Salman: Wanted to bring macho man back on screen
He is the most Wanted man in Bollywood. The Dabangg star Salman Khan is Ready with a new treat for his fans.
When Sonil Dedhia met the actor in Mumbai's Filmcity, Salman was in a good mood. He was cocky and caustic when he attempted a joke, but with the self-assuredness of a veteran who's seen it all.
The bad boy with a golden heart, as he's come to be known in the industry, spoke about his films, his equation with his heroines, and finally, marriage.
Controversies and Salman Khan seem to go hand in hand.
Main kya karu (What can I do?). It just happens to me. People don't like to read boring stuff. Variety is the spice of life. People want to read spicy stuff.
Do you hold any grudges against the media?
I don't have any grudges against anyone. I have never avoided the media. I am ready to give all the answers (Laughs)
After Wanted and Dabangg, you are being called the Rajnikanth of Bollywood.
I don't want to be anyone. I just want to be Salman Khan.
Your movies -- Wanted, Ready and Bodyguard -- are remakes of South Indian films. Are you going to continue with this trend?
There have been so many instances where they (southern films) have copied our films. A lot of my father's films were being remade in the south. In the recent times, we have Dabangg and 3 Idiots, which are in the process of being remade.
I don't believe in making remakes of Hollywood films because those films have been seen across the world. The movies being made these days, have one gag from a French film, one action scene from an German film, and one character from an old film. This is usually the case unless a writer-director makes the film.
Image: Salman Khan
'I am very particular about my roles'
So is it a conscious effort from your side to bring the macho hero back in Bollywood?
Yes, because I had started missing them. When my father used to write, the heroes used to be the strong and central to the story, doing heroic things. I would go to the theatre and clap and whistle when I saw the hero on screen. The macho hero seems to have vanished.
Today's generation is missing the macho man and I wanted to bring him back on screen. I wanted to make sure people remember the hero when they leave the theatre. That's why I am doing such films.
Is there any success formula in the industry?
No. I am sure I would also go wrong if I stick to a particular formula. What happens is, when you start following a particular formula, you get carried away. In the end, you just become a caricature of yourself. I am very particular about my roles.
Don't you fear being typecast in the image of a larger-than-life hero?
What is wrong with that? I am enjoying it, everyone is enjoying it and I am sure you too are enjoying it (smiles).
Image: Asin and Salman Khan
'I reshot songs in Ready because I didn't want to let my fans down'
What lessons have you learnt from your past?
When you believe in something, you have to put your foot down. There have been instances when I haven't done it. People think Salman Khan is using his power to do certain things but in the end, if things go wrong then it is Salman Khan who gets blamed.
You seem to be more involved in your projects than before.
Aisa kuch nahi hai (There's nothing of that sort). I guess the PR people are just trying to make up stories. (Smiles) When you get a kick on your ass, anyone will start working and do anything.
Having said that, times have changed. That's why I am not only involved as an actor but also take interest in the music, editing, lyrics etc. There have been times when my films were big disasters. But then I knew they would be disasters.
I did those films because I liked the script but then I could not put my foot down when it came to editing the film or shooting certain sequences.
My fans matter to me. I have become very choosy about my scripts. I don't work for money. Even if I don't get any remuneration, I am fine with it. Everything goes to my charity anyway. But I have to respect my fan who is paying for his movie ticket and going in with an expectation of watching good entertaining cinema.
When people like the promo of the film, half the battle is won. I don't want my fans to come out and say 'Bakwas picture hai' (The film was rubbish). One of the main reasons why I have reshot the songs in Ready is because I didn't want to let my fans down.
Image: Asin and Salman Khan in Ready
'My father has seen Ready thrice and I've never seen him laugh so much'
What do you look for while reading a script?
If I like the script in the first narration, I take it up. I look at the songs too. When Tere Naam happened, I was very upset with the film's climax. Mahendra Verma, the main villain in the movie, was left untouched in the end. Also, I wanted Bhoomika Chawla's character to die as a suhaagan (married woman). I got Mahendra Verma for one shot in Wanted and whacked the hell out of him (Laughs).
Coming to Ready, have you seen the southern original?
No, I haven't. I had heard the film's plot and loved it. There are a lot of twist and turns in the movie and it's a very cleverly-written film. The humour works amazingly well. The dialogues are good.
