The superstar is 47 today, and possibly having his day in court on his birthday, as Salman Khan is summoned by the Mumbai magistrate to appear for his 2002 hit-and-run case.
That is only if the actor has stopped playing his ‘catch me if you can’ game with the summons office, which allegedly claims the actor is out of the city, despite Khan’s high profile appearances in Mumbai this past week.
The actor, however, had already quizzed his lawyers if he could possibly skip the show and tell and spend the big day with those he loves: his family.
Khan even admitted to Emirates 24|7 earlier this month, when asked about his birthday plans, saying: “Last year, I spent it in Dubai, but this year I want to be with my family. It is very important to me.”
Indeed, the coming of 47 years promises to be a double celebration for the ‘Dabangg 2’ actor, with his film breaking box office records by collecting Rs636 million or Dh42.6m in its three-day weekend in India and it’s five-day global run raking in Rs1.15bn or Dh77.7m.
Yet, even as the birthday boy by all means should be a happy man today with his golden run on celluloid, dark clouds still hang over the actor’s head due to a chequered past of run-ins with the law, a virtually messy love life, high profile rivalries that refuse to simmer down and health issues that may all point to a glaring fact: Salman Khan just might be approaching his prime in Bollywood.
Box office gold
This year, without a doubt, has been Khan’s best in terms of box office collections.
There is even a saying coined in Bollywood of late: If there is anyone who can beat Salman Khan’s record, then its Salman Khan himself these days.
The actor has emerged from a bumper year at the global box office, with ‘Dabangg 2’ looking set to beat the ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ Rs2.58 billion record, expected to rake in Rs5 billion at the box office.
This year, Khan also appears to have snatched the ‘King’s’ crown from his arch-rival Shah Rukh Khan, whose Diwali release, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ spurted to a stop shy of Rs1.4bn, while ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ went to become the second biggest Bollywood grosser of all time.
If that accolade wasn’t enough, the Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer also went on to become Google’s seventh most trending movie of 2012 worldwide, while topping the list in India.
Trade pundits are already hinting that Khan’s rise is the beginning of the end of Shah Rukh, whose last release garnered mixed reviews from critics, while none of his films even feature in the top three grossers of all time in India.
“Bollywood is strictly a numbers game and Salman Khan is one of the handful of actors who consistently delivers the receipts,” said one insider earlier. He added: “Barring Salman, surprisingly, Akshay Kumar is the next most bankable actor in Bollywood, with 2012 alone seeing five films, of which four succeeded to earn Rs400 crore or Rs4bn at the box office.
With ‘Dabangg 2’s’ golden run, Khan is probably laughing his way to the bank, but things are not as cut and dry as they seem.
Last year, Khan had to jet down to the United States to undergo surgery for a painful nerve condition.
Khan was suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia, a nerve disorder that causes intense pain in the face.
What was meant to be a 30-minute surgery tuned into a five-hour affair and even resulted in a delay of the shoot for ‘Ek Tha Tiger’.
Few knew that the actor had been suffering from the pain in his jaw since 2007 while shooting for ‘Partner’, which elevated to a point that proved too unbearable for Khan and he was forced to put his film projects on hold to go under the knife.
However, the pain has been far from over for him.
There were two separate occasions reported earlier this year when his film shoots had to be stalled due to an increase in pain.
The actor also flew down to the States earlier this month for a checkup on his condition.
But doctors had allegedly warned him that he needs to slam the brakes on his action sequences, because a single misjudged punch could land him in hospital once again.
Could this be the secret behind why none of his 2013 films are finding a suitable script to start filming?
2013: So, which is it Salman?
In the last few months, fans have been regaled with stories of ‘Sher Khan’, ‘Kick’ and then ‘Radhe’ being the next big project to feature Khan as the lead.
But so far, nothing has materialised.
If reports are to be believed, despite brother Sohail Khan confirmed on record that he will start filming ‘Sher Khan’ in January 2013, stories now say the film has been shelved indefinitely after nine script changes and the superstar actor requesting his lesser known brother to find a tiger akin to the one used by Ang Lee in ‘Life of Pi’.
Following this, ‘Kick’ reared its head, but after Shirish Kunder parted ways as its director, author Chetan Bhagat allegedly is still penning its screenplay and is no where near finishing a bound script.
What was left was the remake of the Telugu hit ‘Stalin’, which starred Chiranjeevi in the lead.
The film, which is a remake of Hollywood’s ‘Pay it Forward’, is now being packaged as ‘Radhe’ and being touted as the Eid 2013 release for Khan.
Who knows if even this will get a lift off?
Meanwhile, Khan is also juggling his legal troubles over his 2002’s hit-and-run case and his February summons of the black buck poaching case, which occurred during the filming of ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.
The petitioner in the case, Santosh Daundkar, an RTI activist, had filed a petition in the hit-and-run case in court, but claims the Mumbai cops are favouring the actor and have dragged the case along for 10 years.
On September 28, 2002, Khan was accused of allegedly ramming his car into a bakery in a Mumbai suburb and ran over people sleeping on the pavement, killing one person and injuring four others.
Meanwhile, a Jodhpur Court in Rajhastan has summoned the actor in February over his 14-year-old Chinkara poaching case
The actor has been told to appear in court on February 4, 2013.
For those not in the know, Khan was sentenced to one-year imprisonment for killing two chinkaras in Bhawad village, near Jodhpur, on September 26, 1998.
The sentence was handed down by a Jodhpur court February 17, 2006.
Marriage on hold?
Is this the reason his marriage plans have been on hold?
Khan has said so on a recent TV show, when quizzed, that once he sorts out his legal troubles, he will look to settle down.
But who is possibly marrying the actor? A Shaadi.com survey voted Katrina Kaif as top choice for his future wife, but sources say she is at the peak of her career and is nowhere close to getting hitched.
With a string of high profile failed relationships that includes Kaif, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Somy Ali and Sangeeta Bijlani, it’s a wonder to see which woman will put up with the temperamental Khan.
However, he has confirmed that he will be moving out of his parents home, and possibly consider purchasing one in Dubai very soon.
So maybe, a home for a wife and the pitter patter of little feet is not very far off.
Yet many fans say that Khan’s iconic appeal is his bachelor status. Once he settles into domestic bliss, his larger than life persona will swiftly turn into a tamed one.
Will that cut down his USP? Only time will tell.