It's been over 25 years since his breakthrough role in 1989 blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya and while the saccharine-voiced Bhagyashree has since been replaced with a string of Bollywood leading ladies, Salman's Prem affair remains stronger than Wolverine's adamantium.
As a birthday gift for Salman, now 50, we revisit the 15 times he's played Prem, from MPK to this year's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. (Also Read: Salman Khan's Prem Ratan Dhan Payo Makes a 200 Cr Hat-Trick)
1. Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)
Ek ladka aur ek ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte, said Jeevan (Mohnish Behl) and a few moments into the scene, his prediction comes true. The film was cliched and fantastic and no, there is no other way of describing it. This this hugely popular love story of Prem Choudhary (Salman) and Suman (Bhagyashree), featured a disapproving father, a messenger pigeon, a curly-haired vamp and appropriately evil villains. The first of the many Prems, Maine Pyar Kiya's Prem was a cute, well-mannered loverboy who showed Romeos everywhere how it's really done.
2. Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)
Salman's fixation with the name can be partly explained by his association with Rajshri's love for the name (Shahid. Hrithik. Abhishek). Hum Aapke Hain Koun broke records left, right and centre. And there was no looking back for Salman, now a legit superstar. The naughty Prem and one-liner queen Nisha created magic on-screen and their dialogues, clothes, songs, and dance steps were all the rage back then. 21 years down the line, things haven't really changed much and HAHK is still the go-to film for many.
3. Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
This Prem was unlike any other Prem played by Salman. If MPK and HAHK cemented his image as the adorable lover-boy, Andaz Apna Apna made everyone bow to his comic talent. This movie wasn't a box-office hit, but most things that come before their time gain recognition much later. Amar-Prem re-wrote history when they gave us a film with two heroes who had nothing heroic about the them. AAA's Prem Bhopali was gullible, easily tricked by Aamir's Amar; and that was okay because we loved him still. Prem humesha amar rahe!
4. Judwaa (1997)
The film that gave us two Salmans at once - the petty thief Raja and his rich singer twin Prem Malhotra. The two were separated at birth but there were two things bound them together - their faces, of course, and the fact that what happened to one twin, also happened to the other, distance be damned. So if Raja got punched, Prem doubled up in pain. The movie had songs to die for, excellent comic timing by Karishma Kapoor and Anupam Kher and, of course, the brilliance that is Salman Khan in this double role. A must watch for those who are in dire need of a pick-me-up.
5. Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999)
The story of the family that had stayed together, ate together, vacationed together, and sang and danced together. HSSH's Prem barely spoke but everybody understood what he was trying to say anyway. Prem was the ideal brother, fiance, brother-in-law and son and if you've seen the film, you'll know it's hard to imagine anybody else playing the role but Salman.
6. Deewana Mastana (1997)
The lead heroes of the film - Anil Kapoor and Govinda - fall in love with the beautiful Juhi Chawla. They befriend her, wooing her in turns - only, she does not reciprocate the way they want her to. We do not get to see Salman Khan till the very end when Juhi introduces him as Prem Kumar, the man she is in love with and wants to marry. He may not have been the hero of the film, but he's the one who gets the girl in the end.
7. Partner (2007)
One can only hope to describe the beauty that is Salman Khan and Govinda together in a film. Salman plays a love guru in his home production who has the uphill task of training Govinda as a potential love interest for Katrina Kaif. In this remake of the Hollywood film Hitch, Prem helps Bhaskar get his girl while also doing some crime-fighting on the side for the girl he is in love with. The Prem we see in this film is suave, arrogant and beats up goons like they are ragdolls.
8. Biwi No 1 (1999)
Salman Khan, Karishma Kapoor, Sushmita Sen, Anil Kapoor and Tabu - there film had a stellar star cast. It may not have done well on the box office but the film nonetheless gave us some amazing songs. The Prem we see in this film is caught between two women, his wife and the a supermodel who works for his company. A far cry from the Prems we had seen before, this Prem just could not make up his mind about who he liked best.
9. Chal Mere Bhai (2000)
Salman plays Sanjay Dutt's younger brother in this David Dhawan film and they are both in love with the same girl, Karishma Kapoor. Prem Oberoi is fun-loving and doesn't like working, unlike his older brother who is a workaholic. The film's climax reminds one of Hum Aapke Hain Koun but that's where the similarity ends.
10. Ready (2011)
Starring Salman Khan and southern belle Asin, the Prem we see in Ready is caustic and quick-witted. The film has more twists than a knot and Salman's Prem Kapoor is the one-man solution to everything. This Prem has come a long way from his Andaz Apna Apna days and is very street smart.
11. No Entry (2005)
Prem the casanova is married to the most gullible woman in the world (Esha Deol) who cannot see that he is cheating on her. This is perhaps the one time Prem lived up to his name a little too much and a little too often.
12. Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye (2000)
An aspiring singer, Prem Kapoor lives with his sister Kashmira Shah. He gets ditched twice by the women he loves and in the same fashion - they get hitched to rich NRI men. But Prem's prem triumphs in the end and Priya (Rani Mukerji), declares that she loves him too. KPNHJ's Prem is a broken shell of a man, wont to give in to alcohol and pretty short tempered.
13. Marigold (2007)
Directed by Willard Carroll and starring Ali Carter, this movie is about an American actress' journey to India where she meets Prem Rajput (Salman) and falls in love with him. A dance instructor, the Prem we see in this film is subdued, soft spoken and romantic.
14. Sirf Tum (1997)
Salman has a special appearance in this film, which stars Sanjay Kapoor, Priya Gill and Sushmita Sen in the lead roles. Prem is in love with Aarti (Priya Gill) but she refuses his proposal of marriage as she is in love with Sanjay. This is the Prem we saw and loved in Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun.
15. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015)
The latest from Rajshri's stable, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo stars Salman in a double role as Prem and Vijay, whose worlds and ideologies intersect, while Sonam Kapoor plays the female lead. Salman's newest film returns him to the family dramas that the Barjatyas excel in.