How to be a superstar again like Salman Khan

Mon12Sep11

Seems ki woh pikchar Bodyguard is a super hit. In fact this movie might be even bigger than Dabanng! Once there was a time like this when Salman was a superstar. He was one of the big three. His popularity was tremendous in India – when single screens still reigned supreme. People overseas were nuts for him. The man was a legend.
The rise of the multiplexes dented Salman’s box office viability. As Indians grew in stature on the global platform, they adopted a sensibility not aligned with Salman’s old jhatka matka ways. They flocked to see more diversity and Salman’s box office collections dwindled. His movies were still making money (Tere Naam, No Entry) but they were littered in a corridor of alarming clunkers (Salaam-e-Ishq, Marigold, God Tussi Great Ho, Yuvvraaj, Veer). Had audiences left Salman behind?
Out of nowhere Salman is having the time of his life. He’s cranked out blockbuster hits like Wanted, Dabanng, Ready and Bodyguard. How did he make this dhuwadaar mother of all comebacks? Here is the formula – revealed at last!

Be patient – things will turn around

So what if multiplex audiences are rejecting you? Give them time. Pretty soon they’ll start missing all their bad habits and come to watch throwaway entertainment. Can people afford to be intellectual all the time? No sir, they cannot! Besides they’ll eventually have kids – who won’t be as jaded about watching potboiler cinema.

Invoke the inner goonda in your core audience

While flipping channels recently I came across a scene from Dabanng. I watched for a few minutes. Next to me my 9 year old son Youngling pionted to Salman and said “Dad, he thinks he’s so cool, but he’s a jerk!” In that movie Salman walked the edge between a terrorist and a dil-ka-sachha romeo so dangerously that we all felt like we were watching something seminal – like Laila Majnu with Gulshan Grover in the lead.
By playing goondas who were well meaning but misguided, Salman invoked the inner boisterousness in us all.

Protect your image carefully

Look what happened to Salman’s competition. Aamir Khan got all smartypants and started talking about issues and well rounded entertainment. Shahrukh embraced his middle age by becoming an increasingly benevolent maharaja. And that Kolkata Knight Riders debacle? Shudder! Lets not even go there. These two completely lost their edge.
But what did Salman do? He stayed true to his bad boy roots and made waves in the media for his jhagdas and romantic lafdas. Sure when those movies were flopping there was time left to crank out some paintings and reveal an artistic side. But that was on the down low. In an entertainment world of shifting sands, Salman became the most reliable touchstone.

Always make the same movie

Diversity is all well and good. But after a while you crave for ghar ka khaana. That home cooked meal is Salman Khan. Having the same daal roti sabzi each time is irrelevant. In fact, its sheer predictability is exactly why people gravitate towards it.

Convert your dances into anthems

See, there are three things you need to work out with the producer before you sign the movie. Reading the script might sound like one of those three things, but that is not for our man.
Instead insist on having a signature dhamaaka song. Then put lots of “common people” in it. You know like policemen, chaiwalas, jhaaduwalas and neta types. This will allow the “common man” to feel like Salman cares for them. And the people who consider themselves uncommon will feel that this is a noble thing to do and watch also.
Lastly keep your dance steps simple, like jerking your collar (Wanted) or pumping your belt (Dabanng) or putting your hands in your pant pockets and playing table tennis (Ready). You can bet everyone will try this once at home. Momentarily you will have a viral hit on your hands.

Make all your co-actors irrelevant

In Dabanng Salman acted with a creamy, sexy heroine who glowered and threw him meaningful glances. No one even knew how to spell Sonakshi properly. Did it matter? No.
In Ready Salman acted with Asin, an overactor with lack of grace who was stuck with a bad stylist. Even when she danced it looked like she was practicing Jiu-jitsu. Did it matter? No.
In Bodyguard Salman acted with Bollywood’s No. 1 heroine Kareena. Same result each time!
If you go watch all of Salman’s scenes or songs with his costars you’ll notice that Salman is acting all by himself. Salman struts around so much that every love song is a serenade to himself. Every fight is all about him outdoing himself. Every dialogue is in competition with his last movie to sound more dhaasu.

And in conclusion…

Now that I’ve been kind enough to reveal how Salman managed to become Bollywood’s biggest star all over again: tum mujh par ek ehsaan karna, ke mujh par koi ehsaan no karna! Please don’t try this formula at home. The world isn’t big enough for another Salman Khan.

Originally at http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/line-of-sight/entry/how-to-be-a-superstar-again-like-salman-khan

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One Response to “How to be a superstar again like Salman Khan”

  1. Sandi Says:

    Marigold was my first introduction to Salman Khan and I think it is a great movie, not a clunker, as you suggest. Box Office doesn’t always translate to a good movie. This story has a lot of fun elements – a love story, fabulous dancing and songs and a more relatable. It’s just enough over the top to make it a fun movie. I’m a little late to the SK party but I think he’s terrific.


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