After a Jodhpur court announced the verdict on 20-years-old Blackbuck poaching case, fans and admirers of Salman Khan were frightened at the prospect of the superstar spending five years in jail. The Jodhpur Sessions Court has reserved its order on Salman's bail plea, hence the superstar has to spend one more night inside the prison. His fans and all well-wishers from Bollywood have kept their fingers crossed. Salman has Rs 1000 crore worth of major film projects under his belt and it would be a huge loss to Bollywood if bail plea is dismissed. On Thursday, the verdict in 1998 blackbuck poaching case was announced by a Rajasthan Court, sentencing Salman to five years imprisonment while acquitting Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam.
For Salman, affectionately known as Bhai in the film fraternity, everyone is keeping their fingers crossed over Friday morning's court hearing on the actor's bail plea.
A popular, high net-worth superstar, the 52-year-old actor is either acting in or producing through his family production houses, several major upcoming films with a potential to be blockbusters, Bollywood insiders said. In the past decade or so, Salman has mega hits like Ek Tha Tiger and its sequel Tiger Zinda Hai, then Dabangg and Dabangg 2, besides Sultan and Bajrangi Bhaijaan among several others to his credit.
Currently, there are around half a dozen big-budget films lined up on the floor or at advanced planning stages, including Race 3, which is almost complete, Dabangg 3, Partner 2, Kick 2, Bharat, No Entry Mein Entry, Sher Khan and Loveratri, said K. Ramji of Krishnamurthy Films. Produced by his brother Arbaaz Khan, Dabangg 3 is being directed by Prabhudheva, with Arbaaz and Sonakshi Sinha, besides Salman, in the main roles.
Loveratri is again an in-house family production in which Salman is launching his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. Currently, he was shooting for Race 3, directed by Remo D'Souza. It was partly shot in Abu Dhabi recently. The other major titles are Kick 2, Dabangg 3 and Bharat, each budgeted between Rs 100-200 crore, Ramji said. Bollywood's worries stem from the fact that most of Salman starrers gross upwards of Rs 200 crore, making him one of the "most bankable stars" presently active in the industry.
"God willing, Salman will be out of this soon. He is one of the biggest crowd-pullers of the industry and masses wait to watch his movies for their entertainment quotient. He has a great bouquet of films in hand," said film and trade expert Girish Johar. Slated for Eid release this year, Race 3 is co-produced by Salman and Tips Industries Ltd, and stars Jacqueline Fernandez, Saqib Saleem, Bobby Deol, Daisy Shah and Anil Kapoor.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan said: "Salman's Race 3, which is 90 per cent done with its shooting will get affected badly if things go wrong. There's also television show Dus Ka Dum, which is supposed to go on air in June." Salman's lawyers have appealed to the Jodhpur session court for bail. The hearing will be held on Friday morning.
"If the verdict goes against him, as a film industry we might lose around Rs 500 crore every year in his absence because his movies do earn that amount of money. I think he might make some arrangement to finish these two assignments in between because even he does not want his projects and producers to suffer," Mohan said.
Salman's other film Bharat is being produced by his brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri and will be directed by Ali Abbas Zafar of Tiger Zinda Hai fame, with plans for an Eid 2019 release and Sajid Nadiadwala's Kick 2 planned for a 2019 release.
He is also expected to make a guest appearance for a song in "amla Pagla Deewana 3, a possible third film in the Tiger series, and Remo's next big-screen venture. Even the world of small screen is gloomy with promos of Dus Ka Dum season three on air with Salman as the host, and the possibility of him hosting "Bigg Boss 12" too being discussed in television circles.
However, a few years ago after he chose to opt out of mega-brand endorsements, Salman's net worth in the advertising industry fell though and he is reportedly very choosy about what he prefers to endorse.
(With IANS inputs)
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