At a suburban studio; between takes, Salman Khan sits outside his vanity van, surrounded by his in-house doctor, some members of the cine artistes association and his own team. Bhai, as he is fondly referred to by most people, is organising an eye-camp for the less privileged in Bollywood. Once he has wrapped that, he takes a short break to talk to TOI. Excerpts:
How is your health now?
I’m fit. Thank you for asking.
Your screen chemistry with Katrina has improved since in Yuvvraaj (2008)…
Oh, is that so! Katrina is a big star now. She has grown in stature. She seeks perfection in everything she does. She practises her dance numbers for two and three days relentlessly. For someone who couldn’t speak a sentence in Hindi, she now says her Hindi dialogue almost as well as any of us.
Remember the time during Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, when you were her Hindi coach!
Yes I do. She has definitely come a long way since then…
In the movie, she has a dialogue where she tells you – aap ki shaadi ki umar ho gayi hai. Do you have a befitting reply to that?
Well, that’s a dialogue and it is not to be taken seriously. Honestly, I don’t think even Katrina meant it seriously.
Two decades into the business and the Khan-trio is still ruling the roost…
Kya boloon. It’s destiny. I’m grateful to Sooraj Barjatya for Maine Pyar Kiya and so many others who believed in me. I guess all three of us (Aamir, Shah Rukh and I) have been lucky. Sometimes we got good scripts that turned out to be even better films. And at other times, our very ordinary films have done wonders at the box office. But above all, we have God’s blessings and have managed a faithful fan following.
Who according to you is the biggest Khan? Aamir, Shah Rukh or you?
Next. This question doesn’t interest me.
Are you doing Sooraj Barjatya’s next film?
He has narrated a script to me. But I’m starting my younger brother Sohail’s film next. Actually when I heard Sohail’s script, my immediate reaction was ‘wow.’ If a script doesn’t do that to me; I’m not even going to attempt a film anymore.
So how does this wow thing happen?
Bante bante ban jata hai. A script may be just adequate in the first draft. It becomes extraordinary with a few good dialogues; some good emotions; a great music track; some fantastic action. A lot of small things go into making the big picture. What is first put on paper has to be garnished. The garnishing happens with constant thought, a lot of emotion and a deep understanding of the medium. Having said that, I’m the first one to admit that despite everything we do, sometimes we actors go horribly wrong with our choice of movies. After all, we are just human.
The box office expectation from your latest film is so humungous that no other filmmaker wishes to release his film around that time!
Well, it should be. It’s the coming together of two big brands — Salman Khan and Yash Chopra. So naturally the expectations are bound to be high. But that is not something I orchestrated. It is something that the trade is expecting. I only set out to make a good film. On second thoughts, our industry needs more money yaar. Now the government has decided to burden us with a 12.5 per cent service tax! It’s crazy the way this business functions.
Will the Bodyguard figures be toppled this August?
Actors don’t do movies to break records. The idea is always to make a film with utmost sincerity. Records get made and broken because of statistics. The numbers of theatres that play Bollywood movies globally have increased; the release of films is now very wide. Naturally the returns have increased. Frankly from now on, I want all films to start crossing the 200 cr mark. I was sitting with some members of the junior artistes association today and I was sad to hear that many junior artistes and technicians in the industry still don’t have money to pay for their medical needs and basic amenities. I hope all our movies make enough to at least provide these guys with a decent livelihood.
Agreed. But do you think that the monies should be chanelised better?
I was sitting with some members of the junior artistes association today and I was sad to hear that many junior artistes and technicians in the industry still don’t have money to pay for their medical needs and basic amenities. I hope all our movies make enough to at least provide these guys with a decent livelihood. I feel sad every time I hear a hard-luck story.