With the second instalment of ‘Baahubali’ shattering box office records from the day of its release, the SS Rajamouli-directed project is being touted as the benchmark of commercial success. Comparisons with Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ (2016), which was until recently the highest-grossing Hindi film, reportedly earning Rs 341.96 crore at the box office (till day 16), were inevitable.
Even as cinephiles wait to see if ‘Tubelight’, the upcoming release of box office boss Salman Khan, can surpass the numbers of the epic-fantasy, the star is comfortably unconcerned. “After ‘Baahubali’ 1 (2015), we came up with ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ (2015), which did well. This time, we are coming up with ‘Tubelight’. I haven’t seen ‘Baahubali’, but it’s a super successful film. But a comparison doesn’t make any difference to me. Every film has its fate,” Khan said on the sidelines of the film’s trailer launch yesterday. He was quick to point out that Amar Butala, the CEO of his production house, Salman Khan Films, may feel the pressure.
“But I am sure we will do well,” he added. In ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, Khan’s outing as Pawan, a good Samaritan who battles all odds to help a Pakistani girl find her way home, was appreciated by critics and viewers alike, given that it was significantly distanced from his previous roles, which edged on the lines of, even being restricted to, witty humour.
Kabir Khan-directed ‘Tubelight’, Salman Khan says, will see him essay a similarly earnest role. “I play a pure character, and that, I feel, is the most difficult thing to do, because we aren’t the purest of people. I have played such roles in ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ (1994) and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. To maintain the simplicity and honesty in a role is challenging.”
Om Puri, who passed away earlier this year, was also associated with the project, and the 51-year-old confesses watching the trailer of his film pains him, given that it brings back memories of the veteran actor. “I have worked with Omji in several films. One moment, he was there, and in the next, I hear he is no more. Whenever I see him in the trailer, I don’t know how to react.”