Bollywood charmer Salman Khan is 43 years old today. It is expected that he will celebrate quietly with friends. It was in 1988 that Salman won a Best Debut Award for Maine Pyar Kiya and later he was Best Supporting Actor for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. More recently his luck has deserted him a little and this year saw two disasters in God Tussi Great Ho and Yuvraaj — Katrina Kaif’s first big flop.
And yet, despite his so-so record at the box office, Salman Khan is undeniably a star — one of the big three Khans that rule Bollywood. Prone to wearing his heart on his sleeve, his every move, his every act of kindness, generosity, goodwill and heartbreak over his lost loves is religiously exposed and plotted in the nation’s press. He is said to have fallen out with many of his male co-stars, but this is almost entirely because he finds it so hard to overcome a broken heart. He is said to be possessive but you don’t need to be a psychologist to realise this stems from insecurity and the need to be loved.
Salman Khan is a complex and controversial character — but it is a measure of his adoring fan base that he can have six flops in a row and still emerge as the highest paid actor in Bollywood. Recent events suggest that he is now focusing more closely on the quality of his chosen projects with London Dreams and Veer both expected to do well early next year.
Events also suggest that in his own way, he is doing his best to repair the damage of the past — gifts of paintings to Abhishek Bachchan and Aamir Khan — and a recent talk with Sanjay Dutt appear to point in this direction. “Sanjay Dutt walked up to Salman’s set and they spent 45 minutes together,” a source on the set of Veer said, “They talked about everything except films. They met like nothing had gone wrong between them.”
Let’s hope that in 2009, Salman Khan will find an inner peace and the success his talent deserves.