Eid Mubarak! The big brother of Bollywood, Salman Khan in an exclusive chat

Salman Khan is busier than ever — not just in films as an ever-bankable actor, but also as a host on TV, and in his new role as a film distributor.   

author_img Shaheen Raaj Published :  15th June 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  15th June 2018 06:00 AM
Salman khan movies

Salman Khan

Salman Khan’s persona remains larger-than-life when compared to his stardom on the screen, big or small. A section of the paparazzi still believes that he operates like an open book, while most others believe he is a media delight, as he doesn’t mince his words while talking to them. Sallu Bhai, now 52-years-old, has come a long way from his debut as a teenager in Biwi Ho Toh Aisi, to the macho commercial action hero of Tiger Zinda Hai.

Along the way, he has faced many upheavals on both personal and professional fronts. He has even put the infamous black buck poaching case behind him, and is now regaling audiences on the small screen, with his new show, 10 Ka Dum. That apart, he’s also aggressively promoting his upcoming film, Race 3, besides donning the added role of a distributor. The actor sat down for a freewheeling conversation with Indulge, about his current work and future plans.

To begin, how come you were not a part of the first two films — Race and Race 2?
Simply because when Race and Race 2 were being made, I happened to be busy with my prior commitments to other films. Ramesh Taurani of Tips Films was really keen to do both the films with me. When he offered me Race 3, I readily agreed to do the film, but with a condition that Remo D’Souza would helm the project. Besides that, I also wanted to produce the film along with Tips Films in lieu of my home production banner Salman Khan Films. There is no particular reason why I wanted Remo to direct the film, and I don’t have any issues with the director duo Abbas-Mustan. I just go by my instinct and I really felt that Remo was the right choice to direct Race 3.
And now, you have also donned a new role as a distributor with Race 3. How come?  
Earlier on, Eros Entertainment had agreed to distribute Race 3. We waited a long time for them to officially come on board to distribute Race 3. But they backed out at the last moment, citing their own reasons. So, after having a discussion with Ramesh Taurani, I decided to step in as a distributor.
Saif Ali Khan was a part of Race and Race 2, but he backed out of Race 3 once you stepped in. How come?
Come on man! Are you trying to say that Saif opted out of Race 3 because of me? No way man! He must have opted out of Race 3 for some valid reasons of his own. On the other hand, I wish to clear the air by stating that I share a very good rapport with all my contemporary male actors. And even the newbie actors too.
So, what attracted you to do Race 3?
As everyone is aware, Race and Race 2 were thrillers bordering on murder mysteries, and that was also one of the reasons that I did not want to be a part of both those movies. But Race 3 is an out-and-out commercially oriented action movie with a larger-than-life role for me. Yes, it still has its own share of thrills and frills, the revenge drama, the twists and the turns, and the music is also rocking. In fact, it is typical ‘Bollywood-ian masala’ entertainment, which is liked so much by the Hindi film audiences, and especially by my die-hard fans. “Aur kuch mat poochna story ke baare mein, baaki ki picture sunhare parde pe hi dekhna!” (Don’t ask me anything else about the story, you can see the rest of 
the film on the silver screen).

Sure! But could you share your thoughts on director Remo D’Souza, your co-stars Anil Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Bobby Deol, Daisy Shah, and Saqib Saleem?
Remo D’Souza is a brilliant and intelligent, albeit calculative and manipulative director in the sense that “Woh har ek shot dene ke liye actor ko convince kar leta hai” (He always convinces all the actors to 
deliver the shots the way he wants them.) “Uski shot taking bhi gazab ki hai” (The way he frames his shots is excellent.) I found Remo to be the kind of director who did not need any guidance from me, which many call my ‘directorial interference’. Needless to add that Anil Kapoor is a terrific actor. Our comic and action timings matched perfectly. It was a real pleasure to share screen space with him. What can I say about Jacqueline — I had real fun acting with her on the sets! Her growth as an actress must reallybe seen to be believed. She is a real director’s actress. Whereas Bobby Deol is very sincere and hard-working. He actually calls me Mamu (uncle) and seeks my advice most of the time. Daisy Shah is also very talented. Just watch out for her! Last but not the least is Saqib Saleem. He is good. I found his
grasping and observing power to be very sharp. He is a good learner.

