“There may soon be a generation that believes Eid is celebrated because a Salman Khan film is releasing,” tweeted Shirish Kunder in 2014. The statement pithily captures megastar Salman Khan’s association with the festival that has brought him copious riches, renown and refulgence. All his 8 movies released on Eid, to date, have been monumentally successful. ‘Tubelight’, which releases on June 23, 2017, is his 9th Eid release.
Here’s the lowdown on all 8 Eid releases of Salman:
Judwaa (February 7, 1997) – Rs 13.14 crore nett; 1.36 crore footfalls
‘Judwaa’ was a first for Salman Khan in myriad ways – it was his first Eid release, the first time he worked with David Dhawan (with whom he went on to forge a super successful partnership), the first time he did pelvic thrusts and slapstick comedy, and also the first time he essayed a double role. Riding on peppy songs, wacky dialogues and Salman’s unbridled charisma, the film was a huge hit. The original title of the movie was ‘Janambhoomi’, which was later changed.
Wanted (September 18, 2009) – Rs 61 crore nett; 1.32 crore footfalls
‘Wanted’ was a rite of passage for the megastar. Not only did it shore up his flagging career – he had churned out an array of flops in the last 3 years – it also provided him with an ideal template to whip up blockbusters that he used to good effect in subsequent years. While the movie didn’t open to packed houses, it picked up steam after the weekend and turned out to be a sleeper hit. It did record-breaking business in single-screen theatres and lent them a new lease of life as they were on the verge of closing in the face of mushrooming of multiplexes. In Bihar territory, it was the highest grosser of the year and leapfrogged even ‘3 Idiots’.
Before ‘Wanted’, Diwali and Christmas were regarded as the most lucrative and sought-after occasions for the release of movies, but ‘Wanted’ made the industry take notice of the phenomenal potential of Eid. Ever since, the festival has become synonymous with Salman’s blockbusters.
Dabangg (September 10, 2010) – Rs 141 crore nett; 2.51 crore footfalls
Though Salman had made a thumping comeback with ‘Wanted’ in 2009, the movie that ushered in an era of unparalleled and uninterrupted success for ‘Bhai’ was ‘Dabangg’, which released on Eid 2010. It threw all opening records out of the window and rattled up 141 crore in India. The chart-busting songs and zingy one-liners became a rage among the hoi polloi. The highest grosser of 2010, ‘Dabangg’ also marked the debut of Abhinav Kashyap as a director, Arbaaz Khan as a producer and Sonakshi Sinha as an actress.
Bodyguard (August 31, 2011) – Rs 145 crore nett; 2.22 crore footfalls
In terms of content and critical acclaim, ‘Bodyguard’ is arguably the weakest link in Salman’s grand train of Eid releases. But that still did not stop it from faring exceptionally well and becoming the highest Bollywood grosser for 2011. What left the trade amazed was that the movie didn’t just take a historic opening, it continued its glorious run at the ticket window even after the superlative first week. This only served to reinforce the industry consensus that Salman’s dizzying stardom is all it takes for a movie to rake in moolah, its merits be damned! That people throng to cinema halls only to watch ‘Bhai’ was driven home yet again beyond any doubt.
Ek Tha Tiger (August 15, 2012) – Rs 186 crore nett; 2.47 crore footfalls
Taking into account all factors, ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ possibly fetched the best opening of this decade. It released on 3,200 screens and registered almost 100% occupancy across India. The film hoovered up 32 crore on day one and pulverized all previous records by a huge margin. This was the first time the Salman-Kabir duo came together and the denouement was nothing short of earth-shattering. With this film, Salman became only the second actor in Bollywood – after Amitabh Bachchan – to deliver the highest grossing movie for 3 consecutive years (Dabangg – 2010; Bodyguard – 2011; Ek Tha Tiger – 2012)
The fact that it was a trifle too simplistic and dumbed-down to be a spy thriller didn’t matter at all to a vast majority of the audience.
Kick (July 25, 2014) – Rs 213 crore; 2.42 crore footfalls
Sabre-rattling action sequences, foot-tapping ditties, exotic locales and Salman’s peerless mojo made ‘Kick’ the 2nd highest grossing movie of 2014. The movie connected big time with masses despite its wafer-thin and hackneyed plot. The crowds in the theatres were seen dancing in the aisles at ‘Jumme Ki Raat Hain’ and ‘Yaar Na Mile’. The chemistry between the lead actors – Salman and Jacqueline Fernandez – was scorching. The presence of Nawazuddin Siddiqui elevated the movie a few notches and made it a watchable potboiler.
Before its release, the industry was abuzz with speculation whether ‘Kick’ would outstrip SRK’s last release ‘Chennai Express’, which had mustered Rs 208 crore, beating Salman’s then highest grosser ‘Ek Tha Tiger’. ‘Kick’ eventually scraped through.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (July 17, 2015) – Rs 316 crore; 3.55 crore footfalls
‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ remains Salman Khan’s biggest blockbuster and also his most critically acclaimed to have released on Eid. An immensely beatific movie promoting cross-border camaraderie and religious amity, it was a complete departure for Salman in terms of content and ethos. For the first time in over 10 years, Salman pitched in a wonderfully restrained performance sans his trademark corybantic antics. It won him (and the film) several awards (not that he cares two hoots about them!).
‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is the 3rd biggest hit of Salman’s career as per footfalls (no. of tickets sold) after ‘Hum Aapke hain Kaun’ and ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’. Since 2000, it is the 3rd biggest hit overall after ‘Gadar’ and ‘PK’. After ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, the Salman-Kabir duo whipped out another blockbuster and highest grosser of the year.
Sultan (July 6, 2016) – Rs 301 crore; 3.24 crore footfalls
Perhaps the stupendous critical and commercial success of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ gave Salman some food for thought. He would have realised the significance of ‘high-content’ movies. The fact that any of his Eid releases, irrespective of the content, would be blockbusters is a foregone conclusion, but if the movie has subtext and rich content, it garnered halcyon goodwill, acclaim and longevity along with the pretty penny.
Salman put in the hard yards for ‘Sultan’ to enact the role of a wrestler authentically and his diligence was adequately ostensible on the silver screen. It is arguably his best performance in last 15 years. The director Ali Abbas Zafar put together an eminently entertaining movie with substance and sapience.
- The box-office numbers of movies are all India nett collections
- Footfalls are no. of tickets told