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Sitting in the garden space inside his Galaxy apartments in Bandra, Salman Khan was at his candid best when Filmibeat recently caught up with the superstar during the promotions of Loveyatri. The film marks the Bollywood debut of his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. Amidst pearly laughter and playful jibes, Salman opened up about Friday jitters, nepotism, 'love at first sight' and much more.
Excerpts from the interview-
Aayush termed your place Galaxy as an insititute of performing arts as the journey for him started here. There have been some good graduates and some not-so good ones from this institute..
Who are the good and who are the not-so-good ones? I think everyone who has come here has done well for themselves. But then, everyone has their destiny naa. Whoever who has come here and wherever I have gone in my career, when I did Maine Pyaar Kiya, I did pretty okay. Everyone wants to be one of the biggest stars. But some succeed and others not. Sohail and Arbaaz Khan get work in film. At the same time, they are also doing well with their production houses.
What sort of guidance do you give to those who come to you?
I tell them, "Do whatever you want to do. But, don't play any games. Just be very enthusiastic in whatever you do and be patient. Just don't jump into anything. It's fine if there's no work. But the work that you do should be good work. Otherwise, working everyday but doing bad work will get you no work later on. It's okay if you have to wait for that good work to come to you. But one day, it will surely happen. Now-a-days, you can dabble with web, TV and different kinds of films. People don't just get one or two or three chances..they keep on getting work. We are not going to leave anyone who have been with us.
Aayush has his first release coming up this Friday. Do you remember how you reacted when your first film hit the big screens on Friday?
I remember me and my friend Rajeev (whom I used to fondly call Mithun because he used to resemble Mithun Chakraborty) went on a bike to Minerva theatre. I clearly remember that we reached the theatre a little late after the film started and somebody recognised me during the interval. And I just ran away from there. They kept following us downstairs and our motorcycle just slided down. My friend was really happy for me. That was one of the most happiest moment for me.
Then, we went to Satyam Shivam Sundaram theatre. David Dhawan's film had released then (Sunny Deol starrer Aag Ka Gola). I had gone to him at one point of time to ask for work because he has worked with my dad. Once I had an accident and ended up injuring the portion aound my eye and had dislocated my shoulder along with a broken arm. I went to meet David back then and he was scared of me. He told me that he couldn't give me work because he too was out of work. I remember him looking at me clearly thinking, 'What will happen with this poor chap! His film just has 18 prints." Both the films were running simultaneously, But once he opened the door of the theatre hall, he got the same reaction which I had kind of expected and he was like, 'Aapne gayi'.
I am one of the fortunate ones that even my flop films do business of over Rs 100 crore. Yesterday, I told Aayush and Warina that even if you deliver a flop film it should do Rs 170 crore at the box office.. So now they have pressure of a flop film." (laughs)
Aayush also said that irrespective of whether he was launched by you or someone else, he had that baggage on his shoulder that even if he had got a movie outside your banner, people would have said he bagged that film because of you. Do you think that as one of the negative aspects of belonging from a film family?
That's why I am staying as far away as possible from Loveratri. So much so that my sister might think that I don't like Aayush and not supporting him. (laughs) When we did Hero with Sooraj Pancholi, I just did one promotional song for him. I sing that song wherever I go for shows. But these things do not translate into people going to the theatre to watch a film. So, the film has to be good. The trailer of the film should have that urgency of making you want to watch it and then after that comes word-of-mouth. Sometimes even our films don't work well. When people ask me to do guest appearances and think that the film would do well, it just brings me back to earth. These cameos might just be a new element to sell a film. That's why we do such things. It just brings us closer to each other as an industry and that's a good thing.
Sohail saw Aayush in a gym. If not me then somebody else would have launched him. He has been training and working really hard. Because I worked with Abhiraj (the director) in Sultan, I thought he was a very sorted guy and this is the best thing to him. I knew this nepotism topic would crop up. He is son of a politician. How can you put him into this nepotism thing. This is the only one place where nepotism cannot work at all. It is the audience that will make you a superstar or will reject you no matter whose son or a brother-in-law you are.
I am a writer's son. Ajay Devgn is an action director's son. It's totally the audience who decide what they like and what not. You never know what they would like. You may be the best looking guy and best actor and they just reject you and you can have nothing. And then there is something about you that audience goes to watch your film in cinema halls but this is till your last film. It's become very competitive today which I think is good. At the end of the day, it's all about hard work. You need to change your weakness into your strength.
What's your take on the title of Loveratri being changed to Loveyatri?
If a film worked purely on the basis of a title, you would have seen just a title outside the theatre. But it's not like that. Loveyatri is a beautiful, sweet love story. Like how films used to be made earlier. Because it was a love story around a festival, we titled it Loveratri. But some people got offended by that. So, we went to the Censor Board who suggested us to change the title. We sat down and discussed with them that there is not one thing in the film which could hurt people's sentiment. They agreed with us and told us not to change the title but instead add a tagline to it. I was like, 'let's change the title if they (people) have raised a concern.'
In fact, we even joked how no would want to watch such a clean film today.
There have been a lot of comparisons between the Dholida song and your song Dholi Taare from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam...
That will take a long time. If Loveyatri turns out to be a Maine Pyaar Kiya, still it will take 10 years to reach that place. As far as Warina, Aayush and Abhiraj are concerned, I think they have done a fabulous job. I was quite shocked to watch Aayush dancing. He went through a lot of rehearsals. He is competing with actors like Tiger Shroff, Varun Dhawan. These guys dance really well. So, you need to be that good.
Loveyatri talks about the concept of 'love at first sight'. Has that ever happened to you in real life?
It keeps happening again and again.
Finally, what were the challenges before you as a producer?
When you are launching somebody, it's a huge responsibility and you need to be very carefully. If they make it, its the happiest feeling. Whoever you have launched or worked with, I believe that you should never stop working with them. People keep coming in. But you worked with them because you thought there was something in them. Maybe it didn't work on. But, you keep on working with them. So now, we have a production house and we are even doing TV. There's going to be a lot of work for everyone. There are some people who don't do well in TV but succeed on television. You can work on TV for years and years and there's steady income.
TV actors who have been in the industry for just a year already own a 3BHK- 4BHK flats. Television is looked down upon but the reach of that medium is phenomenal. I remember even we did a Dus Ka Dum episode with Aamir, we got a rating of 3.2. But when these four actresses from TV- Sara Khan, Pratyusha Banerjee, Ratan Rajput and Ragