While many claim that Salman Khan is just a misunderstood actor, there’s absolutely no denying his incredible ownership onscreen and his unfathomable fan following. Labeled as one of the reigning Khans, he is also known as the Rajinikanth of Bollywood.
In an interview with Indian Express, Salman Khan speaks about the essence of his lead character in Kabir Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and why he chooses to do films that promote love among people from different regions and religions.
Moving away from the typical boy-loves-girl Bollywood films that we’ve all seen way too often, Salman Khan touches upon Indo-Pak relations with ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ for the second time. His first being ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, where he played a RAW agent. “Its all about love thy neighbour. There is no reason for this kind of hatred in our country or in our neighbouring countries. I think it’s a total waste and we have all been misled. In the film industry we don’t follow all these things. We think of everybody as one, as human beings. Even in court when they asked me, ‘What are you?’, I said I am Indian. My father is Muslim, my mother is Hindu and Helen aunty is catholic, so what does that make me? For political gain, or monitory gain or close mindedness, making people believe in hatred is not okay with me. If people want hatred, they should definitely not watch this film. But, if they want peace and entertainment, a noble film that respects everything and everyone, then they should watch ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’.”
Though the lead role in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ is a simple man who makes a promise to deliver a little girl safely back to her homeland, Salman Khan says there is heroism in not being the hero. “Whenever you do something you got do it much larger than life. Even if the character is small, he may be a simpleton but the backdrop that he is set against is much larger. So then, he himself becomes as large as the backdrop. If you have a strong personality like Chulbul Pandey, no matter what backdrop you give him, you know that he is going to overcome it and become larger. But, here it revolves around a man’s journey of becoming a better person. It is of a person who is growing, whose eyes are opening, who is saying nice things and doing nice things. With each step he is becoming a better human being and finding out that people are beautiful.”
With each character portrayed onscreen Salman Khan says he takes home about 80 per cent of that role, else he would not do it at all. “If the character that I’m playing is a noble character then I will try incorporate most of it into my personalty. Sometimes, our own personalities also go into the film. The characters are written on a huge and magnanimous level. So, when you perform these characters, you get impressed by them. And I’m not talking about action, but deeds. In this way, you keep building your own personality.”
He further adds, “This industry is beautiful, film as a medium is lovely. Even when I watch a film, hear the dialogues, watch the performances, see a very noble character, you end up wanting to be like that. But, it fades away. However, I try to keep it for as long as possible and that automatically become a part of me. Now, the only films I do are the ones that help me be a better person and help everyone to be better. But, that naughtiness and entertainment is not going to go away. So in my films, the romance and flirtations will be there, but the ultimate goal will be achieved with all the ‘dhamaal’ and ‘masti’.
Known to have excelled in portraying different characters onscreen including strong personalities like in ‘Dabangg’ and demure ones like in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, Salman Khan effortlessly pulled off a softie-at-heart with a tough exterior in ‘Bodyguard’. When asked if playing these heterogeneous roles come easily to him, he says, “I am capable of taking a stand, so these characters do come naturally to me. If I don’t like something, no matter the consequences, I will stand up for the right thing and fight.”
No matter the scores of fans who camp outside Galaxy Apartments in hope of catching a glimpse of their muscled hero or the young boys that ape the star right down to his famous bracelet, the women who are dreading the day that Salman Khan gets hitched, the actor remains oblivious to his stardom. “I don’t consider myself to be a superstar. At the end of the day I’m doing a job. I get good scripts, the directors are enhancing me, DOPs make me look 10 times better than I actually look. So, if you’re aware of all this, you cannot go cuckoo in the head. I see myself as someone who is lucky in this industry, getting the right films which are enhancing my personality and this is my journey.”
Child actor Harshali Malhotra had us bowled over in the trailer of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Even Kareena Kapoor declared her the real star of the film. “She is absolutely lovely,”said Salman talking about the six-year-old.
“I don’t know where they got her from, but before I met her, I thought it would be this typical filmy kid. I said till the time we don’t find the right kid, I am not going to do it. At some point, we thought if we don’t find anybody, there was Kabir’s daughter who could play the role. But we found her and I was so scared when they told me that three girls have been shortlisted. Straight away she told me, ‘Make me a superstar like you’, and I was shocked. She was a six-year-old that sounded like a 24-year-old. Later, They did some workshops with her. She would only freak out when she used to see violence and there was quite of aggression in the film, so we had to be very careful with her.”
Having reunited with Nawazuddin Siddiqui after his last release, ‘Kick’ Salman admits that the actors did bond on the sets. “We hung out together. He used to come in the evenings after pack-up and since I had my gym with me, he used to come and train. We spent a lot of time together – lunches and dinners. We were shooting at such lovely scenic locations, so we used to set the dining table out in the open have our meals.”
Shooting in Kashmir for the first time seems to have surely touched the actor in a tender way. Khan admitted to have fallen in love with the tumultuous state, “The last time I was there was during the Kargil war, but just for one night. Kashmir is beautiful and it is heaven, but I hope their lives get heavenly as well. The people are lovely and they deserve much better. You cannot be living in heaven and experiencing hell. You could tell easily which people are from Kashmir and who are tourists just from their behaviour. They used to come out of their houses wave and go back in. People say you should go to Kashmir once before you die, but I think you should do it 10-15 times.” The actor added that he would rather shoot in Kashmir than Switzerland for his future projects.