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Salman's sentence could affect shootings but popularity unaffected

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By: Rajesh Ahuja, UNI

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New Delhi: Salman Khan's five-year conviction by a Jodhpur court in the Chinkara poaching case may have come as a "bolt from the blue" for Bollywood, which has several crore riding on the actor but analysts feel that despite the sentence, the huge popularity of the star remains intact.

Despite his frequent brushes with the law, Salman remains among the handful of bankable stars in the film industry along with Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee and Aishwarya Rai.

In fact, Salman is the most 'popular' star in the industry today, more than perhaps even Shahrukh and Aamir Khan, considering he has had more hits in the industry than Shahrukh and Aamir taken together.

Also, Salman is perhaps the only one among the ''Khan troika'' who has either worked or is working with almost every filmmaker in Bollywood, from Sanjay Leela Bhansali to Sooraj Barjatya to David Dhawan to Vasu Bhagnani to Sajid Nadiadwala to Priyadarshan to Subhash Ghai or, for that matter, even Karan Johar and Yash Chopra.

Further, he is the only Khan to have worked in a Hollywood film Marigold.

His frequent brushes with the law notwithstanding, for the people in the industry - actors as well as directors - Salman is a person with a "heart of gold".

In fact, he is one actor who does films out of his sense of loyalty towards filmmaker friends, rather than merely due to their box office potential.

For instance, Salman agreed to play the lead role in a film by old friend Revathy in Phir Milenge, a story about on AIDS patient, at a time when no star of his stature, or even below that, had consented to work in a film which they feared was women-oriented.

For Salman, it was his way of repaying Revathy's gesture of having consented to work with him in Love when Salman was a newcomer in the industry.

Another case in point is Salman agreeing to do a guest appearance in Dev Anand's 'Love At Time's Square' for ''old times sake.''

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