Actor Salman Khan’s five year jail sentence in the 2002 hit-and-run case has left the fate of his two films this year uncertain. The 49-year-old actor has been juggling shoot schedules for director Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan in Kashmir – from where he flew home to appear in court for the verdict – and Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo in Gujarat.
A Sessions Court in Mumbai pronounced the actor guilty of drunkenly driving over five pavement dwellers, killing one. He has been handed a five year jail term and given bail till Friday.
It is not immediately clear whether the release of Bajrangi Bhaijaan this Eid will be affected by this verdict. An official from Eros International, the distributor of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, said about 10-15 days of filming are pending.
“Salman’s well-being is more important to us right now. Logistics of Bajrangi Bhaijaan will be discussed later with his team. Our prayers are with his family,” Krishika Lulla of Eros International told news agency PTI. Salman’s heroine in Bajrangi Bhaijaan is Kareena Kapoor.
A senior official from Rajshri Productions, which is producing Prem Ratan Dhan Payo told PTI, “Almost 60 per cent of the shoot is over, only 30-40 per cent is pending. The shoot will happen in Mumbai. We hope for the best.”
Trade analyst Komal Nahta previously told PTI that at least Rs 200 crores are riding on the actor. “If you take Rs 75 crore each for these two films, it comes to a total of Rs 150 crore. And then if you add another Rs 50 crore for the projects that he has signed, it comes to Rs 200 crore. There is some amount of tension but the actor has the option to further appeal his case,” Mr Nahta said.
In the last few years, Salman Khan has delivered eight films – Wanted, Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg 2, Jai Ho and Kick – that have collectively fetched almost Rs 1,000 crores. It’s safe to expect that both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo will make at least Rs 100 crores each, not only on the strength of Salman’s recent box office performance but also because the actor-director calculus has previously paid rich dividends – Kabir Khan directed Salman in Ek Tha Tiger and Sooraj Barjatya in movies like Maine Pyar Kiya, the film that started it all.
Apart from Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo which are already filming, trade analyst Amod Mehra confirms that Salman has already committed to four other films – Dabangg 3, Entry Mein No Entry, Sultan and Shuddhi.
A sequel to his most profitable film Kick is also reportedly being planned. Besides his film commitments, Salman fronts major endorsement campaigns and is the host of a popular reality TV show.