The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Phone preview before Pyaar
- Forget the giggles, ‘Ash’ sidesteps minefield with maturity

Calcutta, July 14: The promos of the film have him crying: Maine pyaar kyun kiya' After the alleged expose today, Salman Khan might just be crying: Maine phone kyun kiya'

The dramatic turn of events has shifted the spotlight from the superstar’s much-hyped new release, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya ' distributed across the country with a record 600-print release ' to the tapped four-year-old telephonic chat with his then lady love Aishwarya Rai.

The advance weekend booking for the David Dhawan comedy ' which has Salman playing a love-crazy doctor and co-stars his current sweetheart Katrina Kaif and Sushmita Sen ' has been big.

But will the ticket windows spell a different story with the constant onslaught of what is said to be a slurry Sallu bhai saying “Dawood mera bhai hai” bites on the airwaves'

Bollywood trade pundits refuse to read too much into Salman’s telephone terror tactics with Ash.

Says analyst Indu Mirani: “I don’t think anyone will not want to see a Salman Khan film just because he has links with the underworld. If there is an impact at all, it will be positive. Sunjay Dutt became a bigger star after the Mumbai bomb blast incident.”

Taran Adarsh agrees: “It is a separate issue completely, something personal. How Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya will do at the box-office should solely depend on how good or bad the film is.”

The distributors of the film, though, are on the edge. Naresh Jain, director of Nikita Arts Movies Pvt Ltd, the Calcutta distributor of the film, says: “I lost a lot of money with Jo Bole So Nihaal when the Delhi blasts happened and the film’s screening was banned here. I fear something similar may happen with Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya.

“Although the tape hasn’t yet been analysed and no arrests has been made, there is already a controversy and it would have some effect on the film, once it releases.”

The impact may take some time to register with the weekend shows already booked. “The advance booking has been very good,” says Vikas Syal, general manager of INOX (Forum).

“So if this telephone episode has some effect at all, positive or negative, it will be from next week. The initials won’t be affected with tickets having been booked in bulk by families,” he said.

The director of Salman’s next release, No Entry, will not spend a sleepless Thursday night.

“I will release the film, as planned, in August,” says Anees Bazmee. “I am not scared about something that happened four years ago. Many people aren’t even sure that it was Salman’s voice. And even if it was, it’s very clear that he was under the influence of alcohol and shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

Perhaps, Salman needs to Just chill'

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