Salman Khan's WANTED has hit the bulls eye. It is now into its second week but the first week collections have already ensured a HIT status for this Prabhu Deva directed film. Boasting of the best ever opening collections of a Salman Khan starrer ever, WANTED has thrilled Bollywood fraternity which is now rooting for the 'bad turned good' boy all over again.
Says film maker David Dhawan, Salman's friend who has worked with him in more than half a dozen films, ''Salman Khan always knew when and where to strike. He was always very confident about WANTED and this is the reason why he went all out to promote the film. Forget first weekend collections; it was sheer havoc when Id festivities began. Audience response inside auditoriums was unprecedented.''
WANTED has now completed a trilogy of sorts for 'masala' films. After Shah Rukh Khan's OM SHANTI OM and Aamir Khan's GHAJINI, now Salman Khan has scored in a big way with WANTED which has got raw action-n-drama back in vogue.
''Salman may have done one or two bad films in recent times due to which it appeared to some that he was no more in the reckoning. They were mistaken though because he is beyond hits and flops'', comments Abbas Burmawalla of director duo Abbas-Mustan fame, ''Moreover he has such a strong fan base which waits for a good film of his to come. They could sense from a distance that WANTED is one such film and turned it into such a huge success.''
Incidentally, the director duo has worked with the actor in CHORI CHORI CHUPKE CHUPKE, a rare Abbas-Mustan film which was not a thriller but was instead a family social drama.
So is Salman Khan back after a rather poor run with YUVVRAAJ and GOD TUSSI GREAT HO? Industry doesn't quite believe so. That's because its verdict is that Salman Khan had never gone in the first place.
''Exactly'', says Sanjay Kapoor, brother of Boney Kapoor who has produced WANTED, ''He has given the film his entire support and led the entire promotional campaign. He was supremely excited about the film and gave his heart, body, soul and time to it's making followed by promotion.''
He further goes on to make a point about WANTED being Salman Khan's one man show.
''Everyone involved with the film has done a fabulous job but it is Salman Khan's pull that got the audiences into theaters. Otherwise director Prabhu Deva was making his first Hindi film while Ayesha Takia Azmi isn't amongst the Top-3 heroines that we have today. The film teaches all us film makers to have complete conviction in what we do and just focus on that without getting into tangents.''
Vipul Shah, who has worked with Salman in LONDON DREAMS, is happy that Salman's three films stint this year has taken a good start with WANTED. The actor would be seen in MAIN AURR MRS. KHANNA on 16th October (Diwali weekend) and follow it up with LONDON DREAMS on 30th October.
''My promotion plan though is not as expensive as that of WANTED'', he says in an honest tone, ''We are going right ahead in creating awareness around LONDON DREAMS but the spillover of WANTED should also help our entire campaign. Since WANTED is all over, I am sure the euphoria and Salman's presence amongst audiences will continue for many more weeks to come.''
Film maker Suneel Darshan, who hasn't worked with Salman Khan ever, is a little guarded though before declaring this as a golden run of Salman Khan.
''WANTED has done quite well in India but it's fate in overseas market has been contradictory'', he says, ''With over 250 crores riding on his shoulders in the current season on VEER, LONDON DREAMS & MAIN AURR MRS. KHANNA, all due for release shortly, God forbid if anything goes wrong, it will have severe repercussions on the industry's economy. This is just another interesting phase for Salman who hadn't really gone anywhere.''
Himesh Reshammiya, with whom Salman has had a decade long association, has a final word though. ''Salman Khan was a superstar, is a superstar and will always remain a superstar'', he declares.