Don't believe me? Take a look at the pictures in this post! These are real press photographs of major high level world hastis who walk around with a heart shaped Salman bubble hovering over their heads. Ok, I made that last part up, but you get the point right?
The economic boom in India bought about some profound changes that were to affect Salman.
The rise of the multiplexes changed movie dynamics forever in India. Single screen cinemas - Salman's favorite hunting grounds - started delivering less revenue compared to multiplexes. Movies started catering to the multiplexes. The movie market got very crowded. Production values went up. Some of these spilled over - inevitably - to Television, ironically creating a competing market for movies. Audiences not only had a choice of multiple movies to choose from but they could stay at home, watch TV and save gobs of money.
By the time the multiplex era took root, Salman had begun a dangerous slide. Between 2006 and 2009, 10 of Salman's 12 releases tanked at the box office. In a bit of a panic and not trusting the filmmakers around him, Salman assumed greater control of his next venture - Veer. Perhaps Salman knew best what his fans wanted. Afsos, the movie was rejected by audiences. It seemed Salman had begin a fatal downward spiral at the box office and his number might finally be up.
Out of nowhere Salman was having the time of his life. How did he make this dhuwadaar mother of all comebacks, set the box office on fire and save Bollywood's flagging fortunes single-handedly? He did this with pure Salmaniyat. What would that be, you might ask? Here is the Salmaniyat formula - revealed at last!
Be patient - things will turn around
So what if multiplex audiences are rejecting you? Give them time. Pretty soon they'll start missing all their bad habits and come to watch throwaway entertainment. Can people afford to be intellectual all the time? No sir, they cannot! Besides they'll eventually have kids - who won't be as jaded about watching potboiler cinema.
In Wanted and Dabangg, Salman walked the edge between a terrorist and a dil-ka-sachha romeo so dangerously that we all felt like we were watching something seminal - like Laila Majnu with Gulshan Grover in the lead. By playing goondas who were well meaning but misguided, Salman invoked the inner boisterousness in us all.
Look what happened to Salman's brothers in Holy Bollywood Trinity. Aamir Khan got all smartypants and started talking about issues and well rounded entertainment. Shahrukh embraced his middle age by becoming an increasingly benevolent maharaja. And those nutty jhagdas last year? Shudder! Lets not even go there. These two completely lost their edge. But what did Salman do? He stayed true to his bad boy roots and made waves in the media for his jhagdas and romantic lafdas. Sure when those movies were flopping there was time left to crank out some paintings and reveal an artistic side. But that was on the down low. In an entertainment world of shifting sands, Salman became the most reliable touchstone.
Recycle! Always make the same movie
Diversity is all well and good. But after a while you crave for ghar ka khaana. That home cooked meal is Salman Khan. Having the same daal roti sabzi each time is irrelevant. In fact, its sheer predictability is exactly why people gravitate towards it. In fact as homage to Salman, I've recycled this post from an old one. Clever, no?
See, there are three things you need to work out with the producer before you sign the movie. Reading the script might sound like one of those three things, but that is not for our man. Instead insist on having a signature dhamaaka song. Then put lots of "common people" in it. You know like policemen, chaiwalas, jhaaduwalas and neta types. This will allow the "common man" to feel like Salman cares for them. And the people who consider themselves uncommon will feel that this is a noble thing to do and watch also.
Choreograph your dance so that anyone can do it
Dance steps must be simple. In Wanted, Salman jerked his collar. In Ready he put his hands in his pockets and dinged his you-know-what in time with the music. In Dabangg, he pumped his belt. In Dabangg 2, the belt pumped itself. When these songs get played, even the uncles and auntys and folks with left feet get on the dance floor and dance. This makes them associate Salman with personal moments of triumph like being able to dance.
Make all your co-actors irrelevant
In Dabanng Salman acted with a creamy, sexy heroine who glowered and threw him meaningful glances. No one even knew how to spell Sonakshi properly. Did it matter? No. In Dabangg 2, Sonakshi showed periodically to pose. Did we miss anything? No, sir. In Ready Salman acted with Asin, an overactor with lack of grace who was stuck with a bad stylist. Even when she danced it looked like she was practicing Jiu-jitsu. Did that make a difference? Nope. In Bodyguard Salman acted with Bollywood's No. 1 heroine Kareena. All these movies were hits!
And in conclusion... Now that I've been kind enough to reveal how Salman managed to become Bollywood's biggest star all over again: mujh par ek ehsaan karna, ke mujh par koi ehsaan no karna! Please don't try this formula at home. The world isn't big enough for another Salman Khan.
Can't recognize some of the people in these pictures? Move your cursor over any of them and hold still for a few seconds