Salman Khan is [Ready]
Salman is ‘Ready‘; ready to set a bang for 2011.
Is it your new strategy to work in remakes of hit South Indian films?
It is just a sheer coincidence that three films of mine have been remakes of South Indian hit films, like Wanted, Ready and Bodyguard. I did not consciously plan any strategy. It is just that when you remake a Hollywood film, the whole world has already seen that but when you set out to make a remake of a South Indian hit, only the South Indians have been able to see them. It is now the reverse. Besides the fact that several punches from Dabangg have been lifted by quite a few South Indian films of late, I am told that they are remaking my film Dabangg in Tamil and the Tamil remake of 3 Idiots is also being made by Shankar who had made Robot.
Why do you think that films down South click in a big way?
The reason people have liked me in films like Wanted and Dabangg is that heroism has been brought back in these films with the hero emerging as a larger than life character. Down South, they have not let heroism go away and hence the masses go to South Indian flicks in large numbers in hordes even today. However, as far as Bollywood is concerned, it is the truth that we have started missing heroes’ big time. I agreed to act in Wanted because around that time, I really was fed up of watching the so called niche films or rom-com films and wanted to go to a theatre and see a hero film
How would you compare our films with those churned out by Hollywood?
Hindi films always used to work big time because of the music track as well as the father or the mother tracks. You still remember the track of the mother in Manmohan Desai’s Amar Akbar Anthony or for that matter Yash Chopra’s Deewar. Isn’t it? If you remember Wanted worked also because of the emotional father track in it. The film took a different turn when Vinod Khanna who played my father in the film was killed. I’d rather say that though you cannot compete with the budgets that they have in Hollywood, nothing can stop you when you make films which have emotion backed by action. It is a surefire formula to win over the audiences.
What is your role in Ready?
I play the role of Prem in Ready too. Prem is a very loveable character, who takes off from where No Entry ended and gets into the mode of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. It is Anees Bazmee’s version of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. It is today’s Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. It is out and out a naughty film in which every one has a sense of humor, from dad to son to chacha to chachi.
Why do you think Dabangg clicked in a big way?
Dabangg was made for the masses. Arbaaz did not make it keeping in mind the niche audiences. Dabangg had a cop from Uttar Pradesh and a new actress. I remember people telling Arbaaz tum mar jaaoge but we went on making the film, because we knew what we were making at that point of time when we were hit big time by recession. People even thought that we were making some kind of C grade stunt films, with a title like Dabangg which no one on earth could even comprehend. The film clicked in a big way because kids caught on the film, especially because heroism always works big time.
Do you love playing to the gallery?
Ever since Dabangg clicked in a big way, every producer wants to be desi and wishes to go to Andheri today, not Amsterdam. Though I know for a fact that if I get carried away, I may go wrong with my formula, the fact is that I love playing to the gallery as a larger than life hero, though I do not want to play the Superman or the Spiderman by wearing my chaddi above my pant. After Wanted and Dabangg, I am looking at hat trick with Ready. In fact, I am looking at a hundred hat tricks. Who wants to have a flop? Every one today wants to make a hit like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Deewar, Mughal E Azam and Andaz Apna Apna.
Why do you shun award functions?
It is true that I did not go to any awards function to take any award for The Best Actor of Dabangg, because I think that award functions are nothing but a farce. I do not even want to be one of the nominees in any award function this year. Let some other actor be nominated. Awards do not make any sense to me. I’d rather walk away with the claps that the audiences give me when they come to watch my films in theatres.
Can we see you acting in any film written by your father Salimsaab?
People ask me why my father is not writing for any film when any director would gladly give his right arm to have a script written by the man who had written legendary films like Deewar and Sholay. I am glad that my father is enjoying his retired phase because frankly I do not think that he has the patience to deal with the directors and the kind of sensibilities that they come with today.
How do you react when your films click at the box office or flop?
As a person, I do not change whether my film clicks at the box office in a big way or turns out to be a disaster at the ticket windows. Today luckily people call me a lucky mascot just because my films are clicking one after the other but there was a time when my films were bombing big time left right and centre but I did not panic at all and took them I my stride waiting for the tide to change for the better. I would say that you actually go two steps forward when you get a kick in your arse. I have always been of the opinion that success se insaan ka dimaag kharab nahi hona chahiye aur failure se depression nahi aana chahiye.
You replaced Jacqueline Fernandes with Zarine Khan in Ready. Why?
Jacqueline Fernandes was slated to do a song in Ready with me but at the eleventh hour, she could not do and Zarine Khan stepped in. I did not do any favor to Zarine by suggesting her name. On the contrary, it was Zarine who did us a big favor by agreeing to be part of the film though Asin had already been signed as the leading lady of the film and had the bigger role. It is another thing altogether that we did not ask any other actress to step in that role. (Laughs)
Is it true that you asked Abhinav Kashyap to cast Mahendra Verma in just one scene in Dabangg?
Yes. I was upset with the climax of Tere Naam, because I wanted the girl to die as a suhaagan but in the film she collapses while taking the pheras and the guy who played the main villain in the film is actually left untouched by the hero. I made it a point to get Mahendra Verma just for one single shot in Dabangg and whacked the hell out of him. (Laughs)
To what extent do you feel it is right to interfere with the director?
I feel that it is entirely my responsibility to the guy in the audience who pays from Rs 10 to Rs 500 per ticket to see to it that I come up as an actor with a film that entertains him. If I do not interfere, the film flops, like Tere Naam did. I had heard as many as 30 different tunes but loved the song when Pritam came up with the tune, though I hated the lyrics. Finally, I asked him to make two songs into one and come up with the song Character Dheela. If I like the script, I think I have every right to put my foot down and see to it that the film is properly edited on the editing table.
Have you thought in terms of taking up direction?
Yes. Though it is true that I take interest in every department of the film in which I am acting, whether it is the subject or the music or the action sequences, I still feel that I am not ready to be the captain of the ship. I do not want to dabble in direction, though I know for a fact that my colleagues like Sunny Deol, Ajay Devgn and Aamir Khan have already dabbled in direction. However, I am game to work with Aamir Khan if he is ready to direct a film with me, provided I get the time to do a film with him.
Aamir has declared that he will tie your hands and feet to make you get married!
Yes. I have read somewhere that Aamir had stated that to make me get married, he is ready to tie my hands and feet. I can only retort that I have also decided to tie his hands and feet to see to it that he does not get married a third time in his life. (Grins).
You seem more inclined of late to promote your films in a big way!
Nowadays you have to spend more time to promote films. The new funda is that you need to devote at least 15 days to promote your films. I am game to tie up with corporate for my promotion provided they are ready to pay to my NGO Being Human or for needy and poor kids directly without deducting their administrative costs. Let’s face facts, today I do not actually need money.
– Jyothi Venkatesh