Race 3 Review (No Spoilers): I am Sincerely Worried About Salman Khan

Watched it!  With an Eid audience, which was super fun.  We were very under dressed, but we got to admire everyone else’s nice clothes.

The best part about the audience was the little baby sitting in front of us who kept waving his arms in the air and shouting “no no no no NO!” at the screen.  In many ways, he spoke for us all.  Because, NO!!!!!  No to Daisy Shah “acting”, no to Bobby Deol being way too skinny, no to characters that have no motivation or emotional depth, no to terrible terrible in every way songs, and most of all NO to Salman.

On the way home, we were talking about what it was like to watch Salman, and we finally realized why he felt familiar.  He felt like Mohammed Ali, back before he went public with his diagnosis.  Or Dilip Kumar now.  There is a kind of disconnect behind the eyes, an odd delay in reactions. a strange immobility of the body.  It wasn’t just that he was bad at acting, it was that by his second or third scene there was something so “off” about him that it was alarming.

Image result for salman khan race 3

I could easily tear down this movie and blame it all on Salman.  I mean, it is his fault.  He brought in his handpicked team of actors, who were all terrible and wrong for their roles.  Bobby looks just wrong, too skinny, and too much like everyone else, his essential Bobby Deol-ness is just gone.  I want him to do well and keep working, but at least in this movie he was clearly following Salman’s advice on how to present himself and it didn’t work.  Daisy Shah could not sell her lines or her role at all.  I can believe she would do fine in a different movie, but in this amorphous kind of character, with a director who is not known for pulling great performances from his stars, she was all wrong.  Jacqueline was good, in her usual Jacqueline way, charming and bubbly and with great hair.  Really, amazing hair, flipping it around was like half of her performance and I was okay with that.  But overall, it wasn’t the right cast, not for these roles in this film with this director, and the only reason they were forced into these parts is because Salman insisted on them.

And Salman wrote the songs.  Did we know that in advance?  They are shockingly terrible.  He also sang them himself.  There is one song that he did NOT write the lyrics for, and for which they hired Pritam, an actual established composer instead of whatever random guys were willing to work with Salman, and there is an immediate improvement.

Besides the music, the dancing is terrible too.  And this is a Remo D’Souza movie!  He started as a choreographer, the dancing should be wonderful even if nothing else is.  But the problem is, Salman can’t move.  And Bobby can’t either.  So Jacqueline and Daisy are stuck sort of dancing around them, but not too much, because that would make them look bad.  Same problem with the action scenes, the two main action heroes just can’t move the way they need to.

And the plot makes no sense.  You can clearly see where it takes a sudden veer into Salman Khan territory.  And to make the ending he wanted work, you have to throw out much of what came before to the point that the whole becomes illogical.

So yes, it is all Salman’s fault.  He insisted on a terrible cast (for this particular film.  No insult to Daisy or Bobby, they could be fine in something else, but not this).  And he wrote terrible songs with terrible composers.  And he ruined the choreography, both dance and fight.  And most of all, he destroyed the carefully built twisted plot by forcing on the ending he wanted.

But my reaction watching this movie wasn’t “booo star power, boo Salman”, but rather “Salman, I think something is really sincerely wrong with you and I am sad.”

I like Salman Khan.  I know that may get me backlash from some of you, but I do.  I know that he is a bad person in some ways, but he is a good person in others.  And on the whole, I wish him well.  And watching this movie, I became more and more sure that he is really really sick.

It’s been clear for years, and his health issues have been public knowledge.  He has Trigeminal Neuralgia, commonly called the “suicide disease” because it is so painful that 25% who have it kill themselves rather than going on.  1 in 4.  Salman has had it for almost 20 years.

Image result for trigeminal neuralgia

(It’s supposed to feel like being punched in the face, happening at random intervals multiple times a day)

He also has a cerebral anaurysm.  It is at the base of his brain stem, if he is careful and follows medical advice he is probably fine, but it can still cause random shocks and pain.  And if he isn’t careful, it will kill him.

And then there is the odd clubbing of the hands and thickness of the face, which looks like some kind of heart problem.  That’s not official, but it is obvious to anyone who looks at him and has been for at least 10 years.

But with all of that, he has kept going and kept working and put in some wonderful performances.  Dabangg, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, even as recently as Prem Ratan Dhan Payo.  Yes, there was some CGI work, you could see it in how his face would suddenly be smoothed out in one scene, and then old and pudgy and tired in the next.  And his body was altered a little, the tight young waist appearing and disappearing.  But his movements were smooth, his line delivery was clear, and he was doing his job.  It’s been less and less as the years have gone by, if you watch his films in order you can see him go from someone who is always jumping around, energetic, excited, giving it his all, to someone who is taking it easier and easier.

