Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s Director – Kabir Khan’s Box Office Career Analysis

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Salman Khan Films and Rockline Venkatesh’s joint production ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is storming the box office like never before. Distributed by Eros, the Salman Khan – Kareena Kapoor-Khan – Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer which released on 17 July 2015 (a day before Eid), has already crossed Rs. 550 crore (Rs. 5.5 billion) gross mark worldwide in three weeks and the movie is still blasting the box office records like a tsunami.

It is one of the biggest successes of Hindi cinema history and a large part of the credit goes to the director of this film – Kabir Khan. It has to be mentioned that all the characters in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ are very well written but the director has a huge role in extracting the best performances from them. Well known for his documentary style while engaging in Bollywood projects, Kabir Khan has emerged in the last few years, as one of the directors who’s eye for a clear and firm direction stands out from the crowd. His handling of themes and subjects in Bollywood is regarded with a lot of respect. On the historical success of his latest film ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, we are here going to analyze his filmography at the box office.


Kabul Express (2006)

After the successful documentaries like ‘Beyond The Himalayas’ (1995), ‘The Forgotten Army’ (1999), ‘Taliban Years and Beyond’ (2001) and ‘The Titanic Sinks In Kabul’ (2001), Kabir Khan debuted as a full feature film director with ‘Kabul Express’ in the 2006. The film is loosely based on Kabir and his friend Rajan Kapoor’s experience in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films, the film starred John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Pakistani actor Salman Shahid, Afghan actor Hanif Hum Ghum and American actress Linda Arsenio. The movie portrays post 9/11 Afghanistan. It speaks of the goings-on in the war-torn country of Afghanistan, and how its people have prevented their culture and traditions from plague of continuous war for decades.

Coming to the box office, though the film had a good star cast, it performed averagely and collected approx Rs. 12.25 crore (Rs. 122.5 million) nett in India. However Kabir’s style of filmmaking was widely noticed.


New York (2009)

After ‘Kabul Express’, Kabir Khan made ‘New York’ with John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Irrfan Khan. Produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films, this film is also set in the backdrop of 9/11 and tells the story of three students, Samir Shaikh, Omar Aijaz and Maya Shaikh (played by John, Neil and Katrina respectively), studying at New York State University whose lives are changed by 9/11 and its aftermath.

The film is loosely inspired by the 2007 Hollywood thriller ‘Name of God’. It is a definite and very relevant subject that speaks of prejudices after the great human tragedy.

‘New York’ was critically acclaimed and applauded by one and all across the globe. It collected around Rs. 62 crore (Rs. 620 million) nett in India and became one of the highest grossers of the year.


Ek Tha Tiger (2012)

In 2012, Kabir Khan teamed up with Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif and delivered his highest grossing movie so far. ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ (ETT) is the love story of an Indian spy (RAW) named Tiger (played by Salman Khan) and a Pakistani spy (ISI) named Zoya (played by Katrina Kaif). The film shows a very interesting love story with political backdrop and the fight between two arch enemies India and Pakistan. Both the agents fall in love during the course of an investigation, thereby ignoring the protocol of the agency by listening to their hearts alongside fighting the system.

The film broke each and every local and international record, thereby doing extraordinary business worldwide. Be it the highest opening day, highest weekend or highest week, every box office records were broken by ‘ETT’ except the lifetime business of Aamir Khan’s ‘3 Idiots’. The film collected Rs. 198.78 crore (Rs. 1.99 billion) nett in India.


Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015)

When director Kabir Khan and Salman Khan reunited for the second time after the super success of ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, the box office records automatically came in the line to be broken. It has been more than three weeks of release and the way ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is performing at ticket windows is historical.

‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ shows the heart-touching bond between Pavan (Salman Khan) and Munni/Shahida (Harshali Malhotra). It remarked as the best performance of Salman Khan and the best movie of Kabir Khan. Salman who starred in ‘Dabangg’, ‘Ready’, ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Kick’ in the last several years, broke his masala film hero image with this epic movie. Audiences, celebrities, critics, everyone praised the film and made it one of the highest rated film on IMDb.

‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ has collected around Rs. 306 crore (Rs. 3.06 billion) nett in India and Rs. 575 crore (Rs. 5.75 billion) gross worldwide in 23 days and is still doing well in its fourth week inspite of the clash with Ajay Devgn’s ‘Drishyam’, Riteish Deshmukh’s ‘Bangistan’ and Tom Cruise starrer Hollywood film ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’. ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is now only behind Aamir Khan’s PK (Rs. 340 crore – Rs. 3.4 billion) at the chart of All Time Highest Hindi Grossers in India while in overseas, it is third highest grossers ever after ‘PK’ and ‘Dhoom 3’.

Phantom (2015)

After ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, Kabir Khan’s next is ‘Phantom’ that stars Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif in the lead. The director is coming back with his favourite genre and hence the expectations from this movie is extremely high. The trailer of this film has been already released and it is receiving good response from all over.

Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and Siddharth Roy Kapur, ‘Phantom’ is a political thriller that opens across various countries around the world. It highlights the situation post 26/11 terrorists attacks in Mumbai and revolves around the statement “Why can’t we go for a mission like USA to kill the terrorists who bloodsheded India in different contexts?”

It will be interesting to see how this Kabir Khan film performs at box office. It is a ‘wait-and-watch’ situation and only time will tell if Kabir Khan makes a hatrick with ‘Phantom’ or not. It releases on August 28, 2015.

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