Were any changes made in the script of the Hindi remake?
A lot has been changed from the original script, keeping in mind the taste of the audience.
Your father Salim Khan is the script consultant for the film.
He gave suggestions wherever we went wrong. He has seen the film thrice and I have never seen my father laugh so much. (smiles)
Image: Zareen Khan and Salman Khan in a song sequence from Ready
'No matter who the director is, if I don't like the script I will not be a part of the film'
Will we see him writing a film for you?
I don't think he has the patience to sit down and write a whole film.
What's your equation with Anees Bazmee? A lot has been spoken about it.
I signed a film with T-Series and Anees Bazmee long ago. The only thing that wasn't working out was the script. There have been so many instances when they selected the script and approached me but I rejected it. After that, Ready came to me and I fell in love with the script. So I gave them the nod. I don't do films for the sake of doing them.
No matter who the director is, if I don't like the script I will not be a part of the film.
His recent films (Thank You, No Problem) have been disasters at the box office. Does that affect you?
No, it does not. I have worked with him before (in No Entry). There are times when your films do well and sometimes they don't. As I mentioned earlier, I signed Ready after listening to a lot of scripts. So on the script level, I know it is a far better film. Ready's script is better than anything Anees has done so far.
Image: Salman Khan
'I play Prem again in this film'
Apparently, you were not happy with the title of the film and wanted it changed.
Nahi yaar, aisa kuch nahi hai (no, nothing like that). I like the word Ready and don't think there would have been a more suitable title. It is a commonly used word in our day-to-day life. Shot ready hai (the shot is ready), car ready hai (the car is ready), khana ready hai (the food is ready)...
You have played Prem, the obedient son, as well as Chulbul Pandey, the fearless cop. Do you think you are on an image makeover spree?
No, my image has always been the same. There is also a Radhe Mohan (Tere Naam), Sameer (Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Hum Dil De Chuka Sanam) and Chulbul Pandey (Dabangg) who exist with Prem. It's the films that help me get the best out of me, no matter which character I play.
Will we see you play Prem again?
Yes, my character's name is Prem in Ready.
Image: Salman Khan
'Asin is one of the better actresses that we have today'
No, I am talking about Prem in Hum Aapke Hai Koun...! and Maine Pyaar Kiya.
I played that Prem in Baghban (laughs). The Prem that you'll see in Ready is like Hum Aaapke Hai Koun...! directed by Anees Bazmee! Just imagine how it would turn out! (Laughs again) I have taken myself out of No Entry and put it in Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!.
This is your second film with Asin. How comfortable were you with her?
I think as far as acting is concerned, she is one of the better actresses that we have. The amazing thing about her is that she tasted success with Ghajini, which was almost three years back. Ready is her third film and it shows that she hasn't gone and signed random films. She is very particular when it comes to work.
Image: Asin and Salan Khan in a still from Ready
'Character Dheela Hai was Asin's idea'
The song Character Dheela Hai has become a rage. How did the song come about?
Character Dheela Hai was Asin's idea, so there was no way I could refuse the heroine of the film. (Laughs) Character Dheela is mostly used in a negative manner but the director wanted to use the phrase in a positive way.
Originally, that line was sung by the hero. Then I suggested that the heroine sing it too.
Whose ideas was it to recreate the olden classics?
We were doing the publicity of the film and I wanted all the iconic posters -- right from Raj Kapoor's movies to Dharmendra's. My film Maine Pyar Kiya would be modified for today's times. The dance director came up with the idea and that's how the whole thing happened.
Image: Salman Khan in a still from Ready
'I don't want to be associated with neech films'
Actors like Aamir Khan have taken up direction. Will we see you directing a film?
I will work under Aamir's direction (pauses). When I have time (Laughs).
Will we ever see you doing parallel cinema or being a part of niche films?
I don't want to be associated with neech (niche) films (Winks).
How seriously do you take the comments made by your fans? You recently put up some of your pictures in response to a fan on Twitter.
I was just having fun. Someone was trying to pull my leg for four-five days saying I was fat. I thought I should show him fat kisko bolte hai. That's when I shot some pictures and posted them.
Aamir Khan recently mentioned that the only way to get Salman Khan married is to tie his leg and make him sit in a mandap.I will make sure I tie his leg and see to it that he does not marry again.
Image: Asin and Salman Khan in Ready