'Dabangg 3 has fallen in place. Even the fourth one has fallen in place.'
'This happens only for films like Rocky or Rambo.'
"Heroism doesn't mean romancing girls. It means doing something for someone whether small or big, against all odds and you make sure that happen," Salman Khan, who reprises his role of Chulbul Pandey in Dabangg 3, tells Rediff.com Contributor Divya Solgama.
When you started off with Dabangg, was there a thought you could turn it into a franchise?
The last scene of Dabangg which we shot, hinted that we might come up with a next one.
At that point of time, Arbaaz (Khan) asked if we are looking a little pompous about that film and planning a sequel. I told him if it works, then well and good, and if not, there's nothing we could do.
Everyone liked the film, so we did Dabangg 2, which was also quite appreciated.
How did you think of Warina Hussain for Munna Badnaam Hua?
We cast her for the song because she did LoveYatri with Aayush (Sharma). We had the choice to go with some other actress. But since we had worked with her and she was good in that film, we thought she will do wonders with the song.
How challenging is it for the producers to take the franchise forward?
It's very difficult. But Dabangg 3 has fallen in place. Even the fourth one has fallen in place. This happens only for films like Rocky or Rambo.
Along with producing Dabangg 3, you have also written the film.
I came up with the thought and together with Arbaaz, we just kept improvising on it. Then, we decided to explore Chulbul's past and that's how the prequel was built up.
The thought was to begin the film with an idea and then go back to how my character became Chulbul Pandey.
After that, his past meets his present and how Chulbul has to deal with that.
Since Dabangg 3 is a prequel, how you were in your younger days?
Dabangg 3 is a semi-prequel (laughs). I couldn't relate to him at all. Chulbul was a simple boy.
What made you think Saiee Manjrekar was the perfect choice for Dabangg 3?
We wrote the character and we had seen her. So, we knew she was the girl for the film.
It was just instinct. Like how, we had it with Sona (Sonakshi Sinha). The way she was in the film, before we signed her, she looked nothing like that. But, there was a faith in her and an intuition from our side that she would be Rajjo.
Your throwback picture with Saiee Manjrekar went viral. From meeting her as a child to now romancing her in the film, do you think she has done justice to the role?
She has done a wonderful job. I will be shocked if this industry doesn't get a big star after Dabangg 3.
You don't let all that success get into your head. Hhow do you ensure that success doesn't go to your head?
When I used to watch films, I used to come out of the theatre in awe of the hero and think about becoming one. That's the same funda which I am using right now.
I don't think anything works better than heroism. Heroism doesn't mean romancing girls. It means doing something for someone whether small or big, against all odds and you make sure that happen.
You have played a cop several times. What kind of feeling do you get when you wear that uniform?
There is a sense of responsibility when you wear the uniform. Chulbul deals with corruption, but he has his own Chulbul welfare fund, so it has got a good side to it also.
Who coined the name Chulbul Pandey for your character in the Dabangg films?
Arbaaz brought Dabangg to me. Originally, it was a very dark and small film to be made under Rs 2 crore. At that point of time, it was supposed to star Randeep Hooda and Arbaaz.
Arbaaz said he had been approached for this film and it's a good one, so he suggested I hear it. Six-eight months passed before I finally heard it.
I liked the feel of the film, but Chulbul was an out-and-out negative role. That film didn't have any action, certainly not on this scale.
There were no songs and the script didn't have any idea who killed the mother. So we started working on it and Abhinav (Kashyap, director) agreed to all those changes.
He did a very good job with the first one. We also asked him to do the second one, but for whatever reasons he didn't wanted to do it, saying we didn't let him make his choice of story in the film.
What kind of freshness has Prabhu Deva brought to Dabangg 3?
He brought in a different kind of heroism from the South. He understands the genre of heroism and how one should to bring in romance, humour and emotions in a film. He also makes you dance so much in the songs.
Since we have so many cop dramas happening, will there be scope for all cops coming together, considering the audience easily accepts senior actors like you, Ajay Devgn and others in khaki uniform?
It took us time as well to fit into this uniform. I played a cop for the first time in Patthar Ke Phool and that film did pretty okay. The next one was Auzaar. But the main journey started from Veergati.
Before that, my character did romance, action, comedy and so on. Veergati brought in some heroism and respect. Though the film didn't do well at the box office, it was liked by the audience.
There are reports about Preity Zinta's cameo in Dabangg 3 after she posted a picture in police uniform with your character Chulbul Pandey on social media.
Preity Zinta wanted to do something for Halloween. She wanted to dress up as a cop. I was shooting some patchwork on the last day of Dabangg 3 and then suddenly I saw her in cop uniform.
I went back and changed into Chulbul's outfit and clicked pictures with her. I love her and so I do these things. She is superb and has good energy.
In an interview, you spoke about a crossover with Kick's Devil, Dabangg's Chulbul Pandey and Wanted's Radhe?
Don't take me seriously on these things. It was just a thought that we had.
Maine Pyaar Kiya completes 30 years on December 29. What's the feeling like?
It feels like the day before yesterday.
I was looking for work and signed Maine Pyaar Kiya. It released yesterday and today, I am at this position here.
So, these 30 years of Maine Pyaar Kiya goes from day before yesterday, yesterday and today. That's how quick this journey has been.
Divya Solgama loves masala entertainers as well as hard-core realistic films. Divya can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org