'Who's a superstar? What's a superstar?'
'It's all bullsh*t, there's nothing to it.'
'If you start taking all the sh*t seriously, it's going to go to your head and you will go cuckoo there.'
Salman Khan was at his humble best when Rajul Hegde spoke with him about his Eid release Tubelight.
The movie, which is directed by Kabir Khan -- with whim Salman has made New York and the blockbusters, Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan is an adaptation of the Hollywood film, Little Boy.
How difficult was it for someone smart and witty like you to play a slow-witted character in Tubelight?
I am not smart at all. I call myself Tubelight.
When you are growing up, there is some innocence and you are naive.
But to do a film like this at the age of 52 becomes difficult, when you have seen the world and dealt with different kinds of people and lost your innocence.
You feel awkward about people watching you like this. So, I had to dig deep and rewind far behind to my childhood.
In fact, while doing this film, Sohail (his brother and co-star) and I started remembering all our school friends. We reconnected with all those with whom we had lost contact.
We started recollecting all the moments that we had gone through. It was so much fun while shooting.
Luckily, there are many kids in our family, and I learnt many things from them.
I had to be careful to not over do things because it is an emotional film, and not a comedy.
It couldn't have looked like a caricature or a joke. It is a film on two brothers, where one goes to war and the other stays behind.
You recently called yourself a limited performer. Why do you say that?
I could call myself the best performer, but people don't think that way.
So I would rather call myself the most limited performer and let people say what they have to say (smiles).
There was a glimpse of Shah Rukh Khan in the Tubelight trailer.
Shah Rukh has done a day's work; he has played a character who comes at a very crucial stage.
It's the turning point in this boy's (Salman's) character.
With Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan and now Tubelight, there is a perception that you have finally become serious about doing roles where you are required to act.
I have become very serious about choosing my films correctly so that I don't have to do that much.
There are these phases of not doing much and the script, screenplay doing everything, the supporting cast doing everything (for you).
For example, in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I didn't have to do anything.
The screenplay was taking me. What did I have to do in the film? Nothing. Just carry the girl and walk.
Just look left, look right. Look simple, that's it.
Tubelight is more difficult because the emotional quotient is much higher.
Emotionally, this film was difficult, but apart from that...
After Sultan, there was some pain, ligaments torn, knee is still hurting.
Now I have signed Tiger Zinda Hai like a fool. I am jumping off buildings. I am going mad; I feel my knee will come out of its socket.
After that, I am doing a dancing film, which is even more foolish.
Are you reuniting with your Kick co-star Jacqueline Fernandez for the dance film ABCD3?
I am not doing ABCD 3. That's a Disney property.
This will be my production and an altogether different film.
Yes, it's a dance movie, but not every dance film is ABCD!
The film will require me to work on my dancing skills.
I thought I will have to just dance, but now dancing is all about acrobatics and gymnastics.
Making me dance, that too at 52, is going to be difficult, so let's see.
What kind of equation do you share with Kabir Khan?
We have known each other even before we did Ek Tha Tiger together. He had shown me Kabul Express.
Katrina Kaif initially didn't want to do New York, but I convinced her to do the film because I had seen Kabir's previous work.
Then she went on to share a great rapport with him.
So, we both have worked with Kabir. Having said that, if Kabir gets me a bad script, I am not going to do it, no matter what the comfort level would be or what he will say.
We will work together only till the time he is getting me the best scripts.
He will work with me only till I am giving him my best work.
So, it's a very good understanding.
He is known for his documentary style realistic films; I come from a different style altogether.
Our understanding of cinema is different, so we try to pull each other in our respective directions.
A lot has been said about how Tubelight could possibly break Baahubali's box office record. Do you feel the pressure?
I doubt it is going to break the record. Baahubali is like one of a freakish film that has been made.
Hindi film-goers lapped up the film despite watching a dubbed version of it. It is because of the Hindi cine-goers that they have got these numbers.
As long as nobody loses money, I am fine. I don't feel the pressure.
Raveena Tandon recently said if a sequel to Andaz Apna Apna is made, hers and Karisma's photographs would be hanging on the wall and Aamir Khan and you would be romancing younger heroines...
One hundred percent, Pehli baar sahi bola usne (jokes). Have you seen Raveena and Karisma now? They look exactly the same what they were looking back then.
I saw Raveena a month-and-a-half ago and I keep bumping into Lolo (Karisma).
Both of them are looking much better than what they used to look then.
As a superstar, what challenges do you face today?
What superstar? Who is a superstar? You are talking about Shah Rukh Khan?
What is a superstar? It's all bullsh*t, there's nothing to it.
It's just our job.
If you start taking all the sh*t seriously, it's going to go to your head and you will go cuckoo there.
A video of yours tearing the thread from your jeans and chewing it went viral. How do you react to social media trolls?
Oh really? But I keep doing that all the time.
If they (trolls) think such things affect me, then they are very sadly mistaken.
I don't check my Twitter or Instagram pages anymore.
My belief is that these guys started coming on social media with false identities to have some fun and get connected. But these people have taken it to the next level instead.
I am really shocked that people can be like this.
They don't understand that it reflects badly about what their parents have taught them.
You have worked with Katrina Kaif -- (he is shooting for Tiger Zinda Hai with her) -- in many films. As an actor, what do you think is her forte?
She is one of the hardest working actresses that I have ever met.
Till today when she gets a song to do, she rehearses them for 6 hours for 6 to 8 days.
She has been practicing her action scenes for Tiger Zinda Hai for six days.
The action team is telling her 'Ab bas ho gaya, jao (you have done enough, now leave'.
So, basically she is just harrowing them now. Eventually, it's going to look good because she's training really hard for it.
How do you share such a good camaraderie with your former girlfriends?
Eventually I think they have realised I was not all that bad (laughs).
You wish everyone all the best. You don't go after them. You are happy and supportive of them.
As a friend I am their best friend, but as a boyfriend I am like (pauses)...
We often get glimpses of your cute bonding with your nephew Ahil. How does he react when he sees you on screen?
Recently we were watching the trailer of Tubelight on TV.
He was looking at the trailer and then at me and Sohail and then back at the screen.
He was like 'What the hell is happening?' (laughs). I think he has started figuring things now.
He accompanied us to the Hong Kong show. We thought he would be disturbed by the loud music.
Instead, the dude, he was enjoying it with his eyes wide open. He was smiling all over.