Salman Khan has been in the industry for more than three decades now and has seen some unimaginable highs and unfortunate lows. The superstar made his Bollywood debut with the 1988 film Biwi Ho To Aisi but it was Sooraj Barjatya’s 1989 love story Maine Pyar Kiya which made the audience fall in love with the actor.
Featuring Salman as Prem and debutante Bhagyashree as Suman, the film was a huge hit and till today remains as one of the most memorable films of his career. Maine Pyaar Kiya (MPK) wasn’t just a huge Box Office success, but it also established Salman as Bollywood’s ultimate ‘Prem’, making it his most popular screen name yet.
After Maine Pyar Kiya, Salman continued his success streak with Baaghi: A Rebel for Love, Sanam Bewafa and Patthar Ke Phool. But soon after striking gold with these films he made some bad choices i.e. Kurbaan, Love, Suryavanshi, Ek Ladka Ek Ladki, Jaagruti, Nishchaiy, Chandra Mukhi and Dil Tera Aashiq which gave his career a huge setback. In between he also delivered a big hit in Saajan, which had featured big stars of that time like Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit. Saajan remains as yet another much-loved film of his career, primarily because of it’s super-hit music. Who could forget Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik’s soulful “Mera Dil Bhi Kitna Paagal Hai” or Pankaj Udhas’s “Jiye To Jiye Kaise” from the film? The story was loved by the audience and even Salman’s performance as Akash Verma received much appreciation.
Then came the historic 1994 when Andaaz Apna Apna, which featured him alongside Aamir Khan had released. The film wasn’t a Box Office success but is now considered to be a cult comedy. There’s a strong and loyal fanbase of the film and its characters. Amar-Prem played by Aamir & Salman are huge among the audience. Rumours of a sequel to the iconic film are also doing the rounds, however it is yet to see whether Salman features in it.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun (HAHK) with Madhuri Dixit also hit the cinemas in the same year and created history at the Box Office. The film was a benchmark setter for Bollywood as it broke the 19-year-old record of Sholay. Interestingly, director Sooraj Barjatya who had given Salman his biggest so far re-strengthened his career with HAHK.
A couple of disappointments in 1994 like Chaand Ka Tukdaa & Sangdil Sanam were also there but Salman along with Shah Rukh Khan gave a major hit Karan Arjun in 1995. By this time, Arjun’s Karan had truly arrived.
However, the actor still continued to struggle with bad choices like Veergati, Majhdhaar and Dushman Duniya Ka. Even the 1996 film Khamoshi: The Musical directed by the maverick Sanjay Leela Bhansali couldn’t help much. The directorial debut of Sanjay Leela Bhansali was an acclaimed film and won Filmfare Critics Award for Best Film but it was a Box Office disappointment. Though Salman continued to get numbers with Jeet in the same year.
In 1997, he gave a major hit like Judwaa, while in the following year he had the successful Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya in his kitty. Even Bandhan and Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai worked well.
Then came 1999 in which he gave bigger hits like Hum Saath Saath Hain, Biwi No. 1 and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (HDDCS). While Hum Saath Saath Hain was the biggest grosser of that year, the other two were also in Top 10. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam which was his 2nd film with SLB also had his then love interest Aishwarya Rai alongside Ajay Devgn in lead. HDDCS turned out to be an iconic romantic film. However, unfortunately in the same year, he gave two flops in Jaanam Samjha Karo & Hello Brother.
From the year 2000 to 2009, Salman struggled for the success he deserved. Some of the major flops that he gave during this time are Yeh Hai Jalwa, Phir Milenge, Dil Ne Jise Apnaa Kaha, Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar, Baabul, Salaam-E-Ishq, Marigold, God Tussi Great Ho, Yuvvraj, Main Aur Mrs. Khanna, London Dreams among many others. However, films like Tere Naam, Baghban, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?, No Entry, Partner and Wanted kept him going.
Even in his low phase, Salman remained to be a superstar because of his loyal fan following. Tere Naam was one such film that worked wonders for him. His fan base was flabbergasted by his looks and his performance. A lot of his fans copied his hairstyle, which had become a sensation after the release of Tere Naam. The film was a Box Office success but even bigger on satellite.
MSK, Partner & Wanted were other films in these years which really entertained the audience. Wanted is still loved by the movie goers and its apparent extension as Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai is slated to release this year.
From 2010 began Salman’s best phase in his career. Salman Khan’s Chulbul Pandey avatar from Dabangg did magic for him and brought him from backfoot to the front immediately. The film was a huge hit, Salman Khan’s 1st 100 crores grosser and Bollywood’s 3rd. His character Chulbul Pandey became a sensation and people started copying his style again. He followed that up with back to back massive grossers like Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg 2, Kick, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai, and Bharat. With these films, he didn’t just crack a monopoly in 100 crores club but also got a strong foothold in 200 & 300 crore club. Though there were some disappointments as well like Jai Ho, Tubelight, Race 3 and the recent Dabangg 3.
Despite all these ups and downs, ‘Bhai’ remains to be the true blue superstar that he is. While it is unlikely that that his Radhe will meet the May 22 release date, his fans will be eagerly waiting for the actor to announce the new release date of the Prabhdheva directorial with his famous dialogue “Swagat nahin karoge humara?” Let’s not forget there’s Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali also in the pipeline.