You have also created your own niche in the small-screen arena, with reality shows like Bigg Boss and now, 10 Ka Dum. So, would you like to do a show a la Anil Kapoor’s 24?
Not really! I am quite happy with my own space in the small-screen arena.
Any directorial aspirations?
In the initial stages, and before I made my debut as an actor, my father wanted me to be a director, so he sent me to Shashilal Nair to assist him when he was directing Falak (1988) starring Jackie Shroff. But as far as direction is concerned, once again, my answer is a big no! At least not in the near future. Right now, I am too busy with my acting commitments. But yes, I am game to work with Aamir Khan, if he is ready to direct a film with me... 

Aamir once said that he will tie your hands and feet to get you married. What do you say?
Yes, even I read about it somewhere that Aamir wants me to get married, and is even ready to tie my hands and feet. Well!  In response, I can only say that I have also decided to tie his hands and feet, and see to it that he does not get married a third time.     
What are your future projects?
Once again, I will be doing a film with Sohail Khan which is titled Sher Khan. Then, Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick 2. I am also set to do a film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a long time after our last outing with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Then there are films like Bharat, Dabangg 3, and another dancing film with Remo.

You are also set for the sequel of Partner to be made by Sohail Khan!
Maybe, but nothing is concrete as yet on that front.

Most people are of the opinion that you always play to the gallery both on the big screen and the small screen as well. Do you agree?
I totally agree. Basically, we actors are nothing but entertainers. We are duty-bound to give our audiences their hard-earned money’s worth. I really felt bad when they were depressed with my tearjerker Tubelight in the last Ramzan Eid period. I am sure they will be very happy this Ramzan Eid when they watch Race 3. Whenever I face the camera, I instantly feel that emotional connect with them, and I immediately put on my charm and start playing to the gallery.    
Does fan loyalty matter a lot to you?  
Yes, it does. You see, the most amazing thing about Baahubali’s success was that the Hindi audiences is so accepting. They made a Telugu film so large, even though they do not know too many Southern heroes apart from a few of them. But the Southern audiences know us well. Yet, our films do not do that volume of business because their fans have an extraordinary sense of loyalty to their actors. In the South, the fan following is very strong — if there is a Kamal Haasan fan, he will be a Kamal fan forever; a Rajinikanth fan will be a Rajinikanth fan for life. Moreover, we have piracy here. One should try piracy there (in the South), where the fan clubs won’t even allow it. Whether a politician or the underworld does it, they don’t give a damn; they will fight it. Here, even industry folks watch other actors’ pirated movies at home. Yes! Hats off to the Hindi audiences. They love movies, and they do go and watch English, Chinese and Southern films. Yet a Salman Khan fan will also watch an Aamir Khan 
film and a Shah Rukh Khan film too. And, if the film is good, they will appreciate it.
You have been in the industry for almost three decades. Do you feel settled now or does competition keep you on your toes?
I keep myself on the toes all the time. It is not about competition, it is about you competing with yourself. Even when you talk about collections, it is your own, and has nothing to do with anybody else. I believe one should never put anyone else down, but try and raise their own level. Once you do that, others will also raise their own levels. Some people put others down, with negative publicity. 
I do not feel the need to do that. I have learned this from my seniors.
What is the latest on your bucket list?
Let’s see, I am “dying” to work with Aamir for the longest time and would love to do Andaz Apna Apna sequel with him.
Lastly, how do you feel about being labeled as the “Messiah” of Bollywood?
Why do people have to bracket me for everything I do? Not Messiah, please! Somebody gave me a break, so I am doing this. It’s also because my upbringing was proper. There’s no insecurity or jealousy. I like people to be successful and have a great future. Besides, I love working with new directors, new actresses, new actors, and new technicians. In the process, if they get a push in their career, that’s really good!