Published On : Thu, Nov 12th, 2015

A Royal Welcome for ‘Sallu Bhaiya’ in his new avatar as Dilwale

Prem-RatanNagpur.

Yes, you read it right. That is what Salman Khan is called in his latest movie ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ that released today all over the country. His ardent fan club in Nagpur had planned a grand welcome for him at Smruti theatre in Sadar.

The Fan club It’s a motley group of men, women and even kids who celebrate any movie of their ‘Sallu bhaiya’ or any event in his life. Though it is based in Nagpur, it seems unparalleled anywhere and gets talked about in media and film circles in Mumbai as well. They not just go hyperactive over a Salman release but also undertake many social welfare activities in his name.

They had planned the release ‘celebration’ of PRDP weeks in advance by booking tickets for first day first show. To decorate the compound as a token of welcome to Salman fans in Nagpur, they had bought a lot of Marigold flowers ( a difficult feat since most flower markets were empty after Laxmi Puja yesterday), a string of crackers, and finally Dhols too. Then they did Aarti for Goddess Laxmi to ask for her blessings in making the film a grand success.
“They have been cleaning and decorating the place since last night” said the Manager of Smruti Santosh. The impatient crowd waiting outside was delighted and surprised at what awaited them inside once the gates were thrown open!

All the core Sallu fans work at full time jobs in various enterprise but their employers know that any day a Salman Khan movie releases is Diwali and Eid combined for his fans. They have to be excused that day!

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Smruti gets a new look for today

Knowing this grand welcome was awaited for the movie in Nagpur, the management of Smruti had asked the Barjatyas, owners of Rajashri Productions to arrange a special hoarding that would extend all across the theatre’s facade. So a 40 feet by 60 feet hoarding was specially made and transported from Chennai to Nagpur. It was put up last week with a crane and 16 men required to do the job!

A hit required badly for the film industry and allied business

There was a time when theatres would run House Full on Diwali day – even on the main day of Laxmi Puja. Families who had come together for the holiday would definitely plan at least one movie outing together.

Now the situation is such that Smruti was closed last evening since there was no sale of tickets! In fact all through the months of August to November – Ganesh puja to Diwali – there were many such blank days.

“Festival times have become off season for theatres these days. No one comes to see movies any more on religious holidays – Eid being the exception when Salman has a release planned every year.”

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Santosh doesn’t blame just the public, he finds fault with even the film industry that makes movies.

“Who makes good movies any more that families will go and watch together?”

Even they are waiting for a film like PRDP to become a big hit and make up for their losses.

“Since the advent of multiplex, single theatres do not get foot falls. We are trying to change that by renovating our theatre and making it as comfortable and posh as a multiplex theatre.” ( In fact it was more so, since the seats were not as cramped, as say Cinemax.)

“And patrons can still get pop corn for Rs. 25/ and samosas for Rs. 10/ here” says the theatre Manager.

How was the movie?

NT readers will have to wait for our regular review, but we can say, if Salman knows what is good for him he will realize his actual ” #Ratan #Dhan” is the #Prem he gets from fans like Balram Gehani. Unconditional, uncompromising. They had dug deep into their own pockets to plan the grand arrival of Salman’s pic.

“We will introduce you to Salman one day” said a media person.

“I would like to meet Salman Bhaiya on my own merit – when he hears about the social work we do in his name and calls me to meet him” said Balram.

A post script – why is Salman called ‘Diiwale’ in this movie? We all know SRK and Kajol are making a come back movie as a couple called Diwale very soon. Is this a challenge from one Khan to another?

Sunita Mudaliar