THE LEADING MAN

From a convict to Bhaijaan and now Prem, how Salman Khan turned his fortunes around in 2015

Quartz india
Quartz india

This post has been updated.

The first half of 2015 wasn’t exactly going well for Salman Khan.

On May 6, the Bollywood star was convicted in a 2002 hit-and-run case and sentenced to five years in prison—putting in limbo the future of at least five films he was a part of. Two days later, his term was suspended.

And now, six months later, 2015 is turning out to be the actor’s most successful year in terms of box office earnings, according to film analysts.

That’s all thanks to Khan’s “two huge number entertainers in a single year,” analyst Komal Nahta told Quartz.

Khan’s second film (in an acting role) this year, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, earned more than Rs100 crore in India within three days of its release. And as of Nov. 23, its box office collections were nearly Rs200 crore.

The film released a day after Diwali and opened to one of the highest numbers of screens—5,600—worldwide. It is a family drama where the actor plays a double role. It marks the return of Khan with director Sooraj Barjatya after 16 years. Barjatya gave the actor his first lead role in 1989—as Prem—in Maine Pyar Kiya.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo‘s favourable box office numbers come just four months after another Khan-starrer, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, became a runaway success and set several records on Eid. Bajrangi Bhaijaan is the most successful Hindi film of 2015, so far—with a net collection of around Rs320 crore.

In box office history, it is the second highest-grossing Indian film worldwide.

With a combined total of over Rs500 crore for his two films, Khan has become the first and the only Bollywood actor to have surpassed the number in a single year.

King of Bollywood

In the last five years, eight of Khan’s films have earned more than Rs100 crore at the box office, making him the highest scorer among all Bollywood stars. Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo has taken the total tally to nine.

In all, only four Hindi films this year have managed to earn more than Rs100 crore this year, and two of them belonged to Salman Khan.

Otherwise, it has been a rather disappointing year for Bollywood. Even overhyped, big-budget films—such as Bombay Velvet, Roy, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Shaandaar, Phantom, among others—have performed poorly at the box office.

The other two Khans of Bollywood—who are also top contenders for the Rs100 crore club—have not had a single release so far this year.

Aamir Khan was part of Zoya Akhtar’s family drama Dil Dhadakne Do, but only as a voiceover artist. His next release as a lead hero will be in 2016. Shah Rukh Khan, meanwhile, is counting days before his next film, Dilwale, hits theatres on Dec. 18.

This post has been updated to include Prem Ratan Dhan Payo‘s latest box office collection, and Khan’s net collection from his two films this year.

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