The Reshma Factor

Dabangg3 is the Salman Khan starrer in a row to under perform at the box office. Is Reshma Shetty's absence from the Salman Khan camp the reason?
The Reshma Factor

Dabangg3 is the third Salman Khan starrer in a row to under perform at the box office. Is Reshma Shetty’s absence from the Salman Khan camp the reason?

Salman Khan was part of the ruling triumvirate in 90’s. After a fabulous debut as a leading man in Maine Pyaar Kiya – which was an ATBB(all time blockbuster), Salman followed it up with several other hits. He did face a lull in between, but then got his career back on track with several hits. He was in fact the bigger star the media favorite – Shahrukh Khan in 1998-99. Even his mediocre films like – Bandhan turned out to be hits. Salman built up a huge following among the masses. His bad boy image only went on to add to his allure. But his torrid relationship with Aishwarya Rai & a choppy turn at the box office damaged his aura. His hair loss was also a matter of concern. when one thought things couldn’t get worse, came the black buck case. Even his fans thought his involvement in the drunken driving case was the final nail in his coffin. Salman was now busy in attending one court case after another. He even spent some time in jail during this period.

But like all great stars before him, Salman bounced back. His movies started doing well again & he even managed to “discipline” Vivek Oberoi. Vivek had famously taken on Salman by calling for a press conference to speak out against him. Most of the industry sided with Salman.

While Salman’s movies started doing well again, he wasn’t doing as well as he used to. Shahrukh had raced past way ahead. It was during this phase somewhere around 2002-03 that he met Katrina Kaif. They went on to make several hit films together – notably Partner & Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya. Most of Salman’s hits during this phase were comedies or romantic comedies. He was erratic when it came to choosing movies. He often did movies just for the sake of bailing out a friend or a well wisher. This added to his “bhai” aura. Despite his movies not being the biggest hits, his fan following ran into millions. His fans knew everything, from his love for biryani to his exploits with women. it is an open secret that Salman has always been a ladies man.

The Beggining

It was somehere around 2007-08 that Katrina introduced Salman to Reshma Shetty. Katrina credited Reshma with turning around her career. Salman’s career wasn’t going great guns, due to him picking weak projects like Shaadi Kar Ke Phas Gaya, God Tussi Great Ho etc. It was Reshma, who suggested Salman to take up action based movie projects. She also kept her mooching friends & family away from him. The result was ‘Wanted’. The movie was a milestone in Salman’s career. It made huge money & bailed out producer Boney Kapoor, who was in financial distress at that time.

It was in 2008, when Salman got into a notorious brawl with the then box office king Shahrukh Khan. Most of bollywood sided with Shahrukh, as he was the bigger star. While Salman was barely hanging on to his A-list status, Shahrukh looked invincible with Om Shanti Om & Chak De. But Shahrukh did not have Reshma Shetty on his side

Unprecedented Success

After Wanted in 2008, there was no looking back as far as Salman’s career was concerned. He starred in string of hits. Apart from veer, none of his movies flopped. Even critically panned movies like Bodyguard were hits. Dabangg in 2010 turning out to be a superhit & Shahrukh’s movies underperforming, meant that Bollywood had a new box office king. While many claimed that it was Salman who had the biggest fan following among the masses even when Shahrukh was ruling bollywood, nobody thought he would actually dethrone the Bollywood badshah.

Reshma is rumored to have a say in everything – right from the script of Salman’s movies to the projects Salman singed. She managed Salman’s PR during his court cases & his breakup with Katrina. We wonder how she stopped Salman from going berserk when Katrina started dating Ranbir. Anybody who wanted to meet Salman, had to go through Reshma. She made sure that he never signs any movie which did not deserve his presence. Salman’s fan following soared. He was referred to as the “Rajnikanth” of hindi cinema.

The Fallout

It is not clear as to what exactly led to their fallout. Some say it was Reshma interfering with his family that irked Salman, while some say she embezzled money. She is alleged to have side deals going on with the brands who endorsed him. It was a nasty parting of ways. Salman asked his coterie which included Varun Dhawan, Katrina, Pulkit Samrat etc to drop Reshma. Salman even went on to invest in a rival talent management company.

