For the masses in search of a hero,Salman Khan has long been the answer. Proof: the huge crowd that waits for him every day at Mumbais Film City where the shooting of Bodyguard is on. As expected,he plays to the gallery from the moment he gets off his dirt bike. He is late for the interview by two hours. Still,he prefers to spend an hour with mentally-challenged children and shake a leg with them,keeping us waiting. Once known as the film industrys enfant terrible,Salman is now a hero-with-a-golden-heart. This is something he carries even to the big screen whipping up a perfect blend of action and emotion. He bares his heart to Priyanka Pereira and tells her why emotion is so important in his life and films now
In 2010,when most big films tanked,Dabangg broke all records. What do you think went in your favour?
There was a time when everyones films were working and my films were bombing left,right and centre. I didnt panic because I knew those films were going to bomb. Some films I had to do,others I couldnt sit on the edit or put my foot down. But today,I have realised that it is my responsibility to see that every person who buys a ticket to watch my film,gets its worth. So I do everything in my capacity to make the film work.
Was it a conscious effort on your part to bring the hero back on screen?
Yes,because I started missing them. I wanted to go to the theatres,look at the screen and say,Yeh aa gaya humara hero.
When everyone is talking about niche films,do you credit yourself for bringing formula back?
I am sure I will go wrong in that formula too. When you see success in a genre,you tend to get carried away. You take that image to be your image and then could end up being a caricature of yourself. It is here that you have to be careful about what you are doing.
Are you wary of being typecast?
What is wrong in being typecast? As long as my audience loves it,I love it.
Wont it be an overkill seeing you only in action films?
No. I will tell you why Wanted worked. It worked because of the music and the fathers death. Once the father died,the film went to another level. Only action doesnt make sense. You cant compete with Hollywood action because of their budget and scale. But when you have emotion backing action,you have a winner.
What does Ready have that your previous two hits,Wanted and Dabangg,didnt?
For Ready,I have taken my character from No Entry and put him in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (HAHK). Imagine Anees Bazmee directing HAHK. What would he have done? It is the modern-day HAHK.
Was it your idea to get Salim Khan to work on
Yes,he has changed it a little bit. So that it doesnt go emotionally wrong. He has changed Asins character a bit. He has also worked on my dialogue pattern,which doesnt make any sense,but people seem to like it.
Do you now see him writing a full-fledged film for you?
I dont think so. He wont have the patience to deal with the directors of today.
There has been speculation about you promoting your favourite actresses,especially Zarine Khan who has a cameo in Ready.
Are you mad? Nobody wanted to do the song Character Dheela. She has done us a favour by doing it.
Why did nobody want to do it?
Because we did not ask anybody (laughs loudly).
You have been in the news for your rift with Anees Bazmee and also for re-shooting a couple of songs in Ready. Are you turning into a control freak?
There is no rift with Anees. Even if I express my opinion or sit on the edit of the film,you guys are there to take it to another level and say,Salman exerts his power. But I re-shot Character Dheela and Dhinka Chika because I wanted them to look better than they already were. When the audience is coming to see my film,why shouldnt I give them the best?
Why didnt you go on stage to accept any of your best actor awards this year?
Awards dont make sense to me. I want all the producers to remove my name from the nominee list so that somebody else can be nominated.
But many actors yearn for such recognition.
I get it when the theatres are full,when there are claps and whistles from the masses. I get it when my film goes from the single screens to the multiplexes. When a film has not done well,you have done the worst acting of your life,nobody has liked the film and an actor picks up awards everywhere,it is the worst thing.
Do you wish to take up direction like Aamir Khan?
I will work under Aamirs direction; when I have lots of time to give him.
Would you ever try your hand at niche films?
I dont want to do any neech films.
Bollywoods favourite bad boy,is now the new face of charity. Being Human has changed your image a lot.
I genuinely feel the need to help the underprivileged. I feel it is the biggest fraud to visit underprivileged children and cancer patients and to just offer them your smile. From now on,I have also decided to give a percentage of my film fee to the industry workers.
Aamir Khan recently commented that the only way to get you married is to get your hands and legs tied.
I will tie Aamirs hands and legs,so that he doesnt get married again.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines