Salman Khan: Releasing Radhe now to bring some joy in the lives of people
The much-awaited Radhe released on Eid on the OTT platform with Zee5
It has been a two-year-long wait for his fans. After the fiasco that was Bharat and a tepid Dabangg 3 in 2019, the ‘Bhai’ of Bollywood had to give in to the pandemic in 2020 and stall his films. It was a dry Eid for his fans that year. But this year, Salman Khan was adamant that he would not disappoint his fans. The much-awaited Radhe released on Eid on the OTT platform with Zee5. It has all the trademark Khan ingredients: Prabhu Deva directing it; Sohail Khan, Atul Agnihotri and Bhai himself producing it; based on yet another successful South Korean flick, The Outlaws; Sajid-Wajid and Himesh Reshammiya belting out chartbusters; and of course, a less than half his age co-star—Disha Patani.
Earlier Khan had reassured theatre owners that his film would have a theatrical release only. While that did not materialise, the actor admits that Radhe is ideally a big-screen film. “When we announced the release of the film, theatres were open but the second wave of lockdown happened. We thought it would get over and the theatres would open. I know that theatres have suffered huge losses but we had to release the film anyhow. I felt that releasing Radhe now would bring some joy in the lives of people as people have been suffering a lot,” says the superstar, who plans to release the film in theatres once things are back to normal.
Radhe has been a kind of jinxed project for Khan. It was supposed to release last year during Eid but was pushed due to the pandemic. This year things looked up with theatres opening and many states also allowing 100 per cent occupancy. The jubilation was short-lived. The second and an even terrible wave of the coronavirus finally got them thinking about an OTT release. But there was more in store for the team, it seems. Composer Wajid Khan of the talented duo—Sajid-Wajid—succumbed to Covid. “Sajid lost his brother, best friend and business partner. It was a big jolt for all of us. But his tunes are alive and he has given us so much material. I think he was one of the most talented people who never got his due,” says the actor, who is known to work with people with whom he is comfortable. For example, Radhe will also be the third film with filmmaker Prabhudheva.
“We are on the same wavelength. He’s a very talented actor, director, and choreographer. He knows the pulse of the audience. Wanted was a huge hit and even Dabangg 3 fared well,” says the actor.
Unlike his other films, Radhe is not a long watch. Rumours are abuzz that given an OTT release, the original length had to be cut. Salman disses the talk. “It’s not true. When you shoot a film you feel that the scene is quite good but when you see it in totality, you realise that the scenes were not necessary and hence it needs to be edited. Also, at times the scene may be repetitive or too much information is being given out, so we try to stylise and edit. That’s part of filmmaking. We have not edited the scenes particularly for the OTT,” he explains and goes on to add, “My films usually run for two hours and 22 minutes. Roughly it’s an easy watch. Sometimes the length is even less. But then again, a Bajrangi Bhaijaan was two hours 30 minutes. Radhe is an action film and I believe it’s got the right length.”
It has been two terrible years for the world, and especially a crippling 2021 for India. Salman is known for his largesse. He has extended financial help to close to 50,000 workers from the industry. So, would he use the profits of the film for pandemic relief?
The businessman in him answers, “We are already under loss as we have not released the film in theatres. We won’t really benefit financially from it. Even Zee is facing a great loss. We have to recover our production cost and the money we have invested in the film.” As Salman takes his leave, he says that he would request his fans to be optimistic and positive during these unprecedented times.
“This too shall pass,” he signs off.