Reshma is no pushover. She got back at Salman by ruining his deal with Eros for Race3. She was signed on by Akshay Kumar to manage his career. Akshay was shrewd enough to recognise her talent, and so an opportunity when Salman let go off Reshma. While Salman is used to having his way, he met his match in Reshma. Reshma is rumored to be the brains behind the nasty trends related to Salman on social media & blind items in various portals.

Reshma is a go-getter. She is a taskmaster & this is known to make her employees hate her. She sacked one of her best employees after she discovered that her employees had formed a secret whatsapp group just to bitch about her. She is her rival’s worst nemesis.

2019 – The Defining Year

This year Salman has had three releases. While none have been outright flops, none of them have performed at the levels a Salman Khan film is expected to perform either. Race3 – the third installment of the successful Race franchise, was critically panned. It was due to sheer star power of Salman Khan that it managed to gross 183cr+ at the Indian box office. Salman Khan’s eid release – Bharat, grossed 212cr+ & was declared a hit. But many sections of the media called it an underperformer. Salman Khan’s eid releases generally gross 300cr+ at the Indian box office. His latest release – Dabangg3 opened to mixed reviews from the critics & the audience. The nation wide unrest owing to CAA, NRC led to a 15%-20% hit in their business. Dabangg3 is again expected to finish at around 200-220cr+.

While Salman did taste success last year in Tiger Zinda Hai, one has to accept that Reshma must have given her inputs during the making of Tiger Zinda Hai. 2019 was the acid test for Salman. It was this year’s movies, in which Reshma did not have any say. In her absence Salman has ruined his relationships with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kabir Khan, Remo & Ali Abbas Zafar. Reshma always managed to keep Salman’s temper in check & managed his equations with filmmakers intact. Not just Salman, even Reshma other ex-clients – Varun Dhawan, Katrina Kaif’s career are not going great guns. Varun has ended up making poor choices in Reshma’s absence.

On the other hand, Reshma’s client – Akshay, is having one of his best phases ever. He is now seen in subject oriented films with a nationalistic fervour. This has endeared him to the masses. All his movies in the last 1-2 years – Rustom, Mission Mangal, Kesari,Gold, 2.0, Padman & the recently released Housefull4 have been hits. Housefull4 & Mission Mangal have crossed the 200cr barrier – a feat Akshay’s films have managed before. His latest release – Good Newwz has released today, to favourable reviews from the critics & the audience. It is expected to business of 200cr+.

2020 – Who Will Win?

Salman Khan had a sureshot hit in Inshallah. But his ego again got the better of him. Instead of mending fences with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he decided to start another project with director Prabhudeva – Radhe. It must be noted that Radhe was scripted with time constraints. They are aiming to meet their Eid release deadline, which will likely lead to a sub-standard product. It will again rely heavily on Salman Khan’s star power. But how long will fans keep watching Salman’s sub-standard movies is the big question.

Meanwhile, while Akshay’s movies have started grossing 200cr+, grossing more than Salman’s films it still doesn’t mean that he is the new box office king. Hrithik Roshan’s War at 317cr+, followed by Shahid Kapoor’s Kabir Singh at 278cr+ are the biggest hits of the year. It is unlikely that Good Newwz will cross these figures.

Reshma has not been able to replicate her success with smaller stars like Abhishek Bachchan. While AB Jr’s Manmarziyaan opened to good reviews from critics, it was a box office flop. Reshma Shetty will have to ensure that Abhishek Bachchan succeeds in order to prove that she is truly a wizard, when it comes to managing careers of ehr clients. But as people who have been following poll strategist Prshant Kishore’s career will tell you – it is easier to make Narendra Modi win vis-a-vis Rahul Gandhi.

If Radhe grosses 250cr+, it will mean that Salman Khan will continue to remain the box office king. Akshay needs his movies to consistently cross 250cr+ & at least 1 movie to gross 300cr to dethrone Salman – no mean feat. But will Salman’s movies continue to break the 300cr+ barrier minus Reshma Shetty? That is the million dollar question!

Who do you think, will win the Salman V Reshma-Akshay battle. Please do drop a comment.

Edit: We have wrongly mentioned that Varun Dhawan has quit Matrix – Reshma Shetty’s company. One of readers pointed it to us. Thanks Pradeep! Turns out while Salman was pressurizing him to quit, Varun stuck by Reshma & ended up losing out on a 180cr deal, due to Salman. Meanwhile, Reshma has also managed to bag Shahid Kapoor as one of her clients & struck a lucrative deal for him in his upcoming movie.




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