Wanted, Dabangg, Ready and then Bodyguard. Salman Khan is THE star of Bollywood. Invincible. Giving hits after hits. Why is nobody else able to match his winning streak?
As I understand, producers who are making films starring Salman Khan have identified a huge target customer segment unattended by many others. Other huge stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan are being cast into films which are ‘meaningful’ i.e. they have either some message or issue to talk about, or are based on some historical figure or event. These films make sense to only a part of the film-viewing audience – the people who are intelligent, are aware of or are concerned about such issues. These intelligent people also have access to other modes of entertainment and films are not the only thing they spend their time or money on.
In contrast, Salman Khan movies can be watched keeping your brain aside. In fact, you may get a headache if you ‘think’ while watching them. Here, the traditional Indian hero comes alive, who can do anything. Nothing is impossible for him. And such fantasies are still in high demand in a very large audience base, who go to movies purely for entertainment, to run away from dark and unpleasant realities of life. They do not go to movies to think over some issue. They don’t wish to waste their scarce intelligence on a film. Also, they don’t have access to a wider range of entertainment options as others may have. So, they throng to cinemas, watch with awe and admiration Salman doing silliest things and clap and whistle on every cheesy line that he may speak. Everything that he does may be predictable and repetition from all his past films, but these people don’t mind all that. In fact, they relish it. Where the ‘meaningful’ cinema watcher will not be able to sit through the film for those 2.5-3 hours even if he gets a free ticket, these fans go to watch it multiple number of times buying their tickets.
Salman Khan gives aspirations to a huge number of Indians, who were earlier entertained by heroes like Mithun Chakraborty or Govinda. After them, this place was vacant. Salman Khan has occupied that slot just in time.
In the volume game where only numbers matter, target the customers who are large in numbers and are aspiring to move up in life. Make a product which suits their taste. It need not be a quality product. But remember, not all want quality. They will come and pay for watching somebody doing all things they dream to do but can’t do in life themselves.
Nobody may understand why, but it will sell like a hot cake. Just like Salman Khan films, not much brain is to be used in understanding this.