By Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 10 -- Kitne pratishat Bhartiya...' is a line that probably has cost Sony Entertainment dearly this year. If trade buzz is to be believed, Salman Khan, the resident host of Dus Ka Dum, has been signed on for the show's third season for nearly twice the fee he was paid for Dus Ka Dum Season Two. Sources indicate that he got approximately Rs 80 lakh an episode, for 25 episodes of the show last year. Less than 12 months later, the figure is expected to be between Rs 1.25 crore and Rs 1.5 crore. Sources at Sony and Synergy Adlabs confirm the buzz. "Salman will definitely get more this year and he deserves it too. The channel at this juncture, needs his support. His show has brought Sony decent TRPs and viable star value. The ratings of most of their other shows are hardly impressive. So, getting him back is the need of the hour," says a source from Synergy.
'Can't think of Dus Ka Dum without Salman'
When Siddharth Basu from Synergy was quizzed on the production team's plans to rope in special guests, go for a change in venue and Salman Khan's price, he was understandably reluctant to comment. "You'll have to address all these queries to the broadcaster, Sony. All I can say is that Salman has been an entertaining if unconventional host and all those who have followed Dus Ka Dum regularly, have loved him." Ajit Thakur of Sony admits that the channel adores the actor and would love to have him back. "He has great brand value and has been phenomenal as a star host. We can't think of Dus Ka Dum without him," he asserts. Another source from Sony confides that the deal with Khan is expected to be inked over the next two weeks, after which an official announcement will be made. The show is expected to go on air between July and August. And it will have almost the same run as Season Two. Vikas Kapoor, the actor's manager, refused to either confirm or deny the rumour about Khan being paid double his fee this time. All Kapoor would say was, "Salman is definitely being paid more than what he got in the first two seasons. But as a matter of policy, I cannot disclose the exact amount that has been offered to him for every episode of Dus Ka Dum 3."
'I'm Salman the man and not the superstar on the show'
On his part, the actor had without modesty said that the reason for the success of the game show was Salman Khan, the man and not the superstar. "I'm me on the show. This is how I am at home too. You can ask my friends and they will vouch for it. I bring my buddies on the show and we have a blast," he had pointed out. "Guys like Ajay (Devgn), Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) and Fardeen (Khan), who are otherwise wary of appearing on a public platform, readily appeared on my show because they knew that it would be a comfortable space and they could be themselves on Dus Ka Dum. We are like a bunch of happy-go-lucky boys-next-door and that's what connects with the audience. We are as 'aam' (common) as them." He recollected the first episode for Season One that he had shot at RK Studios, Chembur. "When I watched it, I was sure the show and the concept would work. The format, the look and the feel were superb even then. And Dus Ka Dum has successfully sustained its ratings through two seasons." While Dus Ka Dum 2 was on, the channel ran episodes repeatedly in all its empty slots. Salman finds that encouraging: "The last season's run was extremely heartening. The plans for the third season started even before the second one ended. I don't know what's in store for Season Three now."
'Shah Rukh's welcome'
Speculations were rife last season that Shah Rukh Khan would appear on the show. He didn't. Will he this time around? In his trademark style, with a wry smile, Salman says, "Khushamadeed, he's welcome. I don't mind him or any other Khan coming on the show, that is if they don't mind coming over. I will treat Shah Rukh the same way that I treat all my guests." Everyone on Salman's guest wishlist has appeared on the show except Madhuri Dixit. He says, "She didn't decline or throw starry tantrums. We were working out her dates for the Dance Premiere League and thought she might be able to squeeze in Dus Ka Dum too. Sadly, it didn't work out. Better luck next time." Two years ago, competition was stiff, with SRK's Kya Aap Panchvi Paas Se Tez Hain on air too. But now, there's little chance of that show returning. Akshay Kumar has also been replaced by Priyanka Chopra on Khatron Ke Khiladi 3. But buzz is that Sanjay Dutt could host a show for Balaji Telefilms and Aamir Khan could be the next KBC host. Salman is unperturbed: "Everyone should have work to do. I can't be happy because someone's show didn't work as beautifully as mine did. This is business. Whoever works returns, others fade out."