Salman Khan, who plays a wrestler in Sultan, rues that a film was never made on the famous Indian wrestler Gama Pehalwan. “I know of Gama Pehalwan, Dara Singh and Randhawa. There was no film made on Gama Pehalwan. Whatever stories dad (writer Salim Khan) told me, I know only that much. Dad had also written about Gama but a film could not be made on him.”
The actor adds that now that he has turned 50, he needs to be mindful of the way he looks to retain his stardom. “It’s important to work hard at this age. All our seniors too made it in the industry to this age (being lead actors); and I am doing it now. However, I just saw one of my recent auditions and I really did not approve of myself. Something that I myself don’t like about myself, why would the audiences like it? To be able to carry on I have to work hard… make people say ‘He looks great at 50’, and get inspired. I always go through the pain so that people appreciate it.”
Is he apprehensive about losing his stardom? “I think every actor fears losing stardom. I would be lying if I said that I was not afraid of it. It’s not just about stardom, it’s love and respect, and that is one quality you don’t want to lose. It bothers everyone. Yes, I have gone through lows and highs. I have lost stardom many a times. But life is more than being a hero or a star… what we desire is for the respect/love of our fans.”
The lessons he has learnt in life have all been of the practical kind, not in the classroom. “I wanted to learn acting but I did a film before I could join an institution. Then I thought ‘why take the trouble now’. I learnt swimming in Indore in a well when I was nine years old. My cousins tied a rope around my waist and threw me into the well and said ‘now move your arms and legs and you will learn swimming’. There was a turtle in the well, a small fish and a big fish and a water snake. I got so scared that I learnt how to swim to save my life. After that I won many certificates.”
“I recently got to know that I had qualified for a state shooting championship. Gagan Narang (ace shooter) met me on a flight and he revealed a story which even I had not known of. He reminded me that I had participated in a shooting championship in Chetana College in my young days... I didn’t have any gear on, nor did I go with proper preparations. I went in with jeans and a t-shirt. They had a target of 60 shots in 1 hour 20 minutes, and I walked out in 50 minutes after completing the target. Narang said I had qualified then, but I was not aware of the same. Had I won a medal, people/ the media would have used it in the on-going black buck case.
“I have to be very careful as I have a very complicated life. I hope this will not come back at me… as people may start talking about my shooting too,” he adds....