After an 80 cr budgetted (cop+marketing) ‘ek tha tiger’ went on to nett 199 cr at the boxoffice the best thing for salman to do would have been to sign a 100 cr budgetted film, may be 125 or 150 cr budgeted one, with the most successful director, topmost banners like Yashraj, dharma, excel or UTV, with a katrina or a deepika (may be both if the script demanded) as heroines and with a huge canvas. it was all his for the asking. but what he instead does is go ahead and sign a 50 cr budget film (much less if you take out ghar ki murgi sohail khan’s fees, just a notional cost) with, hold your breath a daisy shah and big boss contestant sana khan, and assorted sideys like ashmit patel and yash tonk in the supporting cast. the immediate 1st fallout of which was that the naysayers started counting ‘mental’ out from the probable top grosser of the year saying its not expected to beat dhoom 3, krish 3 and now even yjhd. (as if maine pyaar kiya was always expected to beat ram lakhan, sajan was always expected to beat ‘hum’, hahk was always expected to beat anjaam, biwi no 1 was always expected to beat baadshah, no entry was always expected to beat mangal pandey, dabangg was always expected to beat my name is khan and bodyguard was always expected to beat ra1) the fact is that almost always, with rare exceptions like mughal e aazam, om shanti om, mother india and offcourse ek tha tiger, the biggest hit of the year is a surprise and usually the film that is expected to be the biggest hit doesn’t end up as that. this is more true in salman’s case, in whose 25 years career, only once did ppl predict his film to be the biggest hit of the year (ett) but he has defied their predictions to notch up an astonishing 9 biggest hits of the year, 7 of them thoroughly unexpected (kkhh was a special appearnce and a srk film and salman was a surprise special appearence).
coming back to his ‘mental’ startegy of doing a much smaller film (hopefully with strong emotional content) instead of a huge one appears to be just the perfect one. The problem with ‘bigger-and-bigger-until-the-bubble-bursts’ startegy is that its very counter productive for the star and the careers of dilip kumar, amitabh bachchan, anil kapoor and sharukh khan did become a victim of this phenomenon. of those only dilip kumar managed to resurrect himself with huge blockbusters like kranti, vidhata and karma. rest of them, once the bubble burst, went down the drain, with their films scale, size, budget and boxoffice revenue getting smaller and smaller. so much so that one of the biggest star of the century amitabh bachchan ends up with a department, and a shahrukh khan is doing a ‘himmatwala’ lookalike chennai express.
the other strategy of taking one step back to take a ‘run up’ to be able to jump higher seems a much better one. the fact is when a small film becomes a hit (based on content), it builds brand equity for the star (from jugnu shaheed to zanjeer deewaar to mpk hahk to bazzigar darr to ashiqui 2) while when a big budget overhyped one becomes a hit, it is usually feeding off the star’s brand value and doesnt do much for the future of the star (ram aur shyam for dilip kumar, coolie for amitabh, don 2 for shjahrukh etc. ett for salman is a different case as it came at the back of 4 huge hits and there was momentum) in the case of a smaller star, a hugely hyped big budgetted hit makes the next film of the star appear ‘insignificant’ (sohnu mahiwal post betaab, teri kasam post love story, anjana anjani post rajneeti) on the other hand if the such big budgeted film fails at the boxoffice there is hell to pay for (leader, toofaan, ganga jamuna sarawati, ra1, mangal pandey, veer etc) Continue reading