By: Screen Weekly, IndiaFM
Monday, October 23, 2006
He's been called the Bad Boy of filmdom's reigning Khan trinity. Salman talks to Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express on NDTV's Walk The Talk programme, about weathering the cases and controversies, his kind of films, and being fit. Excerpts from the interface...
I notice that you have only grown three years younger.
Thank you, Sir.
And more muscular. You have been working on yourself.
I have just started training again.
I remember last time I was pulling your leg about setting a bad example for young people with some of your activities. You said, look it is because you hit the gym and built this body that a lot of youngsters are doing it.
Well, that's true and I have started hitting it again. I have not been training for quite some time. I saw everyone else may be a lot younger or a lot older, but a lot fitter. So I am out to give them a run for their money.
You look younger, but you are in the first year of your forties and I am in the last and that's a sobering thought.
No, I am going to be just the way I am for another forty years. I want to come out of college at the age of eighty and say "Maa, maa... Main pass ho gaya, first class..."
Insha Allah, on a bike, I presume, because that's your new love.
Yeah, I like riding. I don't drive anymore, Sir.
Last time we talked, you were close to the release of Tere Naam. Now, there's another one, Jaan-E-Mann. But last time it was your big comeback, you had been in the doldrums. What has changed since then? Have you mellowed down or have you hardened up?
There is no reason to mellow down or to harden up. People have a perception about me that the poor guy has suffered so much... I can understand that Sanju has gone through a lot with his cases that, Insha Allah, will be settled very soon. I will have to pay the price for whatever the government or the judge decides. But I have not gone through anything, basically. My parents, friends and career, everything is fine.
Do you reflect sometimes that you could have done some things more carefully or that you had not done something?
No, not really. All that stuff that happened in my life six, seven or eight years ago, now that the truth has started coming out, people have started realising that they did wrong to me. My press image was bad because I did not speak to them.
And you never wooed the media?
No, why should I? The media does not have the power to make or break anybody. The media tried its best to break me. I didn't break, my family didn't crack, my fans didn't go away.
Do you feel the media has been harsh on you?
In the black buck case, people know now that they cannot do it any longer. Today, wildlife has increased because people are scared. In the car accident case, everybody including my driver said that I wasn't driving but it was on to me because it makes news. But then, 70 to 75 percent cases of drinking and driving have stopped.
You mean to say that people said, if a star like Salman can get into trouble, anybody can get into trouble?
Exactly. But now people are saying that because you are Salman Khan the whole thing happened to you. When it happens to a common man, nothing happens. There are about 4,000 accidents every month in which nothing happens to anybody.
You are saying that in a twisted sort of way both these controversies helped?
Yeah, for the people.
And saved some black bucks as well.
Well, it is a beautiful animal and it should be saved.
I get a lot of mail and people wonder what kind of justice this is. Salman Khan is in trouble for shooting a black buck and Jessica Lall has been shot dead but nobody is convicted.
Everybody has come with their own destiny. Somebody might go scot-free and I might be put behind bars for five years. Nothing is in my hands. The only thing is, my parents would be hurt.
Are there things you could have done differently?
I could have opened a Salman Khan foundation but I didn't know how to go about it. I am starting it right now. All I know is how to face the camera and that's why my cases are all messed up.
There are three Khans in the industry. Shah Rukh has done Swades and Aamir has done Rang De Basanti and Lagaan. You have done great romantic hits. Is that by design or do you regret that you have not done anything that has been critically acclaimed nationally or globally?
No, Sir, the people who came to me, I have worked with them. Whatever I got, I chose the best from that. As for critical acclaim, I don't care much about that.
But every star has a legacy. What is yours?
I would like everybody to make movies along Doordarshan guidelines.
What are these guidelines?
Oh, no sex and kisses. I know that everything has become modern, but the generation of grandparents and great-grandparents is still alive.
I can't let you go without speaking on the two other Khans, forget Kadar Khan for a moment.
Shah Rukh will do whatever it takes him to survive because he is the only working person in his family. It's okay for him to go out and prove that he is the best because he is the best. Aamir is a very, very clean guy. He is very dedicated, very correct and very principled. And he has the most amazing will-power that I have seen.
Distance yourself for a moment and describe yourself.
I am a little bit of the devil and I have a lot of good stuff too. The bad stuff comes out, the good stuff I am keeping for later.
Subhash K Jha's take on Don
Well Done, Akshay!