Much before Tiger Shroff played a Baaghi in 2016, and even before Sanjay Dutt played the Baaghi in 2000, Salman Khan was the original Baaghi way back in 1990. It was the initial years of his career, and the idea germinated from him. The movie was about a wayward son, who gains purpose after falling in love, and how he rebels for a cause.
Salman had just started out, and was full of energy. Even his choice of movies, be it Patthar ke Phool or Love, Saajan or Suryavanshi, was character-driven and focussed on the story and script. It was never about him, it was about telling a different story each time.
In such an endeavour, Baaghi was like breath of fresh air. Here was Saajan Sood, not burdened by his father’s business legacy or grief-stricken childhood or someone who had to sell his soul in exchange for something; none of that drama. On the contrary, his father, Colonel Sood, played by Kiran Kumar, isn’t happy that his capable son isn’t joining the army and is totally undisciplined with no goal to chase. Meanwhile, Saajan has a chance meeting with Kaajal, played by Nagma in her debut feature. It’s love at first sight for him and his eyes keep searching for her.
But the second time he meets her, it’s in a shady brothel. Never had he imagined that the sweet innocent girl would turn out to be victim of a body-scavenging racket and forced into prostitution. And this is where he turns a rebel. The unassuming nature of Saajan, his shy smile and iron fist, made for an interesting watch. It was like Salman was preparing to play Radhe and Tiger, from back then. In the movie, it didn’t look like Saajan had a chance against Dhanraj and Jaggu, played by Shakti Kapoor and Mohnish Bahl, respectively. His angry young man look also came as a surprise to his female fans, who had only seen him as a chocolate boy in Maine Pyar Kiya, which had been released the previous year.
In fact, at some level, Baaghi paved the way for Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak, which is on similar lines. Sanjay Dutt, with his fitness and build, took it a notch further. But in the romance quotient, Baaghi trumps Sadak. Salman did not have the ripping muscles, it was not a requirement back then. But he had enough power in his eyes and the noble intention was felt through his body language. Playing a virtuous lover, modest in his manners, and a complete greenhorn, to transforming into a baaghi with all grit and determination was made believable because of good direction by Deepak Shivdasani. The way Saajan takes on the world, without any style, but deft inner strength and with the help of his friends was a departure from the past where heroes would go all alone in their mission.
Salman was choosy about his roles and he took risks early on in his career. There was no genre that he stuck to. Also, his natural boyish charm stayed and stuck on for so long that he still cashes in on it. What he added to his repertoire was the six-pack and the shirtless look. After that, he has never had to look back. But it all started here, with Baaghi, his first action hero role.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.