Message is the man

Salman Khan’s latest was different from his usual template but still scored big at the box office

Written by Harneet Singh | Published on:September 8, 2012 12:55 am

Iss picture mein Bhai,Bhai maafik nahin tha par kya farak padta hai. Bhai ka picture hain hum toh dekhenge na (In this movie,Bhai [Salman Khan is not like himself but that doesn’t matter. If he’s in a film,I’ll definitely watch it).” M,my faithful box office barometer outside Gaiety Galaxy shares this gyaan after having seen the latest tsunami hit of his favourite,Salman Khan,five times. He goes into raptures describing his favourite hero’s antics but reluctantly confesses that the film’s climax broke his heart. “Aise kaise Katrina ko plane udaane diya director ne. Bhai udata toh zyaada achcha hota. Bhai,hero hai after all (Why did the director let Katrina fly the plane? It would’ve been better if Bhai had done it,after all,he’s the hero),” he says. In M’s book,other than this uncool un-“Bhai maafik” action,Ek Tha Tiger is purrfect.

Since he found his mojo with Prabhudeva’s Wanted,Salman is scripting his own brand of Salman-specific movies. Having brought the formula back and with his star power currently at its zenith,he ensures that his film is a slave to the blockbuster. Ek Tha Tiger,however,is not the Bhai film that his fans typically go crazy over.

Ek Tha Tiger lacks that memorable commitment and ehsaan-type dialogue,that chartbuster song and that cool shirtless moment that makes the Salman template. As for the action,it’s slick,but when you can spot the stunt double doing the Salman moves — well,then it’s no fun. This one is for director Kabir Khan though — granted cinema is cheating,but it’s all about cheating well. That said,my Ek Tha Tiger money shot was when Salman stops a speeding tram with the help of his blazer,which he twirls quite nonchalantly around the wires. He hangs onto the cloth as the tram comes to a stop with not even a hint of a drop of sweat on his forehead. After the mission possible,he puts the blazer-cape back on and walks on casually. Phew. No wonder,the SMS joke goes: Hollywood has Spiderman,Batman,Superman,Ironman while we have Sal‘man’.

Ek Tha Tiger can safely be termed the most Un-Salman film in recent times. Yet it clicked. So much so that it is in the record books as the fastest and the second highest grosser ever. At the time of going to print,the film,at the end of its third week,has netted a total of Rs 194.13 crore (according to trade analyst Taran Adarsh). A mindboggling figure,especially when this is a film where Salman is not Salman. Producers Yash Raj Films went for the widest ever release when they carpet-bombed approximately 3300 screens in India and 1200 screens overseas.

It’s all about riding the wave. Salman is currently riding one just like Rajesh Khanna did at one time. They say the medium is the message; in Salman’s case the message is the man. People pay to watch him. They don’t care what he’s selling,they just want to buy. He can sell bananas in a film standing under a tree and it’ll be a hit. They really don’t pay attention,do they,these Salman fans? Take,for instance,the …continued »

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