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Dressed in a black half-sleeved tee and blue jeans, Salman Khan looked his handsome best when we caught up with him for a quick chat at a suburban studio last evening.
You throw a googly question at him and the man knows how to hit it straight for a six. And of course, what's a Salman Khan interview without some playful jibes?
Excerpts from the chat-
'Our Film (Race 3) Is Race With Hum Aapke Hain Koun...'
Q. Salman, Race has become a bigger franchise after you coming on board for Race 3...
A. We wanted to make 'Race' a bigger franchise than 'Dhoom' (jokes) Race 3 is a slightly different than the earlier two Races. It's Race with 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun..'! (bursts into laughter)
Q. Race 3 is also releasing in Pakistan now. What's your reaction to that?
A. Really? That's good. I am happy.
'It's Like Two Men Fighting'
Q. You are currently one of the biggest action stars in the Hindi film industry. Does that add an onus on you for each new films of yours to make the action bigger and better than the previous ones?
A. That's really tricky. Sometimes you go so overboard that people find it fake. And then when you go realistic, they prefer the earlier film's action to this. So, you need to be very careful about how much you can put it. It has to look genuine and believable. It can't look farcical and shouldn't make you laugh. For that, there's lot of stress on physicality as well. Now that will cost a lot of money. So, your previous films have to do well.
Q. Character wise, which was the most exciting part for you in terms of getting a certain trait? People got to see your vulnerable side in films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Tubelight. At the same time, it's also nice to see a different side in Race 3.
A. This guy is sharp, has dark humor, is ruthless and the basic character is that he has supressed all his emotions. So you don't know what this man is all about till the end of the film.
Q. Your leading ladies Jacqueline Fernandez and Daisy Shah too have raised the bar when it comes to the action of Race 3..
A. Raised the bar? The falls and kicks that they have given is lethal. It's good. I am very happy for them. They have really trained hard for it. It's like 'two men fighting'. It also has that slight humor and being sensuous. It can't be just hard-core action. It has got everything to it.
'The Math Has Got To Be Right'
Q. You have been backing a lot of talent in the industry and also now the actresses are doing a lot of action in Race 3. You are also producing it. Would you like to back a female-centric action film?
A. It depends on the script of the film. It depends on what film comes to you and the cast. If there's action then right now, if you can manage to make a film within a budget and sell the digital and satellite and then later the film recovers its cost through this so whatever comes through the theatre is all bonus. The math has got to be right. Action does cost a lot of money especially when you do this kind of an action. For you to stand out and look good, you need to do all these kind of stuff, otherwise the action looks tacky. So, it needs to have the right budget.
Q. Remo says that he is a great fan of yours. Was that very evident when he started shooting with you for Race 3?
A. We were supposed to shoot another film first. It was for a dance film for which I am not ready yet. As soon as I started training, I injured myself. So now, I am taking my time to do that film. In between Rameshji came up with Race 3 and we both loved it.
Q. You say that you ain't ready for the dance but Remo told us that you have been asking him to give him some hard dance steps for your next with him.
A. You know 'thoda sa toh you need to dance now' otherwise you will be kicked out of the industry (laughs) So, it's not going to be 'Kick 2' but 'Kick Out'.
Q. There was a time when Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor had graduated to playing character roles whereas you are still here playing a leading hero. Is it because you are one such actor who cannot be dethroned?
A. "(Not only me) Akshay Kumar, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and whenever Sanjay Dutt decides to come in, he will come (laughs)... For example, for Sanju I was thinking that why did this bit somebody else played? They won't do justice to that. The last bit Sanjay should only have played! The last 8-10 years of his life, he should only have done that."
Q. Have you watched the trailer of Sanju? What are your thoughts on that?
A. I have watched the trailer. Raju Hirani is a very sensible filmmaker. I am sure he has made a good film.
Q. Coming back to the question, you are still playing a leading man...
A. I played a father to Aditya Narayan in a film 25 years ago.(laughs) See, till the time, you can do action, you can romance. Till the time, you can romance. you can do action. It's all hand in glove. And then when you can do both, you can dance as well.
'Most Of The Younger Actors Today Think India Is From Cuffe Parade To Andheri'
Q. Do you feel that somewhere the younger actors ain't keen on doing hard-core commercial films?
A. I think Tiger has got it right this time with Baaghi 2. Varun Dhawan has always got it right. He tried to go a little offbeat but that was a film which he really wanted to do. (October) and it did manage to make decent business. As long as no one loses money, a film is a hit film. Apart from them, I think everyone is going slightly wrong. They think that India is from Cuffe Parade to Andheri, which is not. You see all our emotions are slightly cliched and outdated.
Q. Would you be okay with a film being made on your life like Sanju or maybe an autobiography?
A. No, Never. Anyways I have always said everything openly on Bigg Boss. I don't want a film on me.
Q. What's next on the platter?
A. 'Wanted' and 'No Entry' are not happening. We are doing Bharat, Dabangg, Sher Khan, Kick 2, dance film with Remo. And a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film when he comes and narrates to me.
Q. With the kind of films that you have done, is it difficult to find films which satisfy you?
A. I have really lucky with these kind of things. Then when I don't get I have to start writing for myself. (laughs). I do a film only if it satisfies me as an actor. The only films that I really want to do asap are the films that I am doing.
'I Take Up Films Only If They Instantly Excite Me'
Q. Are you in the zone where you can experiment now?
A. I take up films only if they instantly excite me. If something is narrated to me and I am like 'I will tell you tomorrow' or 'I need some time to think', its never happening. The onlyone film which I have done like that is Race 3. That too only because I instantly loved the script barring one or two points.
Q. Finally, is a sequel to Tiger Zinda Hai happening?
A. Yes, yes. I have got the plot of it. It's called 'Zoya Zinda Hai'. (laughs)