(This is a really sweet song, but also Salman is barely moving in it)

But in this movie, it’s not that Salman doesn’t care, that he is just showing up for the paycheck.  It’s that he honestly doesn’t feel engaged with those around him.  There were a lot of moments that it didn’t seem so much that he had forgotten his lines, but more that he had forgotten everything, why he was in this room, what was happening, who he was even.  Maybe that’s why he wanted the handpicked cast around him, people who would make him feel safe, who would help him through the rough patches.

If I were someone new to the films, or new to Salman, I would laugh this all off.  I would say “ha-ha, this is a terrible movie and the main actor seems drunk half the time!”  But I like Salman, I feel like I know him after all these years of following him, and this movie made me sad for him.


Oh, and it’s also a terrible movie.  If you are considering watching it, be aware that it is a big stupid action film with terrible songs.  Kind of fun to talk over and make fun of, if you get the right crowd in the theater that cheers and laughs and so on, it might be an enjoyable experience.  And Anil Kapoor was wonderful and brilliant, he ALWAYS shows up ready to work and give it his all.  But I can’t recommend it beyond that.

And also, Salman, sincerely, I’m thinking of you and your family and I hope things aren’t as bad as they seem.  I hope this was just a bad few months while you were filming and you will get some rest and come back better than ever.


35 thoughts on “Race 3 Review (No Spoilers): I am Sincerely Worried About Salman Khan

  1. I’ve also noticed the strange immobility of his body, in fact we talked about it on the podcast I recorded with Shah Shahid where I said I felt that Salman was in pain and pushing himself too hard and needed to course correct before he seriously hurts himself. Shah said wow you actually made me feel sorry for Salman. But it’s blazingly obvious from the outside that something isn’t right. I am definitely seeing this one since I’m going to talk about it again but eek.


    • It’s really interesting in this one because Anil Kapoor is 9 years older than him, but moves so much more easily. He’s kept himself healthy through moderate exercise and eating well and so on, and he looks like the 60 year old man he is, but he doesn’t look unhealthy, you know? Bobby and Salman, they take their shirts off and show off their bodies and all of that, but they don’t move as easily as Anil. And their dyed black hair doesn’t look as good as his natural grey. And so on and so on.

      On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 10:33 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. I don’t want to go Into the disease and its impact and all that.
    But maybe he knows that whatever he makes and releases on wid it will be lapped up by his crazy fans.
    Heck it made 29 cr in India in week 1 so does anyone care about story/logic etc.
    Salman has become critic proof. Bottom line is making money which he is doing everything else can go for a toss.


    • I’ll get into the box office once I have final figures on Monday or Tuesday, I’m interested in it as well.

      Especially because it is not true that everything he makes will be lapped up, his last Eid release (Tubelight) was record breakingly bad in terms of box office. So, what made the difference between that one and this one? I’ll have to think about it more, but it’s an interesting question.


        • Except Bajrangi Bhaijaan was outside of his “Bhai” persona as well, and so was Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. I think you are right though, just that there are a few more layers to it. The fanboys will turn out for any “Bhai” type movie. And the rest of the audience will turn out for anything sincerely high quality. Tubelight fell betwixt and between, not a “Bhai” movie, but also not a good movie like PRDP or Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

          This movie is doing better than just fanboy success though. At my theater, it was full families turning out. Combination of Eid, the promise of a big silly fun film for the first time in a few weeks, maybe something else, I don’t know. Again, I’ll have to think on it.

          On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 11:05 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. Bajrangi bhaijaan had cute little girl to fall back on. Also it was overall good movie made.
    Prdp it had suraj+ salman and songs were super hit.
    Also both had Bhai persona In them simpleton at heart who is ready to go to any length for good.
    Also a macho ott personality basically a man child type.
    Tubelight he tried to break the mould but overall the package didn’t connect with the people as they couldn’t see this side of salman who is tubelight and can’t save himself.


  4. Pingback: Race 3 Review (No Spoilers): I am Sincerely Worried About Salman Khan — dontcallitbollywood – Business Startup-Bay Area

  5. He only developed the TGN during Partner, so that’s more like ten years than twenty. And it was supposed to have been corrected by surgery back in 2011. But yes, he has a brain aneurysm, and also another problem, I forget the exact medical term, but some kind of twisting of nerves and blood vessels that is too complex for surgery even to be attempted. Same with the aneurysm, because of its position in his brain, they can’t try surgery. The thing is that when all these problems were diagnosed (just before Bodyguard was released), and after the TGN surgery, he was strictly advised not to do his usual exercise regimen (hence why he has not been in the kind of fit shape he was in before) and also not to do most of the stunts required for action movies (hence why he’s using a body double now), but as Salman himself says, the audience just sees what’s on screen, and you can’t keep putting footnotes for them about which medical problem caused which compromise. Given all these problems, I don’t know why he thinks his fans will only appreciate him in action roles.

