Salman Khan turns 49 on Saturday (December 27). Since his debut in the early 1980s, the flamboyant Bollywood star has been an all-inclusive package of entertainment, trend-setter and a mass hero who has shed his bad boy image to become a transformed humanitarian.
One of the most-bankable stars in the Hindi film industry, Salman now craves for more.
During an appearance on chat show Koffee with Karan, Salman said in April that he was making his choices on films as well as humanitarian endeavours based on one principle: he does not want to be a movie star who has a great fan following in his life and is forgotten in death.
Salman added he wanted to help others and do something that will not let him fade from memories.
We wish him luck and hope that he succeeds in his mission. But that’s about the present and future. As the Bollywood star celebrates his birthday, HT takes a look at Salman's journey so far.
Salman Khan – Bollywood’s brat
Salman started his career with a supporting role in Rekha-Farooq Shaikh-starrer Biwi Ho To Aisi when he was in his early twenties. He took many avatars on screen over the years and ran into several major controversies.
He has a history of troubled relationships (Aishwarya Rai’s parents filed a police complaint against Salman in 2002, alleging that he threatened and harassed the ex-Miss World) and picking up fights with co-stars (he had a tussle with Shah Rukh Khan at Katrina Kaif’s birthday party in 2008 and once allegedly threatened Vivek Oberoi). Salman also landed in a spot after allegedly hunting down a black buck (in Rajasthan during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain in 2006) and causing a fatal accident (Mumbai 2002) while driving in an inebriated condition.
Salman Khan – Masses’ hero, trend-setter
Salman has time and again appeared as the larger-than-life hero who can take on the system, beat up an army of goons and win the world single-handedly. Bizarre action sequences and movies draped in chivalry are rampant in south Indian films. It was Salman who spotted the potential of such movies in the Hindi belt. With Wanted (2009), Khan started the trend of remaking Tamil and Telugu films -- with almost no additional inputs for a different cultural milieu.
When Salman proved that films with similar plot and scenes can still make the audiences flock to theatres, stars such as Akshay Kumar (in Rowdy Rathore and Boss) and Ajay Devgn (in Son of Sardaar and Action Jackson) thought of putting their bets on south remakes. In fact, Akshay and Ajay have now made far too many movies in the genre.
Salman Khan: Re-inventing his brand
Setting up the Being Human Foundation in 2007 was Salman's first major step towards re-branding himself. The ‘brat’ started investing time and money for philanthropic causes. The foundation runs a lifestyle brand; royalty from which is allotted for children in need. Salman has now focused on medical care and education for children. To gather money for the cause, Salman has also set up a production house – Salman Khan Being Human Productions, which has produced the National Film Award-winner for best children’s film, Chillar Party (2011), and Canadian movie Dr Cabbie (2014).
Forbes India lists Salman as the top the celebrity this year; he replaced Shah Rukh Khan. With earnings worth Rs 244.50 crore in 2014, Salman proves his credibility. Even a film like Jai Ho, which was shunned by even a section of his fans as well, is one of the top grosser of the year. What else? Salman reportedly earns Rs 6 crore per week as the host of controversial reality TV show Bigg Boss.
Salman's ‘Dabangg’ image has also bagged him several brand endorsements. Brands like Thumbs Up, Wheel and Relaxo rely on him to promote their products in their commercials, for which he reportedly charges Rs 8-10 crore per advertisement.
Films that are not non-sensical
Salman is credited for the story idea of Baaghi: A Rebel for Love (1990), a film that revolved around prostitution and people who strive to help women who are victims of the social evil. Nagma starred opposite Salman in the film.
Starring opposite Revathi Menon in Love (1991), Salman had one of the best love-stories in his kitty quite early in his career. Directed by Suresh Krishna, the film is the remake of Telugu blockbuster Prema, and features Venkatesh and Revathi.
Bollywood’s cult comedy Andaz Apna Apna (1994) -- featuring Salman, Aamir Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor and Paresh Rawal in the lead roles -- is the highest rated Bollywood movie on IMDb – 8.8.
Salman has worked alongside Nana Patekar, Manisha Koirala, Seema Biswas and Helen in the critically acclaimed drama Khamoshi: The Musical (1996). The film marked Sanjay Leela Bhansali's directorial debut and won several awards including Filmfare awards.
After a lull, Salman returned to the limelight with Satish Kaushik’s Tere Naam (2003). It is the second best rating any Salman movie has on IMDB – a rating of 7.1.