Starting January 2013, any film that Salman Khan produces, directs or acts in will be aired on Star. And for this exclusive 10-year deal, the network, has doled out close to Rs400 crore to the actor, claim reports. Hemal Jhaveri, executive vice-president and GM of Star Gold & Movies OK, confirmed they had signed a deal with the actor but refused to comment on the price. “It’s a huge amount but as per our policy we don’t give out numbers,” he said. As for choosing Salman, Jhaveri said the actor’s box-office record over the last one year is Rs400 crore and his film Bodyguard has had the highest rating on Star Gold. “He has a great universal appeal and that clearly is the reason why we signed him,” he says.
The deal, however, has foxed trade observers and broadcasters, who are figuring how it will pan out. According to Neeraj Vyas, EVP and business head, MAX, it’s premature to comment on what the repercussions will be. “Nobody knows what the modalities are. It will work when it comes to his home productions but what happens when there are multi-producers? Does he take them into confidence? These are questions that will be asked,” says Vyas. He is also of the view that though the star is an important element of the plot, other ingredients of the film are also taken into consideration while buying the rights. “In this case, we will only have to wait and watch,” he says.
Jayantilal Gada, CMD, Pen India, who buys movies for the Zee Network is unperturbed. “Salman only does two movies a year. Earlier, Star used to buy one and Zee or Colors used to buy the other. Now there will be a loss of one film to us, that’s all. What happens if Salman does a Yash Raj film, of which Sony has exclusive rights? It has to be on a case-to-case basis,” he asserts and is opposed to making such a deal with any star.
It’s a win-win situation for Salman but it’s a risky proposition for Star, feels trade analyst Amod Mehra. “Today he is the numero uno and the channel is on top of the charts but this position will not be intact. Though Salman is at the pinnacle now, his stardom may fade in a couple of years. It will not always be smooth-sailing. Also, the deal means instead of the producer choosing a star, Salman will have to look for a producer is confident about.”
This may very well set the ball rolling for other superstars who hope to sign such contracts.