Nobody in Bollywood holds a fandom quite like Salman Khan. Not only have his fans given him a demi-god kind of status but even his contemporaries dare not cross his path. What other claim could justify the fact that all his offerings in the past few years have been able to secure a solo release at the theatres? Little did one know in 1989 when Salman appeared as the coyish Prem for the first time in Maine Pyar Kiya, that there will come a time when this Khan of ours will become THE most bankable actor of the industry.
But that is only half the story. Controversies and Salman have also always gone hand in hand. After all, this is not the first time the Tiger Zinda Hai actor is spending time locked in prison. From allegedly running over a person sleeping on a Mumbai pavement to allegedly harassing one of the most reputed female actresses of his time, Salman has had more than his fair share of controversies. Here’s a brief timeline.
Salman’s brushes with the law
The atrocious night of October 1, 1998, is probably where it all started. Besides the current blackbucks poaching case for which Salman is being held in the Jodhpur Central Jail, there were two other cases involving the poaching of chinkaras and deer for which Salman was found innocent by the court. There was also a fourth case where Salman was found in possession of expired arms, but again, he was acquitted.
Khan also infamously spent some time in a Mumbai jail for the 2002 hit and run case when his white Toyota Land Cruiser allegedly crashed into the American Express Bakery at Hill Road in Bandra, killing one person and injuring four others. Then too, the trial court had found him guilty and awarded five years of imprisonment but he was later acquitted by the High court on the grounds that his driver was handling the wheels.
His infamous fights
While cases have piled up against Salman in courts, his notoriety has spilled over in his personal life too. In 2002, Salman was even accused of “emotionally, physically and verbally” harassing his then-girlfriend Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Rai has even spoken about the incident in a number of her interviews. “After we broke up, he would call me and talk rubbish. He also suspected me of having affairs with my co-stars. Salman hounded me and caused physical injuries to himself when I refused to take his calls,” she said in an interview to TOI.
Another actor who came under the radar of Salman is Vivek Oberoi. Vivek, who was reportedly in a relationship with Salman’s ex-girlfriend Aishwarya at that time, accused Salman of drunkenly calling him 41 times in the night and even threatening to kill him. This was revealed by Vivek himself in a 2003 press conference.
On the other hand, his tiff with Shah Rukh Khan is probably one of the longest cold wars Bollywood has seen. Salman almost came to blows when Shah Rukh Khan made an inappropriate comment about Salman at his then-girlfriend Katrina Kaif’s 2008 birthday bash. He was even involved in a squabble with singer Arijit Singh when the latter made fun of his poor hosting skills at an award function. Salman took matters so out of proportion that even today, he doesn’t let the singer sing any of the songs in his films.
Controversies aside, Salman is still box-office king
But despite all his brushes with the law and otherwise, his fanbase has never been affected. His films have become more or less, a phenomenon in the Hindi film industry. One look at the box office performance of his Bollywood outings will suffice to prove how his stardom has remained intact. Be it Tiger Zinda Hai, Tubelight, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, or Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, none of Salman’s films have been able to make it to the good books of the critics. But all of them have set the cash registers ringing like never before.
A look at their box office collections: Tiger Zinda Hai – Rs 339.16 crore, Tubelight – Rs 119.26 crore, Bajrangi Bhaijaan – Rs 320.34 crore, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo – Rs 210.16 crore, Kick – Rs 231.85 crore and the list goes on. As can be very well seen, raking in a few hundred crores is not a huge feat for Salman Khan. Only when his film is especially bad, does it stay just past the Rs 100 crore (case in point: Tubelight). With his production venture Salman Khan Films, the actor is now even responsible for launching a number of actors in the industry.
While one cannot fathom what exactly constitutes his appeal in the minds of his fans, one thing is for sure, that with a reign of 30 years and counting in the industry, Salman is here to say. It is just a matter of days when he will get bailed out again and things will go back to being how they were. A few humanitarian causes and charities trying to prove his ‘Being Human’ness later, Bollywood will have another one of Bhai’s record-breaking blockbuster to add to the list.