Salman Khan, Race 3 and our habit of hero worship

Hero worship is so deeply ingrained in our DNA that even in this era of irreverence, spoofs and funny GIFs on social media, we do not want to give up on our idols so easily

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NH Features

Salman Khan starrer Race 3 has earned about Rs 152 crore till reports last came in. Of course, it will earn much more despite the fact that the film is horrendous. It was literally trolled on social media and people made fun of it. Notwithstanding, Salman Bhai celebrated the Eid release.

So, if people are making fun of the film and film critics are slamming it tersely for being a bad film to the core, who then is watching Race 3 and thus making it a success?

This may well be called the ‘Race 3 phenomenon’. Hero worship is so deeply ingrained in our DNA that even in this era of irreverence, spoofs and funny GIFs on social media, we do not want to give up on our idols so easily. Such cases are aplenty in our socio-political scene. In this light, there is a striking similarity between PM Narendra Modi and Salman Khan.

But we are not able to break away from the tendency of hero worship even when our aesthetic sense suffers at the hands of Salman’s trashy cinema or when our daily life is hampered by the arbitrary decisions of our political idols

There are fans and there are diehard fans. Then, there are idol worshippers. They won’t let go of Salman Khan, no matter how foolish and nonsensical he looks in the film. To quote senior film critic Subhash K Jha, Salman Khan genuinely doesn’t care what the critics think or say (about him).

Here is what the unspoken deal between a superstar, especially a superstar called Salman Khan, and the media is. He can say and do what he likes. But the media persons must say and do what Salman likes, Subhash Jha further adds. The critic in a recent article reminisces about the time when Judwaa 2 was released and he asked David Dhawan as to how he reacted to criticism about his cinema being the same even after three decades.

“Why should I open the bonnet of my car when it is running smoothly,” David had commented.

It is almost the same with Salman Khan. He will prefer not to apply his brain or creativity as an actor as long as he is raking in the moolah even with a substandard film like Race 3. No one around him will tell him that Race 3 is a disgraceful addition to his repertoire of films, especially at this juncture of his career when he has a captive audience to experiment with roles and to extend the frontiers of his talent.

Salman may rightly argue that the audience loves him and his cinema. So, why should he change his attitude towards his career or towards anything else in life?

And here, the audience, comes in. Unfortunately, as audience, we do not win any respect by approving of such a hack as Race 3.

But we are not able to break away from the tendency of hero worship even when our aesthetic sense suffers at the hands of Salman’s trashy cinema or when our daily life is hampered by the arbitrary decisions of our political idols.

So, as Subhash Jha says, “while the critics are busy looking for new ways to insult Salman’s Race 3, he is already planning ‘Race 4,’ probably with more of everything we hated in the current film. What can you do about it?”

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