As the Big Bhai of the single screens, Salman Khan has relished his current status as the Blockbuster Khan. Last year, a few equations changed though. Shah Rukh Khan came up trumps with Chennai Express and broke the long held record of 3 Idiots. But his was a short stint. Aamir Khan vroomed on his bike-boat in Dhoom 3 and wrestled back his leverage. Currently all eyes are back on Salman as his Jai Ho opens this week. The Hindi remake of the Telugu film, Stalin comes with blockbuster expectations — to conquer the records set by both his Khan colleagues.
Unlike good buddy Aamir Khan who preferred to keep the Dhoom 3 buzz low key, Salman‘s been on a massive publicity blitzkrieg to promote Jai Ho. Incidentally Salman Khan promoted Dhoom 3 more than even Aamir — he wore the bowler hat on Bigg Boss and signed off with the Dhoom macha le chant every night. Now that his own film is releasing, he’s gone all out — reality shows, news channels, what have you.
But it hasn’t been a smooth run up for Jai Ho. With the film’s promotion getting mired in political hues, a new kind of film publicity has come to the fore. Much has been written and debated about Salman Khan’s appearance at the Saifai Mahotsav in Uttar Pradesh organised by the Samajwadi Party. The actor earned a lot of flak for neglecting the riot victims at Muzaffarnagar, which he tried to clear up in his media interviews. Then came the photo-op of Salman flying kites with Narendra Modi and the blockbuster statement that the Gujarat CM “should not apologise for the 2002 riots as he had been given a clean chit by the courts.”
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Though some of his political statements have been off, for the large part Salman Khan has taken the criticism on the chin. He says he’s an “entertainer” and that he went to Gujarat to promote his film. In terms of film promotion, Jai Ho has been a game-changer. After all let’s not forget this is the election year where the Aam Aadmi (by which I don’t mean the AAP party but the collective force of We, the people) is clearly enjoying centre stage. Currently India is tuned to the biggest reality show — Who Will Be The Next Prime Minister? The drama is being staged on the roads, in the Lok Sabha, the Rail Bhawan and the Ramlila Maidan grounds in Delhi. Everyone is glued to the action. So is Bollywood. What better landscape than this then to sell your movie? Salman just might end up with the last laugh.