    I was waiting for your review since last night, since you said you were going, and I already saw lots of angry reviews from fans. Someone else also mentioned that his medical problems have worsened recently, but since I didn’t see any news items about that, I’m afraid I dismissed that as just excuse making. Now with your review, though, that seems genuine. I think we were all aware it would be a terrible movie going in, but I am sorry that your big takeaway from it is concern about his health.


    • The glimpses of his real, not CGI or body double, body that we get occasionally look like what you see in aging football players or body builders. Which matches what you are saying, he can’t do his regular routine but I am not sure if he is replacing that with anything. I don’t know that he is drastically changing his diet and looking at lower impact ways of exercising and so on and so forth. Just like professional athletes who have had so many years of living one way that any other way seems impossible. Just the pure bulk of his body, the muscles that are still there, must be a major stress on his conditions to carry it around.

      On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 1:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • He is doing more cardio based stuff now rather than weightlifting, which is good for his overall fitness, but won’t help with muscle definition, which is what he previously specialized in. The cardio would reduce the stress of carrying his bulk, as you put it.

        On an entirely different note, I’m really tired of all the men in Indian cinema (it has infected the Southern actors, too) having exactly the same kind of body — and all artificial, by which I mean, yes, it is influenced by supplements, but also that it is so clearly the product of a gym routine, rather than a generally active lifestyle. Remember you were saying somewhere that all the new actresses now seem to look alike, since all getting the same kind of plastic surgery done? So the same kind of thing is happening with men with their bodies.


        • That was really noticeable to me with Bobby Deol. The Deol men have such great natural bodies, and that’s what Bobby used to have, and now it just looks like everyone else’s. Even Aamir in Dangal, there was this big deal about him getting the good body for the flashback scenes, but that’s not a wrestler’s body, it’s just another super muscular gym body.

          On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 2:32 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  6. Wow I had no idea he had all these medical issues – but all of that is not an excuse to go meddle into departments he has no clue about – like the lyrics. The song he wrote has been mercilessly trolled for days now. Also, what I don’t like about him is his smugness. He feels he’s a know-it-all about film making, when he clearly isn’t. Stick to what you’re good at.
    Also while the opening weekend was huge, people are expecting it to crash once the weekday hits.


    • that’s what happened with Sultan. Decent opening on the holiday, and then rapid decline. Not super dramatic or noteworthy, but clear that there was a holiday bump on the opening night and then the word of mouth and interest as time went on just wasn’t there.

      If Salman is in real trouble mentally (which is a big if), it could be a matter of just having poor judgement for what he wants to do, like deciding he wants to write his own lyrics and everyone just going along with it and pretending not to notice how much he is deteriorating.

      Another thing that made me think he might be in real trouble is that Salman DOES know filmmaking. Not as well as other people certainly, but if you look at his full career and what people have said about him, he had a good sense for what works and what doesn’t in a movie, how to promote it, and so on and so forth. And this film is just such a disaster, it makes me think that he was deteriorating to the same degree behind the scenes as he was onscreen. It’s happened before, Dev Anand, Manoj Kumar, out of respect for their work everyone went along with what they wanted to do even when they were clearly no longer capable.

      On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 2:25 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Yes, I totally get what you’re saying. They reach certain levels of delusion – and people around are too scared/nervous enough to break the delusion. Easier for everyone to go along with it.
        Btw the plot outline doesn’t look bad like you said in your No Spoilers review. Just Salman’s sense of casting is terrible.


        • Casting, and also choosing the director. A really skilled director could have pulled out better performances and juggled the storylines in a way that made sense. But in this film, it’s just not there.

          On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 3:52 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

        • I just saw a post at another forum saying that Salman didn’t “hand pick” the cast, and in fact various A listers were supposed to do the different male roles, but for various reasons, all of them ended up either dropping out or the negotiations fizzled out. So then, with the film about to go on the floors, Salman called in his friends and acquaintances. I don’t know how true it may be, but that’s an interesting thought. Still, of course, he made the decision to call on these particular people to fill in the lurch, and maybe the deciding factor was that they could all be available at a moment’s notice.


          • That goes back to what I was talking about with someone else, it was the producers who made some of these bad decisions. Like trying to make a movie called “Race” without involved Abbas-Mustan, and then casting Salman in it knowing that Salman would be a bad fit for the kind of film that the title “Race” would promise the audience. Sounds like they also failed in finding and confirming a cast in a reasonable amount of time.

            On Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 6:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I haven’t understood Salman’s decisions for a while though, like what was he thinking when he decided to make (remake) Hero? At that point, it looked like he just had a lot of money that he wanted to throw away!


        • Yeah, I have no answer for that! I understand he wanted to help launch a couple of kids he liked, but beyond that I have no idea what he was thinking.

