A 1000-crore hole
The author talks about the impact of Salman Khan's conviction on the commerce of Bollywood
Salman Khan's conviction hits the Bollywood industry hard. With his Tiger Zinda Hai crossing 300 crores earlier this year, Salman Khan became the actor with the most number of 100+ crore films in the industry (12), and alongside Aamir Khan, became the only other star to have at least one film each in the 100 crore, 200 crore and 300 crore club. His conviction in the Blackbuck shooting case has resulted in the industry waiting with bated breath to see if the actor will get bail.
Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh pointed out that the film that will most be affected is the one he has in production right now: Race 3. The actor has signed three other films -- Bharat, Kick 2 and Dabangg 3 -- that haven't yet gone on the floors. "The focus is mainly on Race 3. It is nearly complete and is slated for an Eid release, but at this point of time, we do not know how much work is pending," he said. "They were shooting even as late as last week in Abu Dhabi; so we have to wait for the filmmaker and producer to announce the status of the film."
Taran's convinced that there is no other star to fill his shoes in his absence. "Salman Khan is a star with a massive following among the youth. He is a crowd-puller," he said.
Shailesh Kapoor, whose company specialises in Hindi industry analytics, assured that the numbers riding on him are astronomical. "I would say the money riding on him is anywhere between 750-1000 crore. He does one to two films a year, and their average collection is 250-300 crore. He is contributing easily 500 crore a year," he said. "In addition to this, there are other sources of revenue like satellite and digital rights. Let's also not forget his TV shows like Bigg Boss and Dus ka Dum."
Shailesh has no doubt that he is the 'top Bollywood star' by quite a distance. "Collectively, one could easily say the money riding on him is anywhere between 750-1000 crore."
The brand value of his TV show, Bigg Boss, could really drop, according to him. "His TV shows will make around 100-150 crore easily. Bigg Boss will still go on in his absence, but the brand value might fall, and result in lower TV revenues. But take something like Dus Ka Dum, which last aired in 2009. It is actually coming back only because of him and might not even see the light of the day now without his presence."
Salman's absence, it is thought, will affect the industry as a whole. "It is an ecosystem. The technicians, the production houses, the talent... they will all be affected. There was a reliability when it came to Salman Khan and his films. Sultan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Tiger... they were all 300 crore films," he said. "The industry stands to lose that revenue."
It is believed in the industry that there is no single star who can take up Salman's space in the industry.
"Aamir and SRK hardly operate in the larger-than-life space. Meanwhile, stars like Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff and Ranveer Singh are still building their fan base," Shailesh added. "Salman's fan base is so wide. Everyone from 10-year-olds to elderly people watch his film across the country."
This conviction draws comparisons with the Sanjay Dutt sentence. Shailesh pointed out that when Sanjay Dutt was convicted, he was well past his prime. "This is unprecedented for Bollywood."