Interviewing Salman Khan is akin to sitting on a roller-coaster ride for the first time ever; in both cases you never know what to expect. On a good day, Salman may talk nineteen to the dozen, and on an off-day, he may just decide to get up and leave mid-way. Luckily for me, Salman was in his element when I met him for an exclusive interview at Mehboob Studios. Dressed in a body hugging red tee and jeans, Sallu sat relaxed even as hordes of journos began to get restless waiting for their turn. When my turn came, the wait was worth it as Salman took off like never before speaking on his relationship with his dad Salim Khan, his favorite period films and what can easily be described as a special film of his career- Veer. Read on to find out more...
Veer as a film must be extra-special to you considering that you have written the story of the film. When did the idea of Veer first germinate in your mind?
Long time ago...in fact much before I became an actor...those were the days when I was planning to become a director.
You had earlier written the story of films like Baaghi in the nineties. What took you so long to write the film considering that it's being made now after nearly two decades?
It didn't take me long or anything like that. I wrote the basic story of Veer many years ago but during those days no one dared to make films of such a lavish scale and the writing of Veer is such that it had to be made on a large scale.
So how did the project take off?
I happened to narrate the story idea to Vijay Galani (the producer). He really liked it and decided that we should do this film.
Since you are the story writer of the film, there could be no better person to ask about the story than you...so would you please elaborate on what Veer is all about?
Veer is an epic love story of a warrior but I would like to believe that at the heart of it Veer is a father-son relationship drama. Even the earlier film which I wrote Baaghi was a father-son relationship drama. I truly believe that a father and son should be best of friends yet there should be respect. My father and I share such a relationship. We chill together, party together, share a drink together and have fun but yet I know where to draw the line. I remember...I think it was during Class 7 or 8; I was holidaying in Indore when my mid-term results came out and unfortunately I failed. I was petrified of what dad would say. But my father was really sweet. He said 'Beta Agli Baar Zara Dhyaan Se Padhna. Right now don't worry and mess up your holiday.'
You have been known as the epitome of fitness in Bollywood....any extra effort put in to get in shape for your character in Veer?
I totally stopped weight-lifting and started doing free hand dumbbells, push-ups and very heavy squatting.
You of course play the title role but have two new ladies opposite you...Zarine Khan and Lisa Lazarus...how has been the experience working with two new girls?
Oh...it's been an absolutely lovely experience. Won't you want to be in my shoes? (smiles).
Apparently, you asked Zarine to feast on chocolates and put on some weight for this role?
Zarine was quite thin like most girls today but for her character of an Indian princess we needed someone who is slightly well-built. If you look at yesteryears' princesses, they weren't skinny; they were all hatti-katti. Hence, Zarine had to gain some weight to look the part.
Veer also stars two actors you are quite close to Mithun da and Jackie Shroff...how has it been working with them once again?
Oh! It was fantastic. I had a blast working with Mithunda and Jackieda. They are both fantastic actors. They are senior to me yet we are close friends and I must say that Mithunda is the world's best chef.
Veer has some really melodious tracks by your favorite composers Sajid- Wajid, they seem to have re-defined themselves with this film...what say?
Veer is a different kind of a film hence the music had to be different. We had to stick to the sounds of the era the film is set in. Sajid-Wajid are really talented guys. They come from musical gharanas. They have kept melody as their focus and the results are there for everyone to hear and see
With Veer you have taken to blogging...how are you enjoying it?
Oh its lovely...I am enjoying every moment of it. Have you read my blogs?
Of course...a notable feature of your blogs has been the fact that you have kept the language very simple and lucid.
Yes. I believe that one should write in a language that everybody understands. A blog is not for showing off my vocabulary. It's for me to stay connected with my fans. I am not writing the blog to win some Nobel Prize in literature or something. My blog is for my fans. Many-a-times when you focus on your writing style too much, you end up deviating from the core topic. The way I write is exactly the way I speak, which is simple. No point writing in a flowery language to prove that I have a very good command of English as a language.
Do you get time to respond to your fans' comments?
Oh yes...I read all of them and try and respond to most of them.
Since Veer is a period flick, could you name a few of your favorite period films?
Oh there are many...Taras Bulba, Spartacus, Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia etc etc.
And what about some of Bollywood's period films?
Yahan pe do period films bani hai...ek Mughal-e-Azam, doosri Dharam-Veer and the third one is Veer.
Finally ...the title Veer signifies bravery...what in your opinion is Veerta all about?
See...the basic problem with us Indians is that when we see somebody being beaten up by ten other people, we don't bother to get up and help. We say, 'Jaane Do Yaar...Kya Farak Padta Hai'. When the same thing happens to us, it becomes a matter of concern. This chalta hai attitude towards everything can be quite dangerous for the future of our country. We need people to take responsibility and stand up for their rights saying, 'This is my country and it's my responsibility to make it work.'
Do you think today's politicians are doing a good job?
Oh yes...some of them are. The second generation and third generation of politicians are really rocking. People like Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Praful Patel, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Satyajit Singh Gaikwad and Jyotiraditya Scindia are all doing a great job.
Since you are so attached towards social issues, will we see you entering politics?
Nahin baba...I am happy with my charitable organization...'Being Human'.