His film “Dabangg” (Fearless) releases next week; he's bagged the fourth season of Bigg Boss; he's gone public about his ‘single' status; and, he sues the producer of “Veer” Ashok Galani for under-payment, despite the film being a hit — Salman Khan can't not be in the news.
But, it's his role in “Dabangg” that interests us the most, for now. He plays Chulbul Pandey aka ‘Robinhood' Pandey, a corrupt cop from UP, who stands up for the downtrodden. Is it inspired by his ‘bad-boy-of-Bollywood-with-a-heart-of-gold' image? “There's no similarity at all. You can't be the person you portray on screen. You look for inspirations; observe people around you and act; that's it. Chulbul has a lot of shades. No one really knows how he'll react. He can laugh one moment, flare up the next; he can be very loving yet brutal.”
Last Eid, Salman gave a huge hit in “Wanted”, and the industry seems to be expecting an encore this Eid.
And, this film sounds the same — the target audience, the music, the humour, the look... “How is it the same? Neither the cast nor the production house is the same. That film was urban, this is set in rural UP. The action, the characters, the story… are all drastically different. The only similarity could be that Robinhood is a policeman. If we wanted to make another ‘Wanted', we could have just made a sequel instead of going through this whole creative process, isn't it?”
Salman says it was the script that drew him. “When Abhinav Kashyap (the film's director) first brought it to me, I was hooked. When writing reaches an unrealistic level in any genre, that genre fadesaway. If people thought raw action and mass appeal was back with ‘Wanted', it happened so because of a revival in that sort of writing.” The USP of “Dabangg”, he says, is not action. “It's an emotional love story. Remember, action is of no use without emotions,” he says.
Salman's co-star in the film is new-face Sonakshi Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha's daughter. She was Salman's choice for the movie.
“She has the kind of Indianness to her that's been missing for a while in Hindi films. She not just acts well, but can also dance,” he says.
Well, Salman is known for encouraging not just younger actors but also first-time directors.
While he confirms he's doing yet another film with Prem Soni who wielded the camera for the first time in “Main Aur Mrs Khanna” (last year's big debacle), Anurag Kashyap's brother has got his big break with “Dabangg”. “I was given a chance when I entered the industry; I'll give a chance to others. If the script is good, I'm yours.”
The charitable side
Ask him about talks on his charity foundation Being Human sprouting a production arm with the Hindi remake of Mahesh Manjrekar's Marathi film “Shikshanacha Aaicha Gho”, and Salman denies it. “Actually, we were thinking of making movies with a social bent, under the Being Human banner.
But, I'm not too sure, because I don't want leverage out of charity. Of course, I'm still thinking about making such films.”
Is the split official?
At least, that's what Salman told a news channel. News spread, and Kat said if Salman says so, then so it must be. Do we dare ask again?
In his kitty
David Dhavan's “Partner 2”
Sajid Nadiadwala's “Kick” (Telugu remake)
Anees Bazmi's “Ready” (Telugu remake)
Prem Soni's “Bodyguard”