As Bollywood buffs brace themselves for the release of the new Salman Khan starrer on Wednesday, the question being asked is how big is big when it comes to the “Dabangg” superstar. “Sultan”, releasing on Eid, is expected to make a new box office record in the first week, say trade experts.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh said: “Salman Khan + Yash Raj Films + Eid release… it can’t get bigger than that. Over the years, Salman’s box office status has multiplied manifold and every film of his generates tremendous curiosity.
“The volume of business coupled with the massive fan following he enjoys, raises the bar every time a new Salman film is about to release.”
Sounding a note of caution for those who are already predicting that “Sultan” will be the biggest blockbuster of Salman’s career, Adarsh added: “It’s a bit too early to predict if ‘Sultan’ will surpass the business of his previous films. But the fact is that the advance booking has been fantastic and it being a five-day weekend, the film is expected to shatter records.”
The movie is about a wrestler who has problems in his professional and personal life, and needless to say, Salman — who at 50, has one of the best physiques in tinsel town — has gone all out to be in his fittest frame for the movie.
“Sultan” comes at a time when Salman is caught in a controversy for using an inappropriate simile of having “felt like a raped woman” while describing his ordeal during the shooting of “Sultan”. He made the statement during a press interaction, and his comment last month snowballed into a controversy.
Nevertheless, trade pundit Komal Nahta is more certain of the success of the Ali Abbas Zafar directorial, which also stars Anushka Sharma.
“There are all chances of it being Salman’s biggest ever. At least one of his biggest for sure. Music, craze, dialogues, trailers… Everything is highly talked about. Box office history is waiting to be rewritten,” he said.
Added trade analyst Atul Mohan: “‘Sultan’ producer Yash Raj Films is targeting at the widest release for the movie not only in India, but overseas also. The audience is hungry for a massy film which hasn’t come for a long time.”
He said that the advance booking looks promising.
“With the long weekend ahead, the film should easily cross more than half of Salman’s previous best collections within five days… The content of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ ensured that it got a good run at the box office, and if the content of ‘Sultan’ is lapped up by the audience, then new records will be created.”
Senior journalist and critic Bharathi S. Pradhan said: “It will be huge. But beating his own blockbusters may be a problem. It would depend on how good the film itself is. If it’s disappointing like ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’, it won’t go beyond the expected initial draw.”
However critic Raja Sen is not that gung-ho about Salman’s “Sultan” act.
“It might well be a massive hit, though I’d dreamily like to believe his imbecility will finally have a visible impact this time around and, like me, maybe a few dozen people will choose not to watch it. But don’t bet on it.”