What does the success of Race 3 mean? No more experiments for Salman Khan; Bhai and Eid go hand-in-hand

Abhishek Srivastava

Jun,18 2018 08:46:34 IST

The verdict on Salman Khan’s latest film Race 3 is out and critics have ripped the film apart. While Variety in its review has pointed out that there are 'too many narrative speed bumps', trade analyst Taran Adarsh has dubbed Race 3 ‘disappointing’. Firstpost, in its review, has mentioned the film’s numerous ‘what the hell just happened’ moments. In short, reviewers are unanimous in their verdict.

The poster of Race 3

The poster of Race 3

But defying all expectations, Race 3 has now earned the distinction of being the biggest opener of 2018, with a Rs 29.17 cr collection on its debut day in theatres. This phenomenal response is nothing short of a marvel and the only reason the film succeeded in garnering such a huge collection can be attributed to the mega-stardom of Salman Khan. The corollary that Eid and Salman Khan go hand in hand has been proved yet once again. It’s now a given — whenever Salman Khan plays to the gallery during Eid, success is warranted. Any deviation from the set formula might just derail his juggernaut as witnessed last year when things turned so bad during Eid that Salman Khan was forced to return money to people involved in the distribution of Tubelight.

So how should one read the finer points that come with the success of Remo D’Souza directed Race 3?

The assumptions look crystal clear – the success of this film will restrict Salman Khan’s experiments. It reaffirms and seals the fact that Salman can only be equated with success only if he were to appeal to the popular taste. Deviation from the set norms might just spell disaster. This also is a catch-22 situation for the star. While he has cracked the formula to fatten his bank balance, it also restricts him as an actor. The initial box office success of Race 3 also takes away his freedom to pick roles and satiate the actor within. Chances are that Salman Khan, henceforth, might just become a classic case of an actor enslaved to his own image. In the future, while he may continue to eat the sweet fruit of his stardom, he will never be dubbed as an ‘actor’.

The success of Race 3 also demonstrates that Salman Khan remains a creation of his die-hard fans who simply cannot imagine their Bhai in any other role save epitomising what Bollywood is best known for. The cushion that his die-hard fans provide to him is so secure that post Dabangg he has seldom failed at the box office.

This is also reflective in the fact that his two biggest duds in the recent years – Jai Ho and Tubelight – despite being given a thumbs down by the audience, went on to cross the 100 crore barrier. In an earlier interview with Ali Abbas Zafar, who has directed Salman Khan in two of his blockbusters – Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai he revealed to this writer that the star believes in shortening things up or in other words try to find an easy way out. “If it’s a six-line scene, he will try condense it to two lines. If you reason with him saying people won’t comprehend the scene, his answer would be that people will still understand. His whole idea is that why waste time during edits when edits can happen while shooing the film.”

The success of Race 3 will also impact the ecosystem of Bollywood in days to come.

Salman Khan in Race 3 poster. Twitter/ @beingsalmankhan

Salman Khan in Race 3 poster. Twitter/ @beingsalmankhan

In the future, this may dissuade other established stars, too, from experimenting with their roles and the practice of churning out mind-numbing masala flicks will gain further impetus in huge numbers. Race 3 mocks the effort of every single film released in past, which championed good content and writing, but perished subsequently only because it failed to impress both theatres and audiences wide. The film’s success also negates the cry of ‘Bollywood is changing’ and ‘audiences are evolving’ – which we get to hear and read in every second interview of a Bollywood talent.

As the climax of the film showed, Race 4 is not a distant possibility and is very much on cards. Judging by the DNA of the series, it’s a foregone conclusion that the fourth in the series too would be anything but a hatke film. For audiences who yearn for good films, Race 3 restricts their opportunity to explore meaningful cinema in numbers. Bollywood remains a fraternity that believes in herd mentality and till today, for most filmmakers, imitation remains the best form of flattery. The success of Race 3 is bound to give others reasons to churn out more in the Housefull, Dhoom, Golmaal, Dhamaal series. Salman Khan has graduated from being a star to now a concept.

Updated Date: Jun 18, 2018 09:04 AM