10 Years of Wanted: The film that made Salman Khan a superstar again
As Wanted completes a decade today, we take a walk down memory lane and look back at the massive entertainer.
Salman Khan's career has been as unpredictable as the Mumbai weather. He has seen soaring success and also been at the ebb of failures. After the massive success of David Dhawan's Partner in 2007, Khan dabbled with all the possible genres Bollywood had to offer — from impassioned and grand romance in the glittery world of Subhash Ghai's Yuvvraaj to the world of slapstick comedy and puerile humour in Rumi Jafferi's God Tussi Great Ho. There was nothing he didn't try but success continued to elude the superstar.
It was in 2009 that Prabhu Deva, who was making his directorial debut in Bollywood, made Wanted with him, a remake of Mahesh Babu's blockbuster Telugu actioner, Pokiri, and the film changed Salman Khan's fortune. As the film completes a decade today, we revisit this mass entertainer and what made it a scintillating success for Salman and also his fans.
The story was about a trigger-happy thug, Radhe, a charming goon who revels in demolishing people and beating them to a pulp. He derived immense pleasure out of money and could stoop to any low for the same. It was a role Khan nailed with ease.
His smouldering persona could set the screen ablaze, and his swag and nonchalance were highly captivating. And after aeons, we could see Khan enjoying his magnanimous demeanour on celluloid. The actor hardly appeared to be trying to get into the skin of Radhe's unpredictability; it was nothing but an extension of how Bhai is in real life - unaffected, unfazed and unabashed.
Salman Khan in a still from the film Wanted's trailer. Picture Courtesy: YouTube/erosnow
Fans and critics alike woke up to his charisma and realised there was a lot more to his mien than his often-vilified characters. But was it a mere stroke of serendipity that once an almost written-off actor unpredictably became a force to reckon with? Was it the Eid factor that contributed to his 2.0 innings in tinsel town? At least history says so. After this potboiler, there was no looking back for Salman Khan, lovingly called 'Bhai', as he unleashed one blockbuster after another in the year to come especially during the festive season.
In 2010, he starred in the rustic and rugged action-packed entertainer, Dabangg, where he played the crooked and charming cop, Chulbul Pandey. It became his first 100-crore grosser and biggest success at that point of time, raking over 142 crore at the ticket windows. The film has now been turned into a franchise and the third part opens in cinemas this Christmas.
A year later, he gave his fans a slightly off-track film about a bodyguard who falls in love with a mysterious woman. Playing the eponymous character of a bodyguard, the film may have received mixed responses from the critics, but it turned out to be a bigger hit than Bhai's last Eid release and also became the biggest success of 2011, with a staggering collection of approximately Rs 148 crore.
With Ek Tha Tiger in 2012, the actor proved he's infallible, not only on celluloid but also off-screen. He played a spy agent in a stylishly shot espionage thriller that also chronicled his love story with another agent, Zoya (played by Katrina Kaif). Clocking almost 186 crore, this Kabir Khan directorial became the second-biggest hit of Hindi Cinema after 3 Idiots.
There was no looking back for Salman Khan post the phase of Wanted, and he knew he had to release his films only and only on Eid. And with the blockbuster success of films like Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan, and more recently Bharat, the actor proves he's truly the man of the masses and Sabka Bhaijaan.
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Salman Khan's Bollywood career highlights from the last 31 years