MUMBAI: With an upwards of INR6 billion tied up in future film projects, Bollywood is practically shuddering at the possibility that Salman Khan might end up spending five years in jail for being found guilty in a 1998 blackbuck poaching case on Thursday. Needless to say, film-makers across India are waiting with bated breath for the verdict of the actors’ bail hearing on Saturday morning, which will be announced at 1 30pm, local time.
A popular, high net-worth superstar, the 52-year-old Salman is either acting in or producing several major upcoming films with the potential to be blockbusters, Bollywood insiders claim.
In the past decade or so, Salman himself has delivered mega hits like Ek Tha Tiger and its sequel Tiger Zinda Hai and Dabangg and its sequel Dabangg 2, besides Sultan and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Currently, there are around half a dozen big-budget Salman Khan films 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 also an in-house family production wherein Salman will launch his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma.
Indian Bollywood actor Salman Khan, one of the Indian movie industry’s most bankable stars, has been convicted by a court in Rajasthan state of poaching the rare antelopes known as black bucks in 1998 PHOTO: AFP
Many of the major titles, like Kick 2, Dabangg 3 and Bharat, are budgeted between INR1 billion to INR2 billion, Ramji further revealed.
Bollywood’s worries stem from the fact that most of Salman’s films gross more than INR2 billion, making him one of the “most bankable stars” presently active in Bollywood.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan shared, “Salman’s Race 3, which is 90% done with its shooting, will get affected badly if things go wrong. There’s also his television show Dus Ka Dum, which is supposed to go on air in June.”
Bharat is being produced by Salman’s brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar of Tiger Zinda Hai fame, with plans for an Eid 2019 release. Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick 2 is scheduled for 2019 as well.
Bollywood’s bhai is also expected to make a guest appearance for a song in Yamla Pagla Deewana 3, a possible third film in the Tiger series, and Remo D’Souza’s next big-screen venture.
The actor’s lawyers have appealed to the Jodhpur session court for bail. “If the verdict goes against him, as a film industry we might lose around INR5 billion every year 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.
As for the small screen, it won’t be just Dus Ka Dum that suffers: the possibility of Salman not hosting Bigg Boss 12 is being discussed in television circles.
However, a few years ago, the superstar chose to opt out of mega-brand endorsements as a result of which his net worth in the advertising industry fell quite a bit. Salman is reportedly very choosy about what he prefers to endorse.
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