'When my school principal heard that I took science in college, he slapped me hard.'
'I had once told him I was interested in arts.'
'He asked me if I wanted to be a doctor.'
'When I said no, he asked why I took science then.'
'My father said he would change his name if I survived science for more than two months.'
Did you know Salman Khan was initially slated to star in Notebook?
But the superstar claims his image had changed and so, he could not take it up.
It went on to become newcomer Zaheer Iqbal's launch pad.
The film also stars the debutante Pranutan Bahl, Kajol's gorgeous niece.
"It's a wrong perception that we launch actors with scripts that we have with us. We launch them in films which I am unable to do because a certain image has been formed," Khan tells Rediff.com Contributor Ramesh S.
Notebook is a remake of the 2014 Thai film Teacher's Diary. Have you seen the original movie?
Notebook is more beautiful than Teacher's Diary.
The plot is the same, but we cannot make a Thai film in Hindi, so we did a lot of work.
Our film is based and shot in Kashmir, so we have changed the entire backdrop of the love story in it.
Every film has a love story. Even my action films like Dabangg and Wanted had beautiful love stories.
Till the time you don't have a love story in a film, it won't work.
It is a must in every film.
What were your inputs for Notebook?
I don't want to take credit forcefully because sometimes things can go wrong with that.
I was approached with this movie a long ago, and it was offered to me as an actor.
But my image has changed now and so I could not do it.
For instance, when Subhash Ghaiji came to me with Yuuvraj, I wanted to do a remake of his film Hero.
He was not interested in that, and later we launched Sooraj (Pancholi) in Hero.
So it is a wrong perception that we launch actors with scripts that we have with us. We launch them in films, which I am unable to do because a certain image has been formed.
Notebook needed a new couple in it.
We did not rope in Zaheer (Iqbal) and Pranutan (Bahl) because of their star parents.
They have worked for six, eight hours at a stretch to fit into their respective roles.
In fact, I watched an audition of Pranutan and was quite surprised with her work.
I called up Mohnish (Bahl, Pranutan's father) and then approached her with Notebook.
Did your father Salim Khan offer any inputs?
He knows every script.
We discuss the plot of all our films with him, and then we make him watch the rushes.
After that, he gives his valuable inputs like what should be added or subtracted.
The music is getting appreciated.
We always concentrate on the music. Films like Hero and Loveyatri had some incredible music in it.
Which is your favourite song?
Bumro Bumro. It was a superhit song during those days, and now it sounds even better in Notebook.
You are known for launching newcomers. What's so special about these newcomers?
What I've learnt from childhood is that that person must deserve a double take.
When you walk in a room, everyone should look at you. If that doesn't happen, forget about having any value in this industry.
My father always taught me that getting noticed should be effortless.
These newcomers have it.
They walk into a place and make me notice their presence. That's a big thing.
What is the advice you would give today's actors?
Stay out of trouble!
Have you written a notebook or kept a personal diary?
I still remember when I started writing my personal diary. I wrote too many truths in it.
Then I realised that other people would get into trouble with my truths, so I rewrote it.
Then I came to know that I would get into trouble with my rewritten version. So I stopped writing a personal diary!
Both the lead characters in Notebook play teachers. Are you in touch with your teachers?
I am in touch with Father Henry who has lost his eyesight. He lives in Mazgaon (south Mumbai).
Then, there's D'Souza teacher, and Pandey sir, who taught us PT (physical training).
My favourite teachers are the ones who had beat me up the most because I learnt from them the most.
I was in touch with my school principal as well who would also batter me. I still remember the day when I took admission in St Xavier's College, in the science stream.
My father was surprised and said he would change his name if I survived science for more than two months.
When my school principal heard that I took science, he slapped me hard because I once told him that I was interested in the arts field.
He asked me if I wanted to be a doctor. When I said no, he asked why I took science then.
That was the relationship between us.
Sadly, he passed away.
Who is your teacher from the film industry?
Actually more than my father, it is my mother.
I have learnt skills like scripting and other things from my father.
There are only three things in scripting -- it has to be correct morally, ethically and principally.
What do you enjoy more: Producing a film or acting?
Producing a film is more hard work because you need to keep your hand on everything -- scripting, music, watching the rushes, the final edit...
It takes a lot of energy because you are acting in other films as well as keeping a tab on your production ventures.
Will you ever direct?
I wanted to start my career with direction, but that didn't happen. Thank God!
Do you think that some of your movies should not have a festival release for a better response?
Yes. For instance, we knew Tubelight's story and I said it should not be an Eid release. I said Eid is a festival and people go to theatres to relax and have fun.
We requested to move the film to another release date, but it did not happen.
People went to theatres to celebrate Eid, but came out with crying faces.
Now, people love to watch it on television.