Never before has Bollywood seen a star who can garner collections beyond `100 crore just for being on screen. If a producer can get Salman Khan to sign on the dotted line, he doesn’t need to bother with the storyline, the rest of the cast, exotic locations..., the film is guaranteed to be a hit.
Right from his Maine Pyaar Kiya days, Salman’s popularity had soared and once he went bare-chested in the song O O Jane Jana, there was no looking back. “Yes, it happened by chance. Thanks to Sohail for making me go shirtless! My designer had stitched the shirt extra tight and the buttons would not close and Sohail said, ‘You look sexy... let’s shoot you like this’,” says Salman.
There have been a few films that have not done well and the superstar says that he has learnt his lesson. “I remember Veer, a script written by me for the first time, could not attract my fans. I learnt my lesson from this film and have decided to keep the final cut of the film within my premise. Reducing the length of Veer was a Herculean task for me as director Anil Sharma refused to budge.”
The Khans are now planning a third edition of Dabangg after the successes of the first two editions of the film. “Yes, Dabangg has become a brand now, but there was a lot of criticism before its release. My friends too felt it’s a rural, rustic film and nothing much would come of this cop Pandey. Before the script reached me, it had been rejected by various producers for over two years. However, the film turned out to be a bumper success.
The sequel too has fared well and we are now planning D3. I feel it is my duty to keep my fans happy. And as long as I can give what they want I will be the happiest actor on earth.
“I am not proud about being popular but yes I am proud about giving my fans their worth. Also I feel that a Hindi film has to be made according to the pulse of the audiences.
After Amitabh Bachchan in KBC, Salman too has been a superstar on TV with Dus ka Dum and Bigg Boss. “TV brings stars into your bed room. It also helps every actor exist and satisfy his/her passion of acting. There are many talented actors on the small screen. I like Bigg Boss and I decided to host it again.”
At a recent awards ceremony, Salman danced with TV actors who could not believe their luck. The star, who was lauded for his easy-going attitude with juniors, says, “I become snooty only when someone tries to throw his/her weight unnecessarily.”
The TV stars were happy to dance with me but I must say I was equally happy to be on stage dancing with them. Moreover, (with a wink) I was paid to dance with them.”
He says that his father, Salim Khan, helps him stay grounded. “My father is my biggest strength. He tells me to listen to my heart.”
Salman has also been instrumental in setting up or resurrecting the career of many, from Govinda in Partner, Sonakshi Sinha in Dabangg to a guest appearance in Son of Sardaar and helping Suniel Shetty’s daughter launch her career. “There is no harm in giving a chance to upcoming talent. I could see the potential in Sonakshi… She is a big hit because she is talented. Govinda too has come the hard way; the character suited him in Partner and so David (Dhawan) opted for him. Yes! Ajay too is my friend and I was asked to do a cameo and I accepted. We are all a family in this industry.” However, Salman’s off-screen relationships have taken up many more pages of gossip magazines than his good deeds. “I have been quite open about my relationships. I would unhesitatingly answer all queries but the media always painted me in a different light. My name got linked sometimes even before I could declare my love for the lady… the media would print it before I could do so, resulting in my ideas going fatt.”
The media had earlier given me the ‘bad boy’ tag; it makes no difference to me, I am what I am, though I would liked to be called simply ‘Salman.’”