Ready hits screens this week. And it looks like Salman Khan bonanza over the next 4 months- with Bodyguard being ‘readied’ for an Eid release. This post is about what I feel are the top 10 performances by Salman Khan in his almost 22 year long career till now. He is indisputably a huge star- but few believe in his acting prowess- and that is not surprising coz of the kind of roles he pitches in with from time to time- but no one- who has even an iota of ‘samajh’ about acting- can deny that he is one of the most natural and charming actors to be born on the Hindi movie silver-screen- so here goes
Maine Pyaar Kiya/ Hum Aapke hain Kaun: Raw charm and simplicity exuded with such an understated aura- that few could say that Salman Khan was being an actor in these films. He was Prem- the ‘devar’, the son, the brother, the friend, the lover… It is a credit to the man that he could do such roles with such confidence- because any lesser actor could have been typecast in such family guy mould- and could never break away-
Veergati/Karan Arjun: Playing an anguished man at war with the world and with himself, Salman Khan excelled in an avatar that was poles apart from his alter-ego PREM. Sadly Veergati never got him the recognition he deserved- and in Karan Arjun he shared credit with another emerging superstar SRK. I am not sure about this but it might have been possible that Salman was shooting for HAHK and Karan Arjun at the same time- and if true this alone is testament to his ability to switch characters remarkably well.
Tere Naam: This came out when he was on an all time personal low. And what a performance did he put up for his fans to enjoy. Playing the brat, jilted lover in the first half and a mentally ill man in the other, he excelled. This character of Radhey claimed to have the shades of Salman Khan the person- and this actually led to him starting to put shades of himself in his characters- and that backfired in many movies.
Pyaar Kiya to Darna Kya: Now people might say- it was just a reguar romcom- decent- but what was the scope for performance- to them I would say- sucks to you - histrionics is not acting- and anyone who appreciates this fact might also appreciate this act of Salman- Suraj- very much carrying the entire film on his shoulders- he delivered one of his most entertaining movies- and also started a few trends- As the persevering lover, willing to shun all his wealth for true love, Suraj came across as an extremely likable chap- and the ultimate lover
Jab Pyaar Kisi se Hota Hai: Playing an alcoholic, rich, spoilt womanizer (repeated this act in some other lesser movies), Salman Khan portrayed vulnerability and love superbly, and the relationship he shared with his kid- was one of the most beautiful father son relationships seen in Indian cinema.
Dabangg: Now this one is special. Not just because it broke some box office records. But because it gave us India’s first rural, rooted, traditional, human superhero- while watching Chulbul Pandey mouth his one-liners, who can say that this beefy guy is the same one who was once ‘Prem’ of Indian Households.
Veer: Now this one didnt go as expected. Salman’s brainchild, he put in his heart and soul in the performance- although his look received a lot of criticism in many scenes of the movie where he looked haggard ( dyed long hair)- The story was a letdown- the romantic track was cheesy- and there were lots of things about the movie that didnt work- and sadly that led to Salman getting no praise for his exceptional portrayal of a warrior. If the result would have been as good as the idea on paper- I am READY to bet that Salman would have won the awards- he later won for Dabangg- for this movie.
Jaaneman: I cant imagine that the man who made this gem of a movie later made Tees Maar Khan. Shirish Kunder gave one Salman one of his best and most difficult roles- he was shedding tears for most of the second half (usually tough heroes don’t cry on screen). I am at a loss of words here- again the scenes between Salman and his little daughter are the cutest and most beautiful ones ever between a man and his kid in Indian cinema.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam/ Khamoshi: Both Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films these had Salman playing lovable and naughty charmers- in both he was a musician.. and in both he had tough climax scenes to perform- now people may say that he overacted- but he acted in a manner that were extensions to his characters- the way Suraj cried in the climax is how Suraj was throughout the movie- I don’t know about acting gurus or crtics- but for me they were great pieces of living the character- if SLB would have thought of them as shoddy acting performances- he wouldnt have let them come out the way they did…
Last but in no way the least-
Andaz Apna Apna : Both were idiots- but he was the duffer- he was the sidekick- he was the loser- he lacked wit- he lacked charm- he got overshadowed and he got beaten- But wasnt that how it was supposed to be? I feel what Aamir did in AAA, almost any good actor could have done- but what Salman did in AAA- few could have even attempted- AAA has to be his most underrated ‘acting’ performance- sadly…
The ones that almost made it- London Dreams, Saajan, and Judwaa.