There was a time when Salman Khan was going through a rough phase at the box office so much so that he succumbed to doing forgettable cameos in cringe-fests like Love At Time Square, Stumped, Saawan-The Love Season etc. His fortune turned around with Wanted and Dabangg solidified his stardom at the box office. Since then he never put a foot wrong at the box office. Even if a film of his didn't reach the expected box office figures in the long run, it was still used to open to a thunderous response and used to grow by leaps and bounds in days that followed the release. As I mentioned earlier he didn't put a foot wrong in his glorious run at the box office, until now! When Tubelight released on June 23, 2017 rather than being a big blockbuster as all other Salman Khan films usually are, it turned out to be a damp squib. While trying to figure out as to what really went wrong with the film I checked out few of die-hard fans' reaction and also got in touch with few of them personally and they all unanimously were of similar opinion, "Picture mein dum nahin hai!" Also read: 5 reasons why adapting Hollywood movie Little Boy for Salman Khan's Tubelight was a really, really stupid idea
So did Tubelight turn out to be his biggest mistake? let's find out...
No playing to the gallery
One of the die-hard fans of Salman Khan said after watching the film, first day first show, "Jab bhai ko woh laafaa marta hai bhai paani mein girta hai...uske baad shirt nikalna chahiye tha. Picture mein kuch damm nahin hai." referring to a scene in the film, where Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub's character slaps Salman Khan's character. And blasphemously 'Bhai' doesn't give it back to him, instead he starts crying, sticking true to his character. Another fan told me, "His cuteness his dedication for role (was good) but disappointed with story and direction no suspense no climax only Salman justify his role (sic)"
Mind you, these are those fans who swear by each and every film of his and even consider a film like Bodyguard (which I personally feel is his weakest film) a masterpiece. So how and why suddenly a change of opinion? Well the answer is simple, he didn't play to the gallery in this one. As rightly mentioned by one of his fans above, there was literally no high point or 'suspense' or twist in the film, the narrative was bland.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan hangover
Many may point out that 'Bhai' is re-inventing himself, trying to do something new well, Bajrangi Bhaijaan can be called the re-invention not Tubelight. Even in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Salman played a do-gooder innocent man. And even though in that film too he didn't play to the gallery but there the script was very strong and so was Kabir Khan's execution. Salman had just one fight scene but the film still turned out to be his biggest blockbuster. His character developed through the course of film, he had an arc. Here's Laxman Singh Bisht or Tubelight remains the same person by the end of the film as he started off.
Not a befitting Eid release
The bad release date didn't help the film either. In no sense whatsoever one can pass Tubelight as a festive release. It is NOT! Plain and simple.
A 52 year old man playing the role of a kid... WHY???
Another reason for the big mistake that is Tubelight can be attributed to Salman Khan playing a man-child at the age of 52. There is no doubt he acted well and his dedication to the role is visible but then again he looked odd playing the role, blame it on his aura, his super-stardom.
Expectations with Salman-Kabir combo
Another attribute was Kabir Khan-Salman Khan combo. When fans saw the name of Kabir Khan as director, they automatically expected a film similar to or at par with the likes of Ek Tha Tiger or Bajrangi Bhaijaan. And when they got a much inferior outcome they were left disappointed.
The Baahubali 2 blow
And finally the biggest of them all is the whole phenomenon that is Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. After the super blockbuster of Baahubali 2. There was a clear division between fans of the film and fans of the three Khans, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. While Aamir Khan proved his mettle with Dangal, as it thrashed Baahubali 2's worldwide record, thanks to its business in China, and reclaimed his top spot. Shah Rukh Khan is yet to see a release. So Salman Khan became its first casualty.
As soon as Tubelight hit the screens on June 23, 2017 fans and movie watching audience immediately started comparing it with the likes of Baahubali 2. The Prabhas starrer Telugu-Tamil blockbuster has raised the bar for Hindi cinema, so much so that nothing short of its majesticness will be accepted by the viewers. Especially not when the film features Salman, Shah Rukh or Aamir. Tubelight was definitely not the film Salman Khan should have come up with, especially when audience have witnessed the grand magnum opus Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.
Poor word of mouth
Tubelight failed on all above mentioned accounts. And then lack of memorable dialogues, no chartbuster songs, slow pacing, thin plot and the fact that the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi seemed forced on viewer's conscious, didn't help the film either.
Tubelight indeed can be termed as Salman's biggest mistake. Consequences of which might have an adverse effect on Salman Khan's box office standing...
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