Salman Khan may have been missing in action in 2013, what with brother Sohail Khan’s film Jai Ho being pushed inordinately due to some delays in the shooting schedule caused by the fighters’ association strike. But with the film ready for release next week, things are likely to change. It helped that his angelic and devilish avatar in Bigg Boss kept his fans and television viewers happy.
But with Jai Ho being the first big ticket release of 2014, coupled with the long hiatus, expectations are predictably high.
In true Salman style, the promotions for the film were kick-started from his favourite abode-Mehboob Studio with a flurry of activities around him. Yet again, Khan after a couple of hours of TV shows emerges, yawning after a television interview. There is a short time-out when he speaks with newbie Daisy Shah, the heroine of his film and director Sohail Khan before resuming the Q&A session with trademark nonchalance. Turned out in a pair of denims and checked shirt, he seems visibly relaxed, a far cry from earlier times when he was under duress due to his health issues.
Quiz him if playing a social activist, as has been widely reported, is a first of sorts and he says, “Everyone is so bogged down by the situation around and then you see the hero go through it and come out of it. It is that kind of a film, which come with an energy booster; those are the sort of movies that I want to do. This is not a film about a revolt or an andolan, it’s about each man standing up for himself. It’s a personal vendetta. When a corrupt minister gets involved with you, it is difficult to withstand the pressure. The hero has to protect his family and he feels that this must stop. Luckily in the film, there is a good politician too and the good comes around.”
Of the prospects of his film, he characteristically gets philosophical, admitting that if the film is good, it will find enough and more takers as people have started going back to theatres as a family outing.
But the talk-of-the-town this season seems to be his new find Shah, who was one of the dancers in one of his past films. It was with no small sense of surprise that the industry had woken up to news of an unknown young girl without a supermodel background (although she has dabbled in a wee bit of modelling) or filmi lineage land the part in a film opposite Khan. Though of course, it is not the first instance when he’s played Pygmalion. Katrina Kaif and Sonakshi Sinha are some of the notable actresses, who received Khan’s acting patronage and have gone on to perform wonders in their films. There is talk of Elli Avram, a Bigg Boss contestant, being taken under his wings too, but Shah is a big experiment. “We have worked with her and found her to be very confident and talented. She is also from the film industry, but from that side of the industry which is not so glamorous. From being a junior artiste, she climbed up. My mother was a dancer, Helen aunty was a dancer so I hold Daisy and the dancers in our films in very high regard. She’s there in the film, so it’s obvious that a lot of hard work has been put in.”
Among her strong points, he mentions is that she’s not conscious of facing the camera. “If this girl makes it big, she’ll be the first after Mumtazji to make it, from being a dancer to the big league. If not, then girls like her from the unglamorous part of the industry will find it very hard to find people who will give them big opportunities,” avers Khan.
Does he, as someone who has a yen for spotting talent believe in the ‘X’ factor, that intangible ephemeral quality that marks a star from the wannabe?
“You can see it. When a person walks into the room, people should be gazing at him/her. For everybody who comes up to tell me that they want to work with me, I have missed seeing that spark. Which is not to say that they can’t make it. But only some people have it inborn. Sanjay (Dutt) and Sunny (Deol) had it. I had to work on it.”
Given Khan’s good-looks and on-screen charisma that earmarked him for bigger things that’s a startling admission, but a point he underscores by adding, “My films especially Maine Pyar Kiya did most of that work for me.”
Moving on to his other pet subject — Being Human Productions and charity, we inquire about the announcement of his next film reportedly being directed by Kabir Khan under the banner, but all he’s willing to let slip is, “When we have a subject that is nice, sweet and emotional, we will produce it and whatever comes from it, we will put it back in charity. We owe our fans so much.”
His take on the roaring success of Being Human initiatives is pretty simple — on the last count a new store has opened its shutters in Indore — start small and keep the business model sustainable. Another important aspect he insists, is to keep the clothes smart and good quality. “You will buy something only if you like it,” he explains simply.
As for an end to his Bigg Boss outing, he says he doesn’t know yet. On an earlier occasion, he had suggested that there should be a show for losers, which allowed even the mediocre a chance to win; I remind him of it and he laughs, explaining, “I am trying to work on another show which is not a borrowed format, which I will have the patent for.”
Surely, his fans can hardly wait to watch Khan in a television show that reflects his inimitable style. Till then it would have to be Jai Ho.
Salman Khan to launch a web channel
So, while Khan has gathered a following of 20 million on social media, there’s more news coming from Salman Khan on that front. With a mischievous and conspiratorial air he hesitantly divulges that he is all geared to launch a web channel, which will discuss/feature small doses of eye-opening facts about myriad issues. Now, after the runaway success of Being Human clothesline and his unmatched popularity, expect Khan to be the game-changer on worldwide web too!