I am comfortable being Salman Khan
It was a long wait until we got to spend some time with the man but once he’s with you, he’s all yours. You can’t help but be charmed by his notorious smile, mischievous laughter and intent yet well-timed pauses. He’s brazen yet loveable, naughty yet adorable, larger than life and yet so relatable. He is Salman Khan.
In a freewheeling chat over his much needed coffee, he talks his heart out about anything and everything you ask him, laughs his lungs out on his own one-liners and before you know it, you’re talking about random stuff that you realise can’t even be published. Read on to know what got through those filters.
It’s that time of the year when we have another Salman Khan film ready for release. Feeling lucky again, this Eid?
I think Christmas has been the luckiest for me. (Maine Pyaar Kiya released then). Eid, Diwali and any festive season is lucky for everyone. These are nice dates to come in; mainly anytime when there is a holiday.
You’ve blocked the next two Eid’s too. Right?
I am not blocking anything. Shah Rukh is (laughs). The way it has been going for me, once I finish my current film, Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, I will start Sultan. By the time I finish, it’ll be Eid again. So why would I release it after or before Eid and not take the advantage of Eid? It’s more because people have holidays and families can go and watch the film. They are nice movies, they are big movies and deserve to be watched. A lot of my films have released on non – festive days like Karan Arjun and Ready.
Sohail (Khan) and Arbaaz (Khan) already have production houses which are doing well. Why the decision to launch SKF (Salman Khan Films) then?
I was acting all these years. I did three shifts a day and didn’t have the time to look into other things. I have eased it out only recently. Now that we have our own home production, we need to have one on the floor all the time. What we have done, foolishly enough, for the longest time, is that none of us have our own IPR’s. Aamir and Shah Rukh have some now too. We have negatives of all the Dabanggs, Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, Hello Brother etc. but for the rest of our films, we have no control over the music or anything.
What made you, as in SKF, decide to produce Bajrangi Bhaijaan?
The script. It is fabulous. Our actual first home production was Chillar Party. It was by Being Human. This one is… what’s it called? SKV or SKF? (asks his staff)
I am really involved in it guys! SKF’s first production actually was Hero, which was supposed to release earlier but Bajrangi Bhaijaan came first. All these come under Salman Khan Ventures, though.
Tell us about Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo. You’re doing a Barjatya film after a long gap.
When I first heard Sooraj’s film, I was blown. I told Sooraj that this would be huge. I thought that the era of playing soft – hearted characters was gone but I realized that, that time never goes. People need to see that side in me, I need to see that side in me. When we started shooting the film, I knew this was big!! The action image is large but this image is much greater. It is a very noble image. When you come out of the theater you don’t just want to wear the clothes he wears or say his dialogues or go practice some kicks; you want to be him. You want to do what he does. I want to do what he does and every time I play a character I want to be him. I bring it home; the good parts, of course.
It must have been like homecoming for you in Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo.
Honestly, I had moved on to comedies like Hello Brother and action films like Wanted, Dabangg and Kick. Going back to Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo was, in fact, difficult for me. But Sooraj was there. I just had to look at him and Prem comes back.
Did you find Prem during the course of the film?
On the first day! Finding love may be a problem but finding Prem is not.
Dharam ji said in an interview that if ever a biopic was made on him, he would want you to play him.
(smiles notoriously) He can see a lot of similarities between us, I know.
Who do you think can play you in your biopic, if ever?
(the smile gets wider) I think Dharam ji. (laughs uncontrollably) He’ll add a certain color to it but Dharam ji doesn’t have the dates. I am his biggest fan but on a serious note, my biopic? No chance. My life is beautiful and that’s why – No!
What kind of preparation are you doing for Sultan where you play a wrestler?
Sultan is going to be a stressful film. I start shooting in November. I have to be very strong for that. It won’t be just about the body. It won’t necessarily mean that he has a ripped body or six packs but the strength will show.
Any updates on Kick 2, Bodyguard 2 and Dabangg 3?
I don’t know about Bodyguard 2 but I am doing Atul’s next film. Dabangg 3 will happen. I am also working with Sajid on his next but I am not sure if it will be Kick 2.
What about Aanand Rai’s next film?
(agitated) Who said I am doing his film? Aanand Rai himself? A lot of people narrate scripts to me but I haven’t seen anyone go out and announce that ‘maine Salman Khan ko film sunaai’. And how would I refuse when I never said yes?
How easy or difficult is it to be Salman Khan?
In times like this it is. I don’t think myself to be like that. I am born like this. I live this life every single day so I don’t know what it is to be any other.
What do you enjoy the most; being actor, being producer, being singer or being human?
Being me! I am comfortable being Salman Khan. You know, our stars are very large. It is not what we do on screen but the reaction that comes from the audience that makes you larger than life. Our audiences make us and that is a connect that comes from the first film and slowly builds up. There is a bond between the hero and the fan and they feel ‘ki apna hi aadmi hai’. That apnapan is there. Anyone who has that apnapan, who has taken his time and not jumped the gun, will have a following.
You have moved on to doing more action films off late. Do you miss your days of playing the romantic, boy next door?
When we came in, we all looked like boys. The heroes before us, looked like men. The next lot that came in, looked like young men, like Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff and Sanjay Dutt. We could not play inspectors, lawyers or mohalle ke dadas or bash up people. We had to do romantic films in those days. It has taken us a good twenty years to do these kind of films. You can’t enter the industry and want to do films like this. It’s like sending a boy to do a man’s job. If I had done action films earlier on, they would have compared and said, ‘yeh dekho, Bachchan banne ki koshish kar raha hai.’