          On Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 1:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  7. Do you think court cases taking a toll on his mental health? Salman removed all the original race usp and created another bhai movie.
    Race known for sex drug booze Abbas mastan double cross suspense music etc. It all this went missing in this.
    He could have named it anything there was no need to destroy a framchise


    • I do. Or rather, I think the stress of the court cases probably worsened his existing physical problems, and those caused further mental deterioration.
      I don’t know that Salman was the one who forced the Race tag on it. I vaguely have the impression that the producers really wanted to call it Race, and also really wanted Salman. And at that point, Salman was the one who forced them to change the whole film around. I don’t know if it’s that big of a difference, just that Salman agreed to a film and stated his conditions, but it was someone else’s idea to do the film in the first place, with Salman and without Abbas-Mustan and this is the inevitable result.


  8. It was obvious this movie will be bad, but I didn’t expect that Salman will but so out of shape and now I’m sad. Why he is working so much? Shahrukh and Aamir are doing one movie a year now, and Salman has released 3 in last 12 months (2 of them action movies).


    • That’s another thing that makes me worried about his health. If he knows he is going down fast, now would be the time to release as many films as possible while he can still work to support his family when he can’t. I’m not seeing the kind of longterm planning and slow growth that Aamir and Shahrukh are still working with, possibly because Salman knows he is running out of time one way or the other (either illness, or the court case, or something else).

      On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 4:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • True, but doesn’t he have any businesses, other source of income? Even less popular actors have their restaurants, shops, production houses etc so I’m sure he either.


        • He has his Being Human stores and clothing line and so on and so forth. And stage shows. And I know he lives comparatively cheaply. But he’s been mostly building Being Human (I think, although I could be wrong) in recent years, instead of his production house or anything like that. Oh, and he just announced that new batch of movie theaters that he says he is building, but that’s kind of short term too, he just needs to build the things.

          I mean, if he was thinking straight he would just focus on tying down all his current assets in such a way as to get maximum money from them and I am sure it would be more than enough for the future of his family. But instead he seems to be just taking big pay outs and working hard right now.

          On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 4:21 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Salman doesn’t manage his money; he never has. Instead, the earnings from all three sons (ha ha) go into a pool which is managed by Salim Khan. I believe they have some property, both in India and possibly Dubai, but the only “businesses” I am aware of are the various family owned film production houses, and the celebrity cricket team that Sohail wanted.

            Maybe you meant to say that Salman lives “modestly” instead of “cheaply.” I don’t think he skimps on anyone, his staff or his family, though it’s true his family members live more lavishly than he does.


          • He doesn’t own the Being Human stores or the clothing line. He only gets 3% or 4% of the profits for lending them the name. He claims that money goes into charity so it’s not money he can use for his family anyway.

            But regardless of whatever other businesses he might have, he is earning plenty of money from movies. I’m sure a decent accountant can invest it well and they can all live easily off the interest. It’s not like the others don’t work btw. For example, Maliaka Arora earns a couple of crores a year just from making appearances. How much money do you even need after a point?

            I’ve always wondered what actually keeps Salman going. It’s not exactly passion for art or some future vision he has of the film industry. He wouldn’t be doing one masala film after another if there was greater ambition there. He doesn’t have a wife or kids that he just wants to earn a lot for their future. I don’t even hear of him going on extravagant vacations or spending on toys. He lives in a one bedroom apartment.

            In spite of very few responsibilities, he churns on and on at a rapid pace doing one movie after another. I heard an interview recently where he mentioned that he will start working like the 90s again doing double shifts and doing two movies at the same time from now on. It’s baffling.


          • Maybe there’s something we just don’t know about. Maybe Salim invested all the family money in a pyramid scheme? Or Malaika is draining them dry in a divorce? I find the first more believable than the second, but anyway something could be happening that we don’t know about because it certainly feels like Salman is desperate to make money as fast as possible.


  9. One caveat TGM doesn’t often make people suicidal. It’s bad but not that bad. I did notice how bad he looks in real life. I am not a fan! But I’m sorry he’s so sick.


    • You got me curious so I looked up more info. Looks like the last suicide study was over a 100 years ago before there were the treatment options there are now, so hopefully the rate is lower.

      More sad/interesting/possibly relevant is that it often comes together with MS. Which makes me wonder if that is the mysterious reason that Salman seems just so sick right now, if perhaps he is having MS episodes.


      • TGN can also be triggered by dental work, and the place where Salman has it is a key point in terms of the jaw joint and the nerve centers that are connected to it, and I believe he actually said at the time he announced it that it was probably triggered by dental work (I have a friend who got shingles in his eyes a couple of years ago, and that triggered TGN in his eyes. Very painful and he couldn’t tolerate bright lights for many months, which was a bummer because his job was basically looking at slides through microscopes for ten hours a day).


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