Happy birthday Salman Khan: Five songs that doff their hat to ‘Bhaism’

You know it’s a Salman Khan song when you hear it. The macho star, simply the one-syllable, all-encompassing ‘Bhai’ to fans, boasts an enviable collection of Hindi songs in his nearly three decades long innings. We all know he isn’t much of a dancer but have him hit the dance floor — for best results, try any Mehboob Studios floor — and he will rock it. The shirtless Sallu turns bodybuilding gestures into dance moves and uses bath towel as a prop. Thrilled fans lap up any gravity-defying moves by their favourite Khan, who turns 53 today.

Larger-than-life and equally polarised, Salman Khan is the rare superstar for whom lyricists volunteer to have the ‘Bhai’ mythology woven into their lyrics. Call it ‘Bhaism.’ For example, look at “Character dheela hai.” Penned with Salman in mind, it’s a perfect ode to his misunderstood man-boy image. Audiences love and in fact, expect an Eid special song from him. Terms like ‘Jumma’ and ‘Mashallah’ are deployed generously in Arabian Nights-settings to reach out to the Ek Tha Tiger star’s mass base.

On the birthday boy’s big day today, here is a look at five chartbuster songs that can easily pass off as a self-tribute to his public image.

In one of Salman’s better soundtracks, the mellow “Dil diyan gullan” became an ear-worm for the heartbreak kids, the majnus and lailas. But the number that really works best as Salman mythology is “Swag se karenge sabka swagat.” Salman’s devil-may-care attitude provides the hook. And voila! Rather, wallah!

Over the years, Salman has appropriated the Eid weekend as the official release date of his films. That makes him, in a sense, obligated to include a hit Eid number in the mix. “Aaj ki party” is a peppy example. With Kareena Kapoor for company and a gentle adaab firmly in place, the pathani-clad Khan swags his way into people’s heart.

The ultimate Friday night anthem, the Kick dance number showcases Salman (a modish goatee and moustache for effect) at his free-style best. There was likely a choreographer on the sets but who cares, Salman does his own thing. The song’s adroit use of terms like ‘jumme ki raat’ and ‘Allah bachaye mujhe tere vaar se’ is aimed straight at the Bhai’s Bandra slumlords.

With 55 + million views on YouTube, this Arabian-themed song embodies most things about Salman. It’s got the ‘Habibi’ flavour that his fans can instantly identify with, there’s Salman moving and shaking at his own pace (a scarf thrown recklessly over the neck) and a belly-dance hot Katrina Kaif. In a nutshell, an entertainment-filled Salman song for the ages.

Misunderstood, controversial, brash, Peter Pan. Being Salman. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics is a news-flash of the bad boy of Bollywood. “Love is a joyous dance for everyone else. When I do the same you question my character,” goes wordsmith Bhattacharya’s lyrics, unhelpfully translated into English. To see a usually uptight Salman playfully wink at his own image is worth the popcorn.