A few years ago, Riteish Deshmukh said that every person in Bollywood has a Salman Khan story to share. As it turns out, Riteish was spot on.
Everyone's favourite 'Bhai' had a dream run at the box office last year, with Bajrangi Bhaijaan alone raking in over Rs 300 crore. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo became the second biggest hit of 2015 with collections of over Rs 200 crore and in 2016 Sultan raked in over 300 crores.
While Khan has often been stereotyped as the action hero, he has proved his mettle across all genres - making him one of the most versatile actors in the industry today.
The original chocolate hero?
In an era when Bollywood films were mostly about the protagonist avenging an injustice, Sooraj Barjatya decided to try something different. He introduced Salman Khan as 'Prem', the hunky, sweet lover boy that Bollywood audiences would soon fall head over heels for.
Salman took the nation by storm with his chocolate boy look in Maine Pyar Kiya - let's just ignore his debut, that of a rather bland brother-in-law in the 1988 film, Biwi Ho Toh Aisi.
The rest, as they say, is history. What would Bollywood be without its Prem? Salman went on to do one romantic film after another - including Saajan, Hum Aapke Hai Koun, Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya and Khamoshi, to name a few.
Hum Aapke Hai Comedian
In 1994, Salman shared the screen with rival, Aamir Khan in Andaz Apna Apna. Although the film failed to impress audiences when it released, it gathered acclaim over the years - and is considered to be a cult classic today.
This time around, everyone's favourite onscreen Prem played an out-and-out comic role for the first time ever. And with his impeccable comic timing, he soon became a top choice for other comedy films. Salman has featured in a number of comedy films, including Judwaa, Biwi No. 1, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, No Entry, Partner, and Ready - among others.
Although some of his film choices may be questionable (Remember the atrocities that were Yeh Hai Jalwa and Hello Brother?) Salman found acceptance in this avatar too.
Wait, there's drama too
Salman had viewers rooting for him with teary eyes when he played the carefree Sameer who taught Nandini about love in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, or the heart-broken lover Radhe Mohan in Tere Naam. And who can forget this year's blockbuster, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, where he made the nation cry?
The Sultan of action
Sunny Deol is known for his intense action sequences. And Hrithik Roshan is known to pull of daredevil stunts with absolute panache. But when the larger-than-life action hero avatar, is all Salman Khan. Be it films like Dabangg, Bodyguard, Kick or Ek Tha Tiger, action has always come easy to the actor - who inspires bodybuilders across the country. Not only does he impress audiences by experimenting with his action sequences but does them all with the tongue in cheek that only he can muster.
"The kind of characters I portray on screen, is what I aspire to be in real life," Salman Khan once said.
If we pick apart all his films since 2010, all of Salman's characters seem to be big on humanitarian activities. The actor has admitted to never having tried his hand at a negative role because he thinks it would affect his massive fan following - who consider them to be their role model. But we think he'd be able to pull it off with absolute style, in a way that only 'Bhai' can.
Here's wishing Salman Khan a happy 51st birthday.