Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has announced that his upcoming action thriller, Radhe, will release in theatres on Eid this year. The mega announcement, made on January 19, was like a sigh of relief for fans of the superstar, as well as the ailing film distribution sector. Why? Because they feel that Radhe can revive the theatre business, by luring cinema lovers into multiplexes and single screens.
Eid is a time of joy, blessings, good food, and happiness galore. However, for more than a billion people in India, the festival has become synonymous with Bhaijaan of Indian cinema, Salman Khan. Ever since the smashing success of Wanted in 2009, Salman has pledged to give his die-hard fans an Eid treat every year. And to no one’s surprise, Khan’s Eid offerings have been cherished by his fans. Eid, which was considered a less-than-lucrative period for film releases, has now gone on to create the popular Salman Khan genre of flamboyant films itself. Mounted on a huge scale with a larger-than-life approach, these entertainers have set a plethora of box office records over the past decade. And Salman Khan’s next, Radhe, is set to follow that route too.
However, before Salman’s next, Radhe, hits the cinemas during Eid this year, here’s looking at how Salman Khan found an unlikely friend in the festival, after a lukewarm phase between 2006-08 for him.
It all started with Wanted for Salman Khan. His filmography got an enormous boost courtesy of the Prabhudeva directorial venture, which set the box office ablaze with its seeti-maar dialogues, chartbuster music and top-notch action sequences. Made on a modest budget of Rs 35 crore, Wanted went on to net more than Rs 61 crore at the domestic box office and over Rs 100 crore globally, making it one of the highest-grossing movies of the year. This despite the fact that the Salman Khan-Ayesha Takia starrer clashed with Rani Mukerji and Shahid Kapoor’s Dil Bole Hadippa at the box office. Wanted’s punchline, “Ek baar jo maine commitment kardi, toh phir main apne aap ki bhi nahi sunta”, has become synonymous with Khan’s real-life persona since its success.
As the colourful cop in director Abhinav Kashyap’s Dabangg, Salman Khan wreaked havoc at the box office with his inimitable style and unmatched energy. So much so that Salman Khan became Chulbul Pandey and Chulbul Pandey became Salman Khan. An Arbaaz Khan Productions venture, Dabangg was the biggest blockbuster of 2010. Against a production cost of Rs 42 crore, the movie went on to earn a massive Rs 140 crore net at the domestic box office and over Rs 220 crore worldwide. The film even won the prestigious National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and marked the debut of Sonakshi Sinha in Bollywood. The songs of Dabangg continue to remain popular among the masses. It is also worth mentioning that ever since Dabangg’s release, none of Salman’s subsequent films have earned less than a minimum of Rs 100 crore at the box office, which is a record in itself.
“Mujhpar ek ehsaan karna, ki mujhpar koi ehsaan na karna,” said Bodyguard Lovely Singh as fans danced to his tunes in the theatres, helping the Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor-starrer become the highest-grossing feature film of 2011, despite the mixed reviews. Mounted on a budget of Rs 60 crore, Bodyguard netted Rs 148.86 crore at the Indian box office and over Rs 250 crore worldwide. Upon its release during Eid, the actioner broke several box-office records and was the first Bollywood film to net more than Rs 100 crore within the first week itself.
If Bodyguard was the first film to net Rs 100 crore within seven days of its release, Ek Tha Tiger became the first film to rake in over Rs 100 crore at the box office in five days flat! The first instalment of the blockbuster Tiger franchise destroyed all opening day, weekend and weekly records set by Salman Khan starrers in the preceding years. The Kabir Khan directorial venture also marked Salman Khan’s debut with Yash Raj Films (YRF). Comprising an ensemble cast headlined by actors like Salman, Katrina Kaif, Girish Karnad and Ranvir Shorey, Ek Tha Tiger went on to become the highest-grossing film of 2012 by netting Rs 199 crore at the domestic and over Rs 334 crore at the global box office, against a production budget of Rs 75 crore. At the end of its theatrical run in the country, the espionage thriller was the second-biggest commercial grosser of all time as well as the biggest Bollywood opener until then.
