By Joginder Tuteja
It all started with Dabangg. The film released back in 2010 and was first of Salman Khan Eid releases to hit gold. The film took a very good start and while it enjoyed a superhit run, the subsequent super success of Bodyguard  pretty much established that Salman Khan and Eid were now synonymous of each other. However, after a double hat-trick of Eid successes, it all came crumbling down when neither Tubelight  nor Race 3  worked commercially. No wonder, all eyes are now on Bharat to reverse the trend for Salman Khan.
“It had been one unbroken streak for Salman Khan once he scored a century with 100 Crore Club success, Dabangg. Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan were all Eid releases. Such was the dominance of Salman Khan during Eid that no other film, whether big or small, dared to come in front of his films on the festive occasion. However, Tubelight as well as Race 3 proved to be dampeners,” says an insider.
In fact Tubelight took the lowest Eid opening for a Salman Khan starrer since Dabangg and was received poorly at the box office. No wonder, even Salman has admitted that the release strategy went all wrong for the Kabir Khan directed film. Later, Race 3 was all style and no substance, and even though the start was still right for the film, there wasn’t much sustenance. Salman Khan has in fact jokingly mentioned that even his flops go past the 150 crore mark, as was the case with Race 3.
“However, the joke can’t be extended any further now as even Salman Khan would agree that he need a big one with Bharat,” says a trade expert, “You can’t afford to have three successive disappointments on back to back Eids. There is certain dominance that you enjoy when you stamp your name on a festive occasion. One more flop and other superstars may well begin to plan their films on Eid from 2020 onwards.”
Fortunately for Salman Khan, the team is just right for Bharat.
“Exactly,” the insider adds, “To begin with, the film is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar with whom Salman Khan has delivered two major blockbusters already. Sultan  was an Eid release and scored huge commercially; so much so that it entered the 300 Crore Club. Later, Salman and Ali Abbas Zafar reunited for Christmas 2017 release Tiger Zinda Hai, which again scored a triple century. With Katrina Kaif in tow, Salman would be definitely aiming to make it three in a row after Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai.”
It would be interesting to see how it all actually turns out to be, considering the fact that Bharat has a different kind of theme and set up, with a strong patriotic flavor to it.
“Last few Eid successes of Salman Khan like Sultan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Kick have been hardcore mass commercial affairs. Of course Bharat is commercial as well but then one waits to see the kind of ‘seeti-taali maar’ moments in there. Since the film traverses generations, right from the time of partition to the current times, it could well throw in some surprises as well,” an observer comments.
One just hopes though that the surprises here are pleasant indeed as Bollywood is indeed looking forward to a quintessential blockbuster affair that brings in paisa vasool moments. So far, the year has seen one major money spinner in the form of Uri – The Surgical Strike which was led by relative newcomer Vicky Kaushal. Salman Khan and his fans would certainly be aiming for Bharat to be one up on that.
Opening day of Salman Khan’s Eid releases
Race 3  – 29.17 crores
Tubelight  – 21.15 crores
Sultan  – 36.54 crores
Bajrangi Bhaijaan  – 27.25 crores
Kick  – 26.52 crores
Ek Tha Tiger  – 33 crores
Bodyguard  – 21.60 crores
Dabangg  – 14.50 crores