Bhai doesn’t have to do anything to get his fans’ attention. He just has to walk that languorous walk and talk that that devil-may-care drawl for the Salmaniacs go wild. But hang on! There are some films in which Bhai discarded his starry mannerisms and transformed into the character he was playing.
1. Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam(1999): Not Sooraj Barjatya, but Sanjay Leela Bhansalibrought out the best in Salman in his second feature film. The two worked together for the first time in Bhansali’s directorial debut Khamoshi The Musical where Salman put in a neat performance as Manisha Koirala’s boyfriend. In Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam Salman’s innate sense of mischief was soundly tapped. He was very clearly a success as a prankster guest in a disciplinarian musician’s household, Salman even gave farting a heroic legitimacy in this film where his real-life mom Helen played his mother. He loved it.So did his fans.
2. Tere Naam(2003): As Radhe the goon who made the pretty Bhumika Chawla swoon in her tracks, Salman Khan was a delight, As the loverboy suffering psycho-trauma after a severe head injury he was a revelation. I’ve never seen Salman transform into a character so effectively in any other film before or since. Director SatishKaushik is planning a sequel.
3. Bajrangi Bhaijaan(2016): In the very aptly titled Bajrangi Bhaijaan Salman actually slipped into a character named Pavan Chaturvedi.And he remained there. All through.Rarely have we seen Salman stay in character throughout the film. The last time he played a character and not ‘Salman Khan’ was in Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger .There he kept slipping in and out of character.Not this time, buddy! Not in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. What we see on screen is an avatar of the innocent God-fearing upright and honest ‘Prem’ from Sooraj Barjatya’scinema, a Hanuman Bhakt whose self-righteousness would have been boring had it been played by any other star-actor.We could say Salman plays the Son of Prem in BajrangiBhaijaan. And let’s not waste any more time in saying this is one of Salman’s career’s most accomplished performance to date, heartfelt passionate and emotional, as he takes charge of a little girl’s travel plans back to her home in Pakistan.
4. Sultan(2016): Nope, you can’t touch this. Salman Khan’s superstardom is beyond the precincts of rationale or logic. After the heart-warming Bajrangi Bhaijaan act, Salman again pushed himself physically and emotionally to a new level of commitment in Sultan. Playing the goodhearted solidly dependable Haryanvi wrestler Salman brought a kind of feisty vulnerability along with a spiritual certainty to his instantly likeable character. The physical and emotional transformation is so palpable and authentic as to remind us of what Robert de Niro achieved in and outside the boxing ring in Martin Scorcese’sRaging Bull.Salman’s accent was pitch-perfect. And that’s where the performance began.Salmantook himself dead seriously, for a change.
5. Mujhse Shaadi Karoge(2003): Here’s what producer Sajid Nadiadwala did with his buddy Salman and neighbour Akshay Kumar when they came together. He flipped their personalities. Salman played the god-fearing, honest-to-goodness saintly lover-boy.Akshay played the roguish devilish hard-drinking fraudulent suitor. They both wooed Priyanka Chopra with a do-or-die vigour. Eventually Salman got the girl.Eventually they both stopped doing films with her. But that’s another story.