When 30 years ago, Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) was released, it became an all-time blockbuster. The biggest gain was probably of Salman Khan’s, who attained the heartthrob status overnight, and has ever since seen a cult-like fan following. Although in his personal life, the actor has gone through several tumultuous phases, including several notorious court cases, and has almost always been embroiled in controversies.
Salman, who inexplicably gained the moniker of Bhai, may not be lucky in his personal life, but his professional life has enjoyed an unfaltering growth and the credit goes to all the movies that have been offered to him over the years. “I think I have been immensely lucky with the variety of scripts that were offered to me. Earlier, I got to choose the best from whatever projects came my way and worked on them. The same continues today,” he says.
The actor, who has starred in movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Wanted, Dabangg, Kick, Tiger franchise and many more, is all set to complete three decades in Bollywood. But, going down the memory lane, he says that a lot has changed. “It is hilarious,” he says. “While watching, I came to the conclusion that the innocence that I had has been lost. That newness and innocence that I had in my look is now missing,” says the actor who has recently seen donning several roles in Bharat.
Elaborating further, Salman says, “I cringe while watching some of the songs I did. I think, ‘please isko hatao’. I see my looks in films like Nishchaiy, Jaagruti, Chandra Mukhi… those jackets and all, it’s so different from films like Hum Aapke Hai Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain. That’s a different look altogether, so the director also puts so much of effort.”
In addition to the movies, Salman’s age has also changed. He may be a 54-year-old, but according to him, he still feels like a 27-year-old. “I will stick to my statement that you should always feel 27. You should always have the enthusiasm, passion, and interest, or you should not do it at all. As soon as you lose interest and start saying ‘I am tired’, that old man sets into your mind and he takes over your body,” he explains.
Salman is now slated to be seen in action-fuelled Dabangg 3. A significant part of his filmography is composed of action films like Wanted, Kick, Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai, Dabangg, and Bodyguard among others, although, the actor admits that such movies have taken a toll on his health. “I have only been doing action films and my body is used to that, but it has taken a toll on me. I am doing Dabangg 3 at the moment, which is all action. And sometimes, you get tired doing some scenes,” he says.
Further, the Tubelight actor also gave examples of his contemporaries, who have all maintained their fitness but still deal with health issues. “Ajay, Aamir, Sanju (Sanjay Dutt), everyone is fit now. Sanju has lost all the weight and he is so fit. So no one is letting that thing go away, but everybody has their issues — some have shoulder pain, others have neck pain. I am sure everyone wakes up in installments, but still sab ke sab lage hai,” he says.
The actor, who is considered among one of the three ‘Khans Of Bollywood’, has seen and suffered from the changing focus of the film industry from stardom to content. Despite his stardom, in recent years, the actor’s major releases, including Tubelight, Sultan, and Race 3, proved to be major box office dampeners. Hence, talking about stardom that appears to be fading, the actor delves, “It will always fade away. It’s a huge task to keep it going for such a long time. In fact, I think Shah Rukh, myself, Aamir, and Akki (Akshay Kumar), are the only ones who have been able to pull it off for such a long time.”
So the pressure of performing well has also increased. “Earlier, film tickets were so cheap and people had so much time that it didn’t bother them. But today, if you have to go to a movie, you give up half of your day. Tickets are like 450- 600 rupees now, so it pinches. So, it has to be worth their time,” he illustrates.
In fact, his latest film Bharat, which hit the screen this Eid was also touted to balance the stardom level with the content. Although, the movie had stoked controversy much earlier when Priyanka Chopra Jonas left the film last minute, after which Katrina Kaif stepped in.
The actor clears the air about the controversy, which had allegedly left Salman miffed from Priyanka, as he narrates what had actually happened. “She came home and spoke to me. I asked her what the matter was, and she said that she wants to get married. So I said ‘Get married then’. She then said, ‘No, no, I don’t know which day’. So, I said that whichever day it is, work will keep happening’. Then, Arpita hinted that she doesn’t want to do the film. So, I asked her if she doesn’t want to do it, to which she said yes. She said that Nick proposed her (sic). I said ‘cool, if he proposed to you, then you should (get married)’.” Adding further, he concludes, “Usually some people say na, shaadi ek saal baad karenge, abhi ye picture kar lete hai. But she chose to get married, which I think is outstanding.”...