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A file photo of Salman Khan. Photo: PTI
A file photo of Salman Khan. Photo: PTI

Salman Khan’s verdict has Rs200 crore riding on it

The actor faces a prison term of up to 10 years if convicted in the 12-year-old hit-and-run case

Mumbai: Over 200 crore is riding on the verdict that a city sessions court will give on Wednesday. The enormous sum makes sense when the person involved is Bollywood star Salman Khan. The court will decide his fate as well as that of the projects he is working on when it reads out its order in the 12-year-old hit-and-run case in which he is the prime accused. The actor faces a prison term of up to 10 years.

The case, which involves charges of rash and negligent driving resulting in one death, has created uncertainty in the industry over Khan’s future projects and even his endorsements. According to trade analysts, over 200 crore is riding on the actor, who has two films on the floors and has been signed up for another, Shuddhi, slated for release in 2016.

“Salman has completed two projects—Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (helmed by Sooraj Barjatya) and Bajrangi Bhaijaan (by Kabir Khan)—and these films are due for release in 2015. The amount riding on these projects would be anywhere between 175 and 200 crore," said Komal Nahta, a trade analyst.

Amod Mehra, another trade analyst, said Khan has committed to star in four other films, including Dabangg 3 and No Entry Mein Entry, but these were in early stages.

According to Shailendra Singh, joint managing director, Percept Ltd, an entertainment, media and communications company, Khan has the option to appeal in case of a conviction. His brand image might take a hit, but not for long, he said. But a guilty verdict would translate into massive losses, he added.

Singh put the money riding on Khan at over 500 crore. He pointed out that if the actor wasn’t found guilty, his brand would only become stronger.

Currently, the 49-year-old actor endorses a clutch of brands, including Thums Up, detergent Wheel, P.N. Gadgil Jewellers and pipe brand Astral Pipes. He also hosts the reality show, Bigg Boss, which airs on the Colors channel for three months every year.

According to a celebrity management professional who asked not to be named, Khan’s brand endorsements could be worth around 45 crore.

Another media professional said multinational companies, in particular, are now likely to be more careful about their celebrity brand ambassadors as they are usually sensitive to such controversies.

As for his own ventures, the actor runs an NGO called Being Human. He also has a production company named Salman Khan Being Human Productions. A chain of clothing and merchandise stores, under the brand name Being Human, is run by Mandhana Industries Ltd.

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