Salman Khan’s latest film, Tubelight, was released in India on Friday, June 23 across over 4,000 screens. It was a highly-anticipated release given Khan’s tremendous star power and the fact that he acts in only one or two films each year, so it opened to packed theaters.
Khan’s films are typically preceded by huge marketing campaigns and are scheduled to coincide with Eid-ul-Fitr, the celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan. Over the years, they have become virtually guaranteed box-office blockbusters.
However, with Tubelight, the very factor that provided the massive buzz around the movie–Salman Khan himself–turned out to be its greatest disappointment.
In the film, Khan plays a character whom everyone calls “Tubelight” because he’s mentally differentlyabled.
Directed by popular Bollywood filmmaker Kabir Khan who is known for the success of his previous collaborations with Salman Khan, the film is the official remake of an obscure Hollywood war-drama called the Little Boy. In the original, the lead was played by a child. In this remake, it’s played by 51-year-old Khan.
His man-child/village-idiot character is a significant departure from the high-voltage action films he typically stars in where he tends to simply play himself–an ultra muscular “hero” who fights the bad guys and gets the girl. But sadly this experiment seems to have proved less than effective.
As influential Bollywood film critic, Raja Sen wrote, “Salman Khan gives one of the worst performances of his career… While Khan could hardly be expected to pull off a Forrest Gump, what we get here… is the story of a developmentally disabled man whose superpower is making constipated sounds.”
Cinemagoers at a multiplex in Mumbai on Friday night had mixed opinions. While some die-hard Salman Khan fans said they were moved to tears and loved the film’s overarching message, most seemed to agree that Salman Khan’s performance, and the film’s screenplay, were underwhelming at best.
Note: The original article was posted on Forbes