Time for Salman Khan to Rebrand and Reinvent: A Look at the Future of ‘Bhai

Salman Khan is a name that has been associated with the Hindi film industry for almost 35 years. Some people call him the superstar, while others call him the ‘bhai’ they like to imitate in real life. Over the past 35 years, the actor has directed more than 100 films, the majority of which have been box office hits. As one of the three Khans of Bollywood, Salman has seen his share of ups and downs in his career. He has also managed to maintain a huge fan base. However, in recent years, Salman’s films have been dismal in terms of box office performance and public approval. While his films’ track record does not reflect his star power, does it mean it’s time for a change for Salman Khan?

Today, on the occasion of Salman Khan’s birthday, we talk to filmmakers and industry professionals to know what we can expect from the superstar and how he can reinvent himself like Shah Rukh Khan in 2023.

Does Salman Khan need an overhaul?
“Salman is the only one who can do what he does. I don’t think he needs to rebrand,” said Anees Bajpayee, who directed him in masala comedies like No Entry in 2005 and Ready in 2011. “Bhai needs to do comedies again. Pick topics that will grab people’s attention.

Salman doesn’t need to change his brand because people love him, says Bazmee. “Salman is the best judge of character. He has been working for a long time and knows what works and what doesn’t. I have seen him grow and develop over the years. He has always done well but in the last 10 years he has become even better. His long-lasting success in the industry shows his quality.”

The filmmaker says, “I don’t think he’ll need to make any big changes in his work, but I miss him for doing good comedy. He has an amazing sense of humor. Wasn’t he great in ‘No Entry’? I think we need to do comedy films again. I love working with him. It’s so much fun. He’s very easy to work with. He never gives any problems with dates, and he’ll give you all the days you need to finish the shoot.

Mismatch of content
Salman Khan is one of the highest-grossing stars in Bollywood. However, his last three releases – Radhe, Antim, and Kisi ka bhai kisi ki Jaan – did not do as well as expected on the box-office. Trade points to a ‘mixture of content’ in his recent releases. “Salman Khan’s Tiger 3, despite earning Rs 400 crores at the box-office, is one of the lowest-grossing films of this year. Even his small role in Shahrukh Khan’s Pathaan got more love than all his recent releases put together.”

Komal Nahta, trade expert, talks about the chances of what is going wrong with the actor. “If the content isn’t good, no amount of star power will save you,” he says.

Salman Khan’s choice of subjects seems to be the main issue that is hampering his career. He is choosing films that he knows will not work at the basic level of the script. Therefore, he should change his choices of films and carefully select them. A film is only as good as its script. No stardom can save you if the content of the film is poor. On the other hand, if the content of a film is good, even the absence of stars cannot spoil the success of the film. Therefore, I believe that he should be very cautious about the type of films he has to do. In my opinion, he should collaborate with better directors. He is not collaborating with the right directors who can match his superstar status and keep him under control.

Nahta further adds that the actor should focus on his acting. He states, “There were a few times in the movie where his hairstyle changed mid-way. I am not saying that this is the reason why a film will be a success or a failure. But these things add up and it disturbs and disturbs the audience. The audience is very intelligent today. They want to be respected. So I think he should change his entire approach from selection to shooting. He should collaborate with the topline director and give him complete freedom. He should focus on acting rather than being involved in music, text, dialogues and script.”

Salman’s career graph shows that he made a bang-up debut in Maine Pyar Kya, followed by a few conventional love stories such as Kurbaan and Saajan, and then hit a low point. He then went on to do multi-starrers such as No Entry, which he received, and then went into the family comedy phase, where he delivered some of his best work like Hum Apke Hai Koun. He then milked it up with Judwa, biwi no. 1 with Varun Dhawan, and then had another low point in Yuvvraaj, along with a few other films which didn’t work as expected. He then hit another high point with Dabangng and Wanted, and ever since then, he has maintained his macho alpha image, and even the films he has done have supported this macho hero image.

Underpinning the need for a re-ignition, Vishek says, “Salman’s real revival started with Wanted and ever since then, every film he has worked on has maintained that aura, except Tubelight. It’s been working for him for a long time, but now it’s time for a re-invention. He’s gone through that ten-year phase where he needs to step up his game. What he really needs is to explore his acting skills and not just rely on his star power. He has immense star power, but he needs to add another dimension to his act that the audience has never seen before. Maybe his next (the bull) will be what we’re waiting for, directed by Shershaah’s director visnuvardhan.”