Kick marked the directorial debut of acclaimed producer Sajid Nadiadwala and promised to present Salman Khan’s Devi Lal Singh, aka Devil, with shades of grey. During the time of its release, Kick was the costliest Bollywood project to feature Salman Khan. The film was mounted on a lavish budget of around Rs 140 crore and went on to amass Rs 233 crore net at the Indian box office and over Rs 388 crore worldwide. Kick, which featured chartbuster songs like Jumme Ki Raat, Hangover and Yaar Na Miley, also brought the pair of Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez on celluloid for the first time. Also starring prominent faces like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Randeep Hooda in pivotal roles, Kick was the first Salman Khan starrer to cross the Rs 200-crore mark at the Indian box office.
Touted to be the best Salman Khan film so far, Bajrangi Bhaijaan brought back the actor-director duo of Salman Khan and Kabir Khan. Also starring Om Puri, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor and Harshali Malhotra in important roles, the film torched the global box office and brought both critical and commercial acclaim to its makers. This Kabir Khan directorial venture netted more than Rs 321 crore in India and an eye-popping Rs 969 crore at the global box office. Despite having released in 2015, Bajrangi Bhaijaan continues to be the second-highest Bollywood grosser in the world, second only to Aamir Khan’s sports-drama, Dangal. To top that, the film also became the second Salman Khan-starrer to win the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, after Dabangg.
Produced by Aditya Chopra under the banner of YRF, Sultan starred Salman Khan in the titular role opposite Anushka Sharma as Aarfa. Both Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma delivered one of the finest performances of their career in this Ali Abbas Zafar directorial venture. Filmed on a total budget of Rs 90 crore, Sultan went on to gross more than Rs 300 crore in India and over Rs 614 crore globally. Not only that, but this underdog story of a wrestler was also successfully screened at the Busan International Film Festival. Later, at the Tehran International Sports Film Festival, the film won Ali Abbas Zafar, Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma an Honorary Diploma for the Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress in the Long Narrative section, respectively. It went on to become the second mainstream feature for both Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma to go past the Rs 300-crore mark in India, after Bajrangi Bhaijaan and PK, respectively.
After a string of box-office blockbusters, Salman Khan decided to let go of his larger than life on-screen persona for his third outing with director Kabir Khan. However, playing a man-child in the understated Tubelight didn’t help the makers rake in the moolah initially expected from this out-and-out drama. The film was dropped like a hot potato by Salman Khan fans in the first week itself. The film settled with a box office total of Rs 120 crore in India and Rs 211 crore. globally.
All that glitters is indeed not gold and there cannot be a better example than Race 3 to prove it. Arguably the worst Salman Khan film to hit cinemas, Race 3 opened to huge opening-day figures and managed to rake in over Rs 100 crore within the first three days. However, the preposterous Remo D’Souza directorial venture, which was mounted on a massive budget of around Rs 150 crore, expectedly succumbed to poor reviews after Week 1 and settled with Rs 167 crore in India. Starring an ensemble cast headlined by actors like Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Saqib Saleem and Daisy Shah, the third instalment of the Race series managed to go past the Rs 300-crore mark worldwide, courtesy of the Salman Khan effect.
A massive opener at the box office, Bharat repeated history for Salman Khan by smashing home huge opening-day figures, despite a clash with the Cricket World Cup. For a film that initially opened to mixed reviews, Bharat not only became the biggest opener of Salman Khan’s career by netting Rs 42.30 crore on its opening day alone but also clocked over Rs 211 crore at the India box office and in excess of Rs 325 crore worldwide. Bharat was made on a budget of about Rs 100 crore. The ambitious drama staked its claim to become one of the highest-grossing films of the superstar’s career and featured decent performances by Sunil Grover and Katrina Kaif as well. Better still, Bharat marked a hattrick of hits for the actor-director duo, Salman Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar, after the mammoth success of Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, respectively.