“Salman Khan`s brand of cinema”- it is for real!
Other actors try and do cinema to prove their prowess as actors – they want to choose variety and at least once in a while break away from stereotypes. Salman pretends to attempt no such thing. More often than not, producers prefer keeping him in the limelight, give him some stunts to do, a few formulaic dance numbers and voila a Blockbuster is made!
Time and again intellectuals refuse to watch his movies. They say that his movies do not fall within the bracket of good cinema. Salman films are always the repetition of the samemasala entertainment that Bollywood refuses to let go off. And yet, time and again, Salman has proven that it does not really matter.
His fan base is immense, (let`s not get into the Shah Rukh Khan vs Salman Khan bit) and most of their love borders on fanaticism. There is no clear demographic map of the people who pledge their allegiance to Salman. He is not the hero of the elite classes like Aamir Khan has come out to be or as Ranbir Kapoor is turning out to be. Rural population flock to the silver screen to watch Sallu Bhai`smovies first-day first-show on broken benches and sweltering heat. The urban youth loves paying an extra few bucks at the malls to catch his glimpse.
What amazes a lot of people is how this guy, with many legal cases pending against him, remains a favourite of so many? He has been involved in umpteen controversies - blackbuck shooting case in Rajasthan, the 2002 hit-and-run case etc. He is not even a well-settled family man like SRK, Aamir, Akshay Kumar and the others. He has been deemed a casanova and even accused of being violent to his girlfriends. It has also been alleged that he uses his clout to threaten people and get his way. But none of that seems to matter to his fans.
The reason occurred to me while watching `Kick`. He is the ultimate bad boy with a good heart. His fans defend him by saying exactly this. While the other stars stand above and give love to their fans with a wave and a flying kiss. Salman is more of a people`s person, he goes on to meet people half way. He is known not to be diplomatic and stand on a pedestal. He is much more real than other stars. He wears his heart on his sleeve, makes mistakes, has fights and still stands tall.
Most of his interviews are cheeky. He goes on to answer the most controversial questions with a nonchalance which only a few are capable of in the industry. Plus, despite his numerous link ups – he has rarely been caught talking ill about his exes. To everyone who looks at him – Salman seems to be a star, who has been used by many to get ahead in career.
Whether that is true or not, Khan indeed has helped many a young actors to place a firm footing in Bollywood - whether it is all the débutante actresses he works with or helping young actors build their bodies to suit the needs in Bollywood. A big example of that is Katrina Kaif, who shot to fame because of Salman. She had started with a dud in `Boom`, and was almost written off until Salman helped her bag `Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?` in 2005. The list goes on with Daisy Shah, Zarine Khan, Sneha Ullal and now even Jacqueline Fernandez in `Kick`.
Hrithik Roshan and Arjun Kapoor too owe their fabulous abs to Salman. They both have acknowledged how much the `Dabbang` Khan inspired them to work-out right to look the way they do now. Not only professionally, B-Town is all praises for the superstar for standing by his friends during bad times. Aamir and Salman came close when the former was going through a divorce in the mid 2000`s, Hrithik too seemed to have had Salman as a shoulder during his separation with Sussanne recently. Dia Mirza, Govinda and a spate of other Tinsel Town vaasis have time and again received help from Khan whenever they needed it the most.
And of course `Being Human`, Salman`s pet philanthropy project is something that deserves a special mention. With this organisation, he has reached out to the people like never before. He has lent a helping hand to the poor and needy, without even knowing them. While others busied themselves in the glory of their stardom, Salman Khan was the one who made sure he gives back some of what he gets.
It is this quality of being a `bad boy with a heart of gold` image that his fans possibly adore and love so much. He is the people`s star. A hero who looks carefree and stands by what he feels is right. He is not infallible. But he makes up for it with all the charm, his screen presence and making sure he is there when anyone needs him.
Whether you hate him and his movies or not is irrelevant – the masses will adore him and continue to watch the man in action for as long as he is `being Salman`.
This article was first published on zeenews.india.com