience as well. That was a big surprise. You see, during Bajrangi Bhaijaan, we assumed that the bulk of the collections would come from single screens. It did but multiplexes played a very vital role. Ditto for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, where the bulk of collections came from multiplexes. Khan is an actor who caters to movie-goers across the board.
Sunil Bansal, Distributor, Rajasthan:
In our circuit, Salman Khan’s most successful film has been Ek Tha Tiger and alongside that, Bajrangi Bhaijaan. From purely the business point of view, Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Maine Pyar Kiya and others are way behind. In my territory, at least, the first two films were great hits. Khan’s fan following is outstanding and he ranks as the number one actor in my territory. I am sure his fans would turn out in droves even for a 6am show!
Brijesh Tandon, Distributor, Delhi-UP:
Bajrangi Bhaijaan is undoubtedly the biggest Salman Khan film in recent times. But if you consider his entire career, there have been hits from time to time, like Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, which did quite well. But I am not sure a film like that would reel in more than `50 crore today. As for Salman’s fan base, it has definitely swelled and also widened. Earlier, he was the hero of the masses but now he is also a family hero. Basically, he has become a universal hero.
Every film of Salman Khan has celebrated its Silver Jubliee at our cinemas and every film of his has had a great relationship with Gaiety cinemas. But if I were forced to name some huge successes, they would be Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Wanted, Bodyguard, Dabangg and Dabangg 2. His fan following is so strong that when he appears on screen, the whole cinema erupts into whistles and claps.
Gaurav Ruparel, Exhibitor, Girish Pictures, Saurashtra:
Salman Khan is been a star for 27 years, ever since Maine Pyar Kiya released in 1989. His biggest hit was Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, which ran for almost 77 days in our city Rajkot, and even in our small centres, it celebrated its Silver and Golden jubilees. I don’t think any other film can beat the Hum Aapke Hai Koun..! record. Between 2003 and 2009, he went through a dull period. But with Wanted, his fan following started growing and it is now huge.