SALMAN KHAN tells Jyothi Venkatesh
How would you describe 2009, as far as you were concerned, career-wise?
2009 has proved to be a good year for me since my last film before Main Aurr Mrs Khanna- Wanted has clicked in a big way. The films which I have signed recently are the ones which I really wanted to do. I believed that all of them would do well, whether it was Wanted, Main Aurr Mrs Khanna or Veer or London dreams.
Why do you think Wanted clicked in a big way?
Wanted was a film which wanted a hero. It was an entirely different genre of action film. It worked because it projected the kind of a hero who was lost in the 70’s with who the audiences could identify themselves with and easily relate to. Main Aurr Mrs Khanna is actually a lesson in romance. It is about the fact that a husband is possessive, suspicious and narrow minded unless and until he is a gay. It is the way the younger generation perceives romance in a cool way.
Were you not scared about your teaming with Kareena since Kyonki had bombed?
Kareena’s magic is her spontaneity. She is looking fabulous in the film. So what if Kyonki in which we had been paired the last time did not work? I knew that the film would not work even when I was doing the film but Priyadarshan was not willing to listen to me and asked me to just trust him. It was a depressing film, not an emotional film like Tere Naam, though both of them were remakes of South Indian films.
What is Main Aurr Mrs Khanna about?
Main Aurr Mrs Khanna is different from Wanted. Main Aurr Mrs Khanna sets out to drive home the message subtly that one should not get married if one does not wish to remain loyal and the credit for making a marriage work as well as the gaali go entirely to the girl.
Which are your best as well as worst films?
I have acted in 67 films till date, though I was under the impression that I may have acted in over a hundred films. My best films have been films which have created history at the box office. Like Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Karan Arjun, Sanam Bewafa, Partner and now Wanted. If you ask me the films which I want to forget, here’s the list. They are Nischay, Jagruti, God Tussi Great Ho and two films of Sawan Kumar- Chandramukhi and Chand Ka Tukada.
Why do you think some films of yours did not do well?
You start a film with the eight intentions but then somewhere it goes awry at times when the producers do not want to spend as they had planned initially when they launched the film and your film goes for a toss.
Why are you averse to watching the original films when you set out to act in their remakes?
I do not make it a point to watch the original Tamil or Telugu versions of the Hindi films which I set out to do because I do not want to be subconsciously influenced by the acting style of the regional actors. I saw parts of the original Telugu version of Wanted in which Mahesh Babu had acted and not Pokkiri the Tamil version in which Vijay had acted.
You seem to take up films with both veteran as well as new directors. Why?
If I have acted with a new director like Prabhu Deva in Wanted or Prem R Soni in Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, I am now also acting with a war horse like Anil Sharma in Veer. Both new as well as veteran directors have their own plus as well as minus points. When I heard Prem R. Soni’s script, I realized that it has been written coolly, eschewing any kind of melodrama. Prem is competent director to watch out! Anil’s forte is lavishness. His shot taking also is excellent and is good at emotional scenes. However, I have to take care that his film dos not look like a 70’s film, because he belongs to the old school.
There is this allegation that you do not plan things!
Yes. I admit I have never planned my career. I have done films at times even out of emotions without thinking about the pros and cons of doing them. I have never ever had any kind of strategy or approach when I decided to take up a film.
Isn’t it scary to compete with two more releases on Diwali?
Yes. I admit it is very scary when I realize that my films like Main Aurr Mrs Khanna, London Dreams and Veer are awaiting almost back to back releases this year, one after them other, but I am not unduly worried because I play different characters in all the films. If Main Aurr Mrs Khanna is a romantic comedy, London Dream is a youth oriented musical while Veer is an out and out period caper.
You do not seem to be too keen on doing any art film!
I am sure about one thing. That is I do not want to preach as an actor. I am here to entertain. I do not want to do art films which bore the audiences to death. I want to give back to my fans, who have made me a big star by doing meaningful films which entertain them.
How happy are you with the way your career ahs shaped till date?
I couldn’t have asked for more from God. I came around the time when Jackie Shroff and Sanjay Dutt had come into the industry. I think frankly I have overstayed in the industry thanks to my fans and producers, by about ten years.