LOOK back on the history of Indian cinema and there are countless incidents of popular leading men completely losing touch with reality.

Many refused to grow old gracefully and as their leading ladies got younger, it became more embarrassing as the age gap increased with each film. In a desperate attempt to look young, many of these heroes wore bad hairpieces and even worse make up.

They suddenly went from massively desirable heartthrobs on the big screen to coming across as dirty old men to the next generation of cinemagoers.

Sadly, it seems Salman Khan is following in the footsteps of so many fallen idols of the past and looks like going from being a box office king to becoming somewhat of a joke. Signs of this have been apparent in recent films, including his last two releases Bharat and Dabangg 3, where the 54-year-old romanced women in their twenties. He has taken complete creative control of his projects, which has resulted in high profile disasters like Race 3Tubelight and his ill-fated home productions, where he has attempted to launch new talent. His recent home productions like Loveyatri and Notebook have shown that Salman has lost touch with new cinemagoers.

In the past, many fallen idols would compensate for their time at the top coming to an end by unsuccessfully exploring other creative avenues like directing and Salman has been doing the same in recent years with his attempts at singing. Make no mistake, even with studio trickery, Salman is a terrible singer and because he is such a powerful star no one seems brave enough to tell him.

That lack of singing talent was once again exposed with his newly released earache inducing effort Pyaar Karona. The song was supposed to uplift those in lockdown and inspire them to practice social distancing, but instead, added to the torture of self-isolation. The actor perhaps thought it was genius that karona sounds like corona, but it isn’t.

When the lockdown is over, Salman will be looking to turn around his recent run of dud films by scoring big at the box office again, but his entourage not having the courage to be honest  with him means he will make more wrong moves. His next release Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai sees him star opposite Disha Patani, who is nearly 30 years younger than him and it is directed by Prabhu Deva, who did an awful job on his last film Dabangg 3, destroying a successful franchise.

What will make things more difficult for the actor is he doesn’t command the same kind of fear as before and other leading men are no longer afraid to take him on, which means he won’t get the solo holiday releases that helped generate big box office numbers and cover up his decline. The Covid-19 crisis causing a bottleneck will make it nearly impossible for him to get a solo release on a big holiday.

Salman could look for age appropriate projects, put his faith in talented filmmakers, not interfere creatively and stop singing, but he is seemingly having that crisis so many have had in the past and won’t do that. He is not alone, with other aging heroes from his era starting to follow suit.

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