All eyes were on the Mumbai sessions court on Wednesday as the fate of Bollywood’s controversial superstar in a 13-year-old hit-and-run case was to be sealed.
The stakes were high, as the actor in question is a regular money machine at the box office. Trade analysts peg his existing projects to be worth ₹170-200 crore.
Salman Khan was found guilty and handed a five-year jail term by the sessions court. By the end of the day he was out on a two-day interim bail by the superior court. But the the film industry and advertisers were in a tizzy after the verdict. Brand experts say that while companies may revaluate their endorsement contracts despite his legal troubles he will have recall value as he has a strong mass appeal and a fanatical fan following.
Trade analyst Komal Nahata though said it is unlikely that the projects may see delays as they were in the final stages of production and the film makers were aware about the ongoing legal proceedings.
Another trade analyst Amod Mehra said, “There is definitely a lot of anxiety… The future projects that have been announced will come to a standstill for now.”
Khan’s success is not restricted to films. He has been lending his name to various brands including Thums Up, Suzuki Motorcycle India, P N Gadgil Jewellers, Astral Pipes, Dixcy Scott, Image Eyewear and Yatra.
A Coca-Cola India spokesperson said, “We hold the court verdict in the highest regard. We are evaluating the next steps”. A Suzuki Motorcycle India spokesperson refused to comment.
Shailendra Singh, Joint Managing Director, Percept Ltd, said, “While it remains to be seen what the future course of events will be, I do not think brands will pull the plug overnight, Depending on his availability in the future, they may renegotiate the deals for lesser value.”
Manish Mandhana, Managing Director of Mandhana Industries, which has the licensing agreement for Being Human Clothing, said the brand will continue with its activities and business plans.