With three witnesses having deposed against actor Salman Khan as the culprit in the 2002 hit-and-run case, Bollywood seems to be in a state of anxiety.
Salman Khan in a pensive mood.
Reason: Rs. 500 crore is riding on his already-announced films, home productions and brand endorsements. So, if the actor is sent to custody, it’ll mean a grand loss for these filmmakers.
The actor, who has almost wrapped up Sajid Nadiadwala’s Eid release Kick, has several other biggies lined up, including Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Anees Bazmee’s No Entry Mein Entry and Kabir Khan’s next that will also be produced by him.
"Of course, everyone is concerned about Salman but I think it’s early days in the case, and there’s a long way to go before you can say that things might go against him," says trade analyst Komal Nahta.
While Salman’s acting assignments have almost Rs. 350 crore riding on him, his ads (including an automobile brand and a soft drink campaign) are pegged at around Rs. 50 crore.
"God forbid, if the case goes against Salman, and he is gone for 5-10 years, then that’s it. It’s the end of his career. He is at the top of his game right now," says ad guru Prahlad Kakkar.
Bazmee says it’s a concerning issue, but hopes that things will go in the actor’s favour.
"Everyone knows how big a star Salman is. But I am sure everything will be fine," he says.
Trade analyst Amod Mehra also says there’s no reason to worry, "Technically speaking, Salman only has Kick riding on him because the other films are yet to go on the floor. But there’s no reason for concern because we are all hoping that all will be well."
Besides films and brands, Salman also has a few production ventures — a Sooraj Pancholi-Athiya Shetty starrer Hero remake, and Kabir’s next, whose price has been pegged at around Rs. 150 crore.
Hit and run timeline September 28, 2002: Salman Khan’s car ran into people asleep on a pavement. The incident occurred in Bandra, Mumbai. The accident killed one and injured four people.
October 6, 2006: The local court framed 10 charges against Salman.
September 2, 2005: Trial against Salman Khan began.
2006: Only one of the 39 witnesses turned up to testify.
July 24, 2013: Salman Khan was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
December 5, 2013: Court ordered fresh trial in the case.
April 27, 2014: Fresh trial begins.
May 6, 2014: Three witnesses identify the actor in court.