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Updated: September 5, 2009 20:36 IST

Let bygones be bygones

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI
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Romantic at heart: Salman Khan says if ever he turns director, he would like to make a romantic film PHOTO: S. SUBRAMANIUM
Romantic at heart: Salman Khan says if ever he turns director, he would like to make a romantic film PHOTO: S. SUBRAMANIUM

There are controversies and controversies. Then there is Salman Khan, unscathed, untouched. The humour is intact but nothing over-the-top. He remains wanted as ever

He looks fresh as dew. His skin glows and his eyes sparkle. The controversies — most recent being the ongoing war with the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan — don’t seem to have any effect on Salman Khan as he promotes his upcoming flick Wanted at Marwah Studios in Noida along with the film’s director Prabhu Deva and music composers Sajid-Wajid. When somebody from the cheering crowd, made up mostly of students of the Asian Academy of Film and Television , requests him to say a few dialogues from the film, Salman happily obliges. When an African student fan of his performs a rap song she has composed for the star, he hugs her. And when he spots two over-enthusiastic girls, he asks them to come up on stage, and at their behest, shakes a leg with them. The humour is intact but nothing over-the-top. Clad in jeans and his foundation T-shirt, ‘Being Human’, he is subtle, relaxed and content.

Back to action

Maybe it’s the success of Dus Ka Dum Salman’s TV show on Sony which has got an extension in its second season, maybe it’s the new responsibility of becoming the brand ambassador of the Indian football team, or maybe he is still in the skin of the character of Radhe. In Boney Kapoor’s Wanted, Salman plays the role of Radhe, the tough serious cop who goes all out to finish the mafia. The remake of Telugu superhit Pokkiri will mark Salman’s return to action after a gap of five long years. He donned a similar role in Garv – Pride and Honour released in 2004, but that, he says, didn’t have as much action as this one.

“The return to action is painful. We haven’t used any body double. We haven’t even used the usual cable work that much, so it has been very difficult and I even pulled a hamstring during one of the running sequences that took three months to heal,” he says.

Negative streak

“Yes, there is violence, arrogance and action. Everything happens in extremes here, but executed in a very different manner,” explains the superstar when asked if there is a negative streak to his character. And though his character in Tere Naam — the 2003 blockbuster which brought him back in the league of superstars — was also called Radhe, Salman clarifies that this Radhe doesn’t share any similarities with him.

“If you have seen Tere Naam, there is a sequence in which Radhe’s head gets smashed by the villains. This Radhe can kill all those guys in five minutes. From a boy, Radhe has become a man,” he responds.

In the first directorial venture of ace choreographer Prabhu Deva which is slated for an Eid release, Salman stars opposite the young and bubbly Ayesha Takia, alongside Om Puri, Vinod Khanna and Arbaaz Khan. Known for being open and encouraging to debutant directors, this time too, Salman didn’t have any apprehensions of working with the first-time director Prabhu Deva, who had choreographed for the actor way back in 1993 for Chandramukhi. “The only fear I had was that he will make me work very very hard. He is technically very sound and he doesn’t have a single bone in his body,” smiles Salman, who has even strained his vocal chords for the film’s special promotional track which contains lot of dialogues.

Sajid-Wajid reveal that the actor has even penned a few lines himself, one of which goes like this: “mitti ke seene se ek hook si uthti hai”.

Rediscovery mode

Trying out new things, giving up the old ones, Salman appears to be in rediscovery mode these days. The actor is “trying to quit smoking”. “But when you write it you should say, I have quit. People usually start off to fit into a group. It’s the world’s most disgusting habit. With alcohol, the craving stops when the particular hours are over, but with smoking there is no time. With morning coffee, alcohol, when you are happy or depressed, you crave for it. It’s difficult to quit, so I have a lot of respect for people who just leave it at one go,” explains Salman in great detail for the sake of each and every youngster present listening.

Now, the man is also nurturing a dream to acquire an IPL team. “If we follow the correct procedures of betting and other required procedures, we will get it. Football team ka to brand ambassador to bana hi diya hai,” the sports lover declares.

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