After delivering a string of duds in the early 2000s, Salman Khan resurrected his career with his action hero role in Wanted (2009).
What followed was several films in the same genre — Dabangg (2010), Ready (2011), Bodyguard (2011), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Dabangg 2 (2012), Jai Ho (2014) and Kick (2014) — that saw Salman laughing all the way to the box office. But it seems like the actor is now looking for an image change. His two upcoming films — Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sooraj Barjatiya’s next with Sonam Kapoor, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo — will see Salman in softer roles.
Trade expert Taran Adarsh feels that it is important for an actor to reinvent himself. "You cannot eat the same dish every day. You do not want the audience to come out of the cinema hall saying ‘Arre yeh toh same tha (Oh, this was the same thing).’ After all, people are paying Rs 300 to Rs 400 per ticket these days," he says.
On the other hand, exhibitor Akshaye Rathi feels that Salman is going back to where he started from. "In the early stages of his career, some of his biggest hits were Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), where he played a boy-next-door. So, in his upcoming films, he isn’t reinventing himself, he is simply going back to what he has done in the past. As much as we love the Khans (Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir), they are around the age of 50. So, doing certain action scenes will become hard for them, and if they do films where they are running around trees that would also look funny," he says.
Some also feel that it is a wise move on Salman’s part to take on roles that suit his age. Trade expert Amod Mehra says that unlike older actors, who had to be pushed out of the industry as they didn’t want to play roles their age, Salman is showing foresight and is doing what is right for him. "The audience has begun to accept actors in different roles," says Mehra.
Double celebration: Even before his next, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, hits the screens this Eid, Salman Khan already has another film, Sultan, lined up for Eid 2016. Soon after the teaser was released on June 23, the movie began trending on Twitter. Salman will be seen playing a wrestler in the film, which will be directed by Ali Abbas Zafar.
Read: Bajrangi Bhaijaan release in Pakistan 'highly likely'