A Salman Khan movie release is an event, Eid or no Eid.
Celebrated novelist and now script – writer Chetan Bhagat may be tense on the day of the release of ‘Kick’ which mark his debut in this role but no one else is.
As his film hits 5000 screens today it is time to analyse the reasons why brand Salman stands towering amidst the other Khans, Aaamir and Shahrukh whose success is easier to diagnose.
If at 48 Salman Khan still makes women from 16 to 60 go weak in the knees there have to be very strong reasons. In his case it is all the more pertinent because like the other Khans he is not perfect or technically civil in personal life. The cases against him are still on and journalists who like to ‘break news’ not ‘make them‘ go hammer and tongs at him as soon as he figures in an unpleasant incident or court case, which is not rare.
But the best thing about this Khan is that he does not feel embarrassed to talk about these moments in public. In fact what adds to his mass appeal is the fact that he himself refers to his experiences with the police or Jail in live programmes on stage. The cheers and applaud these references get him from his fans prove that they have forgiven him for what he has given them for so many years- sheer entertainment.
The elite may make fun of his tactics to garner a fan following – taking off his shirt or his clumsy dance but they never miss an opportunity to watch his films with their entire family.That is one reason why a Salman Khan film like ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ fared better that a classy ‘3 Idiots’ at the box office. Going to his film is like a picnic for the entire family.
As some marketing analysts commented “When you go to a Salman Khan film everything else- story, execution and quality become secondary. He is the biggest draw of the film and the audience that laps up every antic of his even if vastly exaggerated most of the times.”
Every now and then Salman manages to get into a spat with journalists and photographers as happened recently but that again does not affect his fan following.
His appeal to what we called front-benchers (now with PVR all that classification is gone) is understandable. He does what the audiences expect of him- Period!
Having talked to a lot of his fans, some in my own home, I think I have some inkling of the reasons why Sallu remains a star film after film after film while his heroines much younger than him are nowhere around five years after their debut with him, with some honourable exceptions.
His appeal is that of a larger than life common man playing the do-gooder, smashing villains and whatever come in his way, of a human being who is as fallible as any of us and finally who has a laconic sense of humour. He appears so casual that he manages to deliver even the most serious dialogue smiling and the women specially love him for that.
He is too lazy and down to earth to be scheming or mouthing idealistic slogans like some others. His earnestness and sincerity shines through the entire film and that is why he appeals to the heart not the head.
My own favourite among the current crop is Aamir Khan, but at every given occasion whenever he is asked “what does Salman Khan have that you don’t” he categorically mentions his Star Appeal. And I can’t imagine Aamir Khan going wrong being an insider of the industry!
By: Amitabh Srivastava
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