Salman Khan tastic
For the last two decades, Bollywood’s box office has been a ‘Khan-daani’ affair. The triumphant Khan troika -— Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir — have rewritten BO rules time and again. And despite the deluge of Gen Z entrants in B-Town, rise of younger superstars (Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan) and tinseltown’s numero uno Akshay Kumar, the Khans continue to ride high at BO stakes.
With 2008 coming to an end, there’s a triple Khan bonanza coming to the screens. Salman Khan’s Yuvvraaj has opened to mixed box office reports, but it’s too early to say otherwise. Shah Rukh who had a blockbuster 2007 (two hits in Om Shanti Om and Chak De! India) returns on December 12 in an unconventional romance – Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, directed by Aditya ‘Midas Touch’ Chopra. And perfectionist Aamir Khan’s Ghajini will be the year’s last big film.
With several crores riding on the three Khan films this year, the big question remains – will they help filmmakers, exhibitors recover cost and rake in bigger profits? Will the three six-packers be able to woo the BO again this time around, or will the year be ruled by multiplex hits and a man by the name of Akshay Kumar? And most importantly, what makes the Khan magic work even amid such stiff competition? It’s all about mathematics, feel trade pundits. Says trade analyst Komal Nahta, “Salman has had some misses this year, but the three Khans promise a certain quality of work. It’s like an ISI mark when you have SRK, Salman or Aamir in a movie. Frankly, I am very hopeful for Rab Ne Bana di Jodi and Ghajini. Along with the Khans, one should not forget the new hero at the box office —Akshay Kumar. He is as saleable as the Khans today.”
If last year OSO was the top grosser in distribution rights earning Rs 75 crore, this year Aamir Khan’s Ghajini has earned an estimated Rs 90 crore in theatrical rights. The domestic distribution rights for the Aamir Khan starrer is pegged at an estimated Rs 53 crore. Producers have sold the home video rights, overseas rights and satellite rights for another Rs 40 crore. Says Ghajini director A R Murugadoss, “It’s Aamir Khan’s perfection, brilliance and sincerity that fetches him this kind of money. The minute Aamir agreed to do Ghajini, he actually guaranteed success for the film.”
You would have thought that in India, men over 40 were well past their prime. Clearly the Khan hotties have changed that equation many times over. Filmmaker Vipul Shah who’s signed up Salman Khan for his next film says, “It’s really rare for viewers to see three important Khan films releasing in a year. I’d love to bank on all the three films because Aamir, SRK and Salman are trusted with their judgment of the movie they feature in. People are not willing to let them go. Even in times of recession, they have their loyal audience.” Indian families are so curious to watch Khan films that they allocate separate budgets for their families to watch their films.