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The Controversial Khan

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KHAN ACHIEVED GREATER STARDOM BY PLAYING THE LEAD ROLE IN SEVERAL SUCCESSFUL ACTION films, starting with “Wanted” (2009) that marked a significant turning point in Khan’s career. The movie was directed by South’s choreographer-turneddirector Prabhu Deva and earned super-hit status. With this began the onset of many such “Masala” commercial blockbusters with overwhelming mass appeal that not only set the box office cash registers jingling but placed Salman on an unrealistic yet undeniable pedestal of super stardom and immense popularity. When Salman signed on to play a fearless cop with a comedic twist, in Dabangg (2010), directed by bro Arbaaz Khan, what initially looked like a favor to save his not-so-successful bother’s career, turned out to be a cult film and the turning point for him. Dabangg’s stupendous success was followed by many more lucrative films, some of which were purely focused on mass appeal like Ready(2011) Bodyguard(2011) Dabangg 2 (2012) Kick (2014) while grossing over the coveted 100 crore revenue mark. Here, however, a couple of films deserve a special mention as they established Khan’s position as an actor beyond the star. Khan’s “Ek Tha Tiger” (2012) where he enacted the role of an Indian Spy marked his first association with the prestigious Yash Raj Films was appreciated by the both critics and masses alike and was a blockbuster.

His role of a lifetime came with director Kabir Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ that received positive reviews from critics and the public, becoming the second highest grosser till date in India and earning 6 billion worldwide.

So what is it that has given Salman Khan this cult, infallible Midas status? This astonishingly wide fan following with the masses going hysterical over his dance moves and fight sequences.

SALMAN KHAN IS A BRAND; As iconic in stature as they come. He is the only actor with nine consecutive films crossing the 100 crore mark, cementing his position as the undisputed box office King. He is admired and praised by his peers, fondly called ‘bhai’ by the industry wallas and looked up to and sought after by newcomers and his juniors.

Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor are just a few of the new generation heroes he took under his wings as their “ fitness guru” to get them in shape for the silver screen.

As all men at the top of their game, Salman gets attention from all quarters. He has been appointed as the Olympics Goodwill Brand Ambassador of the Indian contingent in the Rio Games, with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) citing him as the ‘biggest Bollywood star’ with ability to draw ‘maximum attention from the masses’.

HOWEVER, IT ISNT ALL ROSY AND PERFECT IN THE KHAN UNIVERSE. That he is a controversy magnate would be an understatement with his off-screen life being marred by contentious behavior and legal troubles. His tumultuous relationship with Aishwarya Rai, his hunting of endangered species, and a negligent driving case in which he ran over five people with his car, killing one, have been extensively covered by the Indian media. For the last of these, Khan was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in 2015, but was later acquitted.

Whether it is an attempt to repent or to clean up his image (as suggested by some cynical sections of the media) the philanthropic work and goodwill gestures of Salman Khan are indisputable and for all to see. His charitable Foundation “Being Human” is a registered trust set up by him for helping the cause of the underprivileged in areas of healthcare and education.. In its early days, Salman Khan set up and funded the Foundation using his own money.

His every move is closely monitored and reported by the media, especially his muchhyped spat with none other than Shah Rukh Khan. On the subject his views are characteristically honest and candid:

“I hate people who come and badmouth Shah Rukh in front of me simply because Shah Rukh and I are not on talking terms. I can understand if Shah Rukh talks ill of me or if I talk ill of him, but I can’t take it if somebody else talks ill of him to win my favour. Not done!”

His fans couldn’t get enough of him on the silver screen, so he decided to join them in their living rooms by hosting the television game show Bigg Boss which became the highest rated show on Indian television. Where so many other stars had failed as tv show hosts, here is Salman Khan who can balance his larger than life persona from the 70 mm screen on to television. His affable manner, tongue-in-cheek humor and natural presence made the show a massive hit with the viewers.

It’s his innate ability to set Bollywood trends over time that accounts for his consistent success in the Indian Film industry. Films run on his sheer star-power and the film-makers and the audience love him and his work for that.

A confirmed bachelor, he has had his share of relationships and barring Ashwariya Rai, all his exes continue to maintain friendly and close ties with him, be it Katrina Kaif, Sangeeta Bijlani or Somi Ali.

His upcoming film, Sultan is an Indian sportsdrama film produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films banner, co-starring Anushka Sharma and centers around Sultan Ali Khan (Salman Khan), a wrestler who has problems in his professional and personal life. From a small town wrestler in Haryana, Sultan achieves global fame. The actor has worked extremely hard for the film and really wants the audience to watch his never before wrestler act. As for us, the audience, we cannot wait to see Salman display his muscular strength in the avatar of a wrestler. If the promos are anything to go by, Salman Khan fans are in for a treat with the actor looking fitter and hotter than ever.

THE BOX-OFFICE SUPERSTAR, THE FILMINDUSTRY’S “BHAI”, THE ONE-MAN ARMY MUSCLE KHAN, BLOCKBUSTER KHAN, CONTROVERSIAL KHAN, ‘BHAIJAAN’, “SALLU”– with such endless names attached to his larger-than-life persona and being adored by millions across the world, this Khan truly embodies mega stardom, stature and fame. He is fabulously handsome and hugely popular among the masses and classes alike. He is none other than Salman Khan, a name that carries weight, and I am not just speaking of his rockhard biceps, but also of immense success and star power. Oh and by the way, he turned 50 last December- that’s a jawdropper right there, isn’t it?!

Salman Khan made an instant mark in Bollywood with his first lead role back in 1989 in the Rajshri Productions “Maine Pyaar Kiya”. The movie was a huge hit and turned Salman into an overnight heartthrob. With a career spanning 27 years to date, Salman Khan has seen it all – the highs and the lows. Today his popularity and appeal have persisted, and in fact grown, through the years.

If one were to talk about his filmi repertoire, it spells out commercial success in bold capital letters. His charisma and on-screen persona are undeniable and have been instrumental in garnering him a global fan base.

WHETHER IT WAS HIS EYE-CANDY BOYISH GOOD LOOKS OR THE ROMANTIC HERO IMAGE in the ‘90’s with hugely successful films like Hum Aapke Hain Koun!(1994) , Kuch Kuch Hota Hai(1998) for which he was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor, followed by the romantic drama Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and the family drama Hum Saath-Saath Hain, he had become the cine-goer’s darling with girls swooning over him and guys working out in the gym to ape his six-pack physique.

It won’t be incorrect to state that Salman Khan is responsible for popularizing the gym culture in urban India and cultivating the ‘Fitness mantra’ within Indian pop culture. The youth idolized him and wanted to look like him. His signature style of going shirtless in practically every movie while being totally at ease with his body, is totally keeping in line with his unabashed demeanor and beguiling candor.

It is this latter refreshingly honest aspect to his personality that endears him to his fans though it has, on more than one occasion landed him into awkward (to put it mildly) situations as well.

WHILE COMMERCIAL SUCCESS ALWAYS SMILED UPON SALMAN, he finally tasted critical acclaim in 2003 with his portrayal of an emotionally disturbed and scorned lover in the romantic film Tere Naam where he delivered a stellar performance with shades of a vulnerable person within a tough exterior.

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“I’m not possessive, I’m caring… once you realize a person doesn’t want that much care, you automatically back off”

“I don’t have to show that I am working very hard”

“Cinema should always be in touch with the soil of the country. My films celebrate the heartland of India”

“In life, go straight and turn right”

“For me, acting comes straight from the heart. In the sense I don’t act at all. I think that to feel the character’s pain I have to be myself. Somewhere audiences see that”

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