A superstar can be kept quiet for a while, but can't be silenced for long. It's not easy to be bestowed the superstar tag. The triumvirate of the trade, film industry and media need to reach a consensus before promoting a film star to the mantle of a superstar. Only 15 make and 7 female actors have been declared one in the history of the Hindi film industry, and they've earned the moniker through sheer hard work, a frequent association with blockbusters and consistently delivering huge opening over a sustained period. On that note, perhaps, no actor in Bollywood is hailed as a superstar more than Salman Khan (only Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan are the two names who're taken in the same breath as Salman), and not without good reason.
However, did y'all know that there was a prolonged period of 7 years when the actor reached such a low phase that hardly any of his films clicked either critically (not that he needed to ever bothered with what critics thought) or commercially (where he was really hit hard during this period)? Salman though, being the superstar that he is, rose like a phoenix not only to prove that it doesn't take long before a superstar comes roaring back to form, but also did so by reaching the peak of his career and reclaiming the top spot with renewed vigour.
Today, on his birthday, we decided to take you on a trip down memory lane with the best example of how it takes but a big solitary hit for a superstar to prove that form is temporary — no matter how many setbacks she/he witnesses at the ticket windows — but class, and especially, the fan-following is permanent.
Pre-2002, Salman's consistent run ended with Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, which, through not a raging hit, was a decent enough success at the box-office. The actor's dismal phase was about to begin though, and nobody, not even him or his closest confidants, would have imagined how bad it was going to get. Salman Khan delivered 4 clean hits (3 if you remove his extended guest appearance in No Entry), 1 semi-hit, 2 average grossers and as many as 17 flops during this period, including 8 disasters, with 2006 being his worst year of all. We kid you not, we would never lie about Bhai, we love him too much to do that. Check out the list for yourself below:
Hits between 2002-2009 (not including cameos and guest appearances like Baghban and Om Shanti Om):
Tere Naam (2003): 14.52 cr nett - Hit
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004): 29.11 cr nett - Hit
No Entry (2005): 44.72 cr nett - Superhit
Partner (2007): 66.19 cr nett - Blockbuster
Wanted (2004): 60.24 cr nett - Hit
Average Grossers between 2002-2009:
Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam (2002): 13.52 cr nett
Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005): 25.69cr nett
Flops and Disasters between 2002-2009 (not including cameos and guest appearances like Stumped and Saawariya):
Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge (2002): 10.53 cr nett - Flop
Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002): 5.49 cr nett - Flop
Phir Milenge (2004): 2.50 cr nett - Disaster
Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa (2004): 14.38 cr nett - Flop
Lucky: No Time for Love (2005): 15.94 cr nett - Flop
Kyon Ki (2005): 12.71 cr nett - Flop
Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar (2006): 4.58 cr nett - Disaster
Saawan...The Love Season (2006): 3.47 cr nett - Disaster
Baabul (2006): 17.32 cr nett - Flop
Jaan-E-Mann (2006): 25.13 cr nett - Flop
Salaam-e-Ishq (2007): 22.68 cr nett - Disaster
Marigold (2007): 1.72 cr nett - Disaster
God Tussi Great Ho (2008): 12.52 cr nett - Disaster
Yuvvraaj (2008): 16.89 cr nett - Disaster
Main Aurr Mrs Khanna (2009): 7.40 cr nett - Disaster
London Dreams (2009): 28.96 cr nett - Flop
2010 and Beyond:
Now comes the turnaround, and all it takes is one big hit — one universally appealing film that is loved by the audience across age, territorial, class and gender demographics. Salman got that film with Dabangg, which not only singlehandedly turned his fortunes sround overnight, bringing him soaring back to his former glory and reminding everyone why a moviestar of his stature can never be tied down. Every one of the naysayers, the pseudo-intellectual critics perennially baying for his blood, part of the industry who rejoiced in writing him off, the section of the media who wrote his obituary too soon — they all had to eat their words, not knowing what hit them and where it suddenly came from.
Thankfully, Dabangg also served as a wake-up call for Salman, making him realize that he needs to be careful about the projects he chooses, not sign films anymore for the heck of it, stop doing any sort of films for friends and relatives even if they feel bad about it and concentrate solely on giving his legion of fans what they desire. Salman had never looked back ever since Dabangg, delivering first the maximum blockbusters in a row for any actor in any decade of Bollywood, and then following it up with the maximum blockbusters of all time for any lead actor in Bollywood. Sure, there has been a misstep or two in between like a Tubelight or Race 3, but that's normal and nothing more than mere aberration in what's a stellar run that's refusing to slow down. Just check out his track record from 2010 onward below (not including cameos and guest appearances like Tees Maar Khan and Son of Sardaar):
Dabangg (2010): 141.25 cr nett - All-Time Blockbuster
Ready (2011): 148.86 cr nett - Blockbuster
Bodyguard (2011): 120.72 cr nett - Blockbuster
Ek Tha Tiger (2012): 198.78 cr nett - Blockbuster
Dabangg 2 (2012): 155 cr nett - Blockbuster
Jai Ho (2014): 116 cr nett - Average
Kick (2014): 231.85 cr nett - All-Time Blockbuster
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015): 320.34 cr nett - All-Time Blockbuster
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015): 210.16 cr nett - Hit
Sultan (2016): 300.45 cr nett - All-Time Blockbuster
Tubelight (2017): 119.26 cr nett - Flop
Tiger Zinda Hai (2017): 339.16 cr nett - Blockbuster
Race 3 (2018): 169.02 cr nett - Below Average
Bharat (2019): 211.07 cr nett - Hit
Dabangg 3 (2019): 119.55 cr nett*
Now that's a record any actor from any industry would gladly give up an arm and a leg to have; maintaining that over a period of 9 years, including delivering 5 blockbusters in a row at one time, is just phenomenal. Now, we hope you comprehend why we initially called him a phoenix who reclaimed his top spot (Salman was the no. 1 star of the 90s). The last nine years have not only been sensational for Salman Khan fans, but the whole of Bollywood, as such monstrous hits benefit the entire industry. While wishing the superstar a very, very happy birthday and all the health and happiness in the world, we also hope that he continues entertaining us the same way he's been doing through his golden phase and wish that every film of our beloved Bhaijaan emerges a blockbuster. Happy birthday, Salman Khan. We love you from the bottom of our hearts.
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