Salman’s ‘Sultan’ v/s SRK’s ‘Raees’ – a rich battle on the cards, really?

SRK SAL

Two years back, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan ended the bad blood between them, as they warmly hugged each other on the holy occasion of Eid, at the iftar party of a politician. And it seemed all was hunky dory again as SRK was invited by Salman to his sister’s wedding.

Well, it took an Eid to break the ice, but, ironically, the holy festival will now see them crossing swords again – at least on the box-office.

It sounds too good to be true, but Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are slated for a box-office clash on Eid next year. SRK’s action-thriller Raees, that had booked its date with Eid, 2016, has been left stunned after Yash Raj films announced that their Salman Khan-starrer Sultan, too, is eyeing an Eid release.

Now while the media is covering most of its pages/bulletins with this blockbuster news, the exhibitors and distributors are sweating over the potential loss of crores, as the two films are likely to eat into each other’s coffers.  They would earnestly hope that the two big films are kept apart from each other.

For the fans, and the media, this contest would be a true reflection of who is the real King Khan?  Well, this is not the first time that the two Khans have battled at the box-office. The duo had clashed on Diwali in 2006 when SRK’s Don ambushed Salman Khan’s Jaan-e-mann. Coincidentally, back then SRK was doing an Excel Entertainment film too. Farhan Akhtar, who directed Don,  is now his co-star, while Rahul Dholakia (Parzania) helms the film.

Similarly, next Diwali Salman Khan found himself at the wrong end again, when Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya failed to give Ranbir and Sonam Kapoor an impressive debut. For those uninitiated, Salman had played a pivotal cameo in Saawariya, a film that got a drubbing at the hands of SRK’s Om Shanti Om.

Well, that was a different era where the Dabangg Khan was not the most ‘Wanted’ man by Bollywood producers.  King Khan (SRK)  ruled with arrogance in those days. But how have Salman’s fortunes turned since then.

As good as SRK was, but he’d never touched the 100-crore mark till 2011 (Ra.One) , while Salman Khan delivered one blockbuster after another. Yes, his films were devoid of logic, rationale, but Salman didn’t complain as he usurped SRK and others to become the most bankable star in Bollywood.  And every year he booked his date with destiny on Eid.

Given their status today, Salman should simply swamp SRK, but hold on, will this contest really materialise?

Perhaps, one should just go into recent history when Salman Khan pulled out of the race, after SRK had booked Eid for his ‘Chennai Express’.  Then the media went gaga over how we were going to see a Khan v/s Khan clash on Eid in 2013. But good sense prevailed as Salman Khan pushed the release of ‘Jai Ho’ to the Republic Day week  in 2014.  ‘Jai Ho’s average performance proved that Salman was right in not locking horns with Chennai Express.  The critics though panned the two films completely.

Sultan v/s Raees will make headlines on entertainment pages/bulletins today, but perhaps, journalists would do well to not lose sight of the above. Also, we must also take into consideration that Sultan’s shooting will only commence in November. while SRK has already wrapped up the first schedule of ‘Raees’. 

Well, forget the films, in a months time, Salman Khan would be back in the courts awaiting his fate in the 2002-hit-and-run and the Black Buck case. Remember, the High Court judge has only suspended Salman’s  5-year sentence, not stayed it. There’s every possibility that  if things go wrong Salman could find himself behind the bars.  The fans would then have to say good bye to a Sultan v Raees battle.

Such perceived clashes are not new to Bollywood. Every now and then, we see filmmakers/actors fight over release dates, but eventually one blinks. Last year, Anurag Kashyap was an eyeing a Christmas week release for Bombay Velvet, but backed out after Mr.Perfectionist Aamir Khan booked his annual Christmas week release with PK. 

So, while today we have Yash Raj Films claiming that they were first to book Eid 2016, don’t be surprised that might be the first to blink. YRF and SRK should also not forget how their battle (Jab Tak Hai Jaan) with Ajay Devgn’s ‘Son of Sardar’ yielded no winners.

Having said that, Salman Khan, too, knows that his last two films (Kick and Jai Ho) didn’t really set the box-office on fire. He has ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ for Eid 2015, and God forbid, if the film doesn’t go along expected lines, Salman might don his wise hat and be the first to blink.

He  plays a wrestler in Sultan, and perhaps, Salman might reckon that it’s better to avoid one fight, to win the bigger battle. Or should we say in SRK’s parlance, “Kabhi kabhi kuch jeetne ke liye kuch har na bhi padta hai, aur har kar jeetne wale ko Baazigar kehte hain” 

So, who’ll blink first? Sultan or Raees? Or will we really see a Baazigar? 

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