Ramadan Eid is here, and so is Salman Khan’s film ‘Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan’. Being one of the biggest names in the Indian film industry, Salman is an actor, producer, singer, and a television personality. He has a massive fan following in India and abroad, and his films always generate a lot of buzz before their release. One of the reasons why Salman Khan is so popular is that he has a unique strategy for releasing his films. For the past decade, Khan has been releasing his films on the festive occasion of Eid. This trend started with the 2009 film “Wanted” which was released on Eid and turned out to be a blockbuster hit grossing 93 crores at the box office. Since then, most of Salman Khan films have been released on Eid, and they have all done exceptionally well at the box office.
Given the country India is, in terms of its diversity and traditions, there is no shortage of festivals on the calendar. And we have always been a film-loving nation. There is a symbiotic relationship between these two factors. More often than not, watching a film is one of the better ways to add to the festivities. To enter a cinema hall, to be charmed, wooed, and hypnotized by your favourite film star is a huge part of the festival experience. It’s a sugar-rush of another kind.
Releasing a film is of course intended to reap maximum returns at the box-office. But it’s more than just a game of numbers. The choice of festival is often reflective of a star’s identity amongst the masses. Shah Rukh Khan has Diwali and thus chooses it for his film releases, while Akshay Kumar prefers national holidays like Independence Day and Republic Day. No one really knows who must have pitched this idea but today Salman Khan’s releases are synonymous with the festival of Eid. With broad shoulders and chest, the forever-bachelor status, and at times, the devil-may-care-attitude, Salman’s image is that of a powerful hunk, both literal and metaphorical. Much like the name of his latest film, he has successfully cemented himself as the Bhaijaan of this country, a term and status that often evokes a sense of respect and of a role-model.
Releasing films on Eid has proven to be a successful strategy for Salman Khan, as his films have consistently performed well at the box office during this time. Some of his films like Dabangg (2010), Bodyguard (2011), Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Kick (2014), Bajranji Bhaijaan (2015) and many more have released on this very day. Dabangg became the third Hindi film after Ghajini (2008 film by A.R Murugadoss) and 3 Idiots (2009 film directed by Rajkumar Hirani) to make over 100 crores in India. It was also the second highest grossing film of the year after S Shankar’s directorial Robot. Bodyguard, which coupled Khan with Kareena Kapoor, was the highest grossing Hindi film of the year worldwide collecting over 252 crores at the box office. Similarly, Ek Tha Tiger starring Salman and Katrina Kaif grossed around 335 crores of box office collection.
This trend has also been emulated by other Bollywood filmmakers, who have started to release their films on Eid to capitalize on the holiday and the potential for a significant box office collection.
Salman Khan not only releases most of his films on Eid, but his films are also a type of Eidi to the fans from their “Bhaijaan”. In one scene from his 2021 film “Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai”, Khan breaks the fourth wall and wishes the audience. In “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, there is a song as the end credits of the film roll, called “Aaj Ki Party Meri Taraf Se”(Today’s treat from me), which would be a perfect description of how Salman’s films are perceived on Eid.
Salman’s popularity amongst the masses, most of which are young males, is unprecedented. But would he be as popular if his last 10 films hadn’t been released on Eid? That’s a complicated question. While a good film will anyway find its audience and appreciation, how people look forward to festivals in India can’t be undermined. And that most certainly brings more receipts at the box office.
At the end of the day, Salman’s fandom goes beyond films now. He reigns supreme and is in an unshakeable position. Even if his last two films haven’t delivered in terms of critical appraisal, tickets have been sold and theatres filled. He is always one good film away, one “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” away to not turn the tide but raise an already raised bar. And if nothing works, Eid comes every year.