Race 3 may be another Salman Khan hit but his best films are those where he's surrendered to director's vision

Seema Sinha

Jun,22 2018 18:31:53 IST

After all the trolling and criticism, Race 3’s finally going to be declared a hit purely on the basis of the initial traction gathered by Salman Khan’s box office muscle. Now, is that a reason to rejoice? If I were Salman Khan, I would not have put on my dancing shoes as yet.

Jacqueline Fernandez, Salman Khan and Daisy Shah in a still from Race 3

Jacqueline Fernandez, Salman Khan and Daisy Shah in a still from Race 3

One of the most expensive films of the year, Race 3 may just crawl to a total of under Rs 200 crore. The question on the lips of every fan and foe alike is – "Is this what you expect from Salman Khan’s Eid release?" Definitely not, even from the business point of view. And from the aesthetic point of view, the less said the better. A ‘technical hit’ can at times be more fatal than a clear flop due to its misleading ambiguity.

For instance, Race 3 is not a mere under-performer in isolation. If the business stops under Rs 200 cr (which seems likely as Sanju preps for release on 29 June), this will stop Salman Khan from reaching many an enviable records. If the film were to cross Rs 210 crores, it would have been the first time in Bollywood history that an actor would have had five of the top 10 grossing films in his name. Now, Salman could miss that record by a mere Rs 20 to 30 crore. Another lifetime record that he could miss would be surpassing Dilip Kumar’s feat of 10 highest grossers of the year. Last year, he matched it with Tiger Zinda Hai but failed to beat it at least for this year. Also, with Race 3 crossing Rs 200 crore he would have become the star with maximum films in each of the three clubs: Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore and Rs 300 crore.

We are sure these days Salman is getting plenty of unsolicited advice on how to work with the best actors, filmmakers and studios. But we would much rather go for a fact-based analysis — but before that, an assumption that is very obvious from various media reports:

In the eight years since Dabangg, Salman has seen his highest peak with 13 releases. Of these 13,

  1. Dabangg, Bodyguard, Dabangg 2, Jai Ho and Race 3 are the ones that have maximum inputs from Bhai including casting (“Mamu, shirt utarega kya?” type casting calls), music (Bhai as the new age Wordsworth writing ‘Selfish’ lyrics) and the choice of directors (from younger brother being given a project to a dance film director being handed over the megaphone for an action-thriller).
  2. Ready, Kick and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo are the creative vision of the filmmakers but with some inputs from superstar especially in casting.
  3. Ek Tha Tiger, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan, Tubelight and Tiger Zinda Hai are mostly the director’s vision and most professionally executed projects where Bhai did not get to meddle with much.

Now, look at the results of the five films that have the greatest stamp of Salman in everything, from casting to content. Two were groundbreaking successes (Dabangg series and Bodyguard), one is a disappointment (Jai Ho) and one could possibly fall short of reaching box office glory, given Salman's own records (Race 3). All the three films that were the filmmakers’ vision with Salman’s inputs were mid-level successes. But the films that have been really successful are: Bajrangi BhaijaanTiger Zinda HaiSultan and Ek Tha Tiger, where Salman, in a very professional way, had given the reins to the producer-director and surrendered to their vision. However, the catch is that one of Salman’s biggest disappointments, Tubelight, is one from this category.

So it is very obvious that the films where he gives some inputs do moderately well. However, the films where he surrenders himself to the directors’ vision are the ones that are working best for him, save an occasional glitch.

Now, it is up to Bhai and his wisdom to decide which approach he wants to take for his future films. We, as fans, are anyway duty bound to set aside a huge part of our hard-earned salary in buying the FDFS (First Day First Show) ticket of his Eid and Christmas capers.

Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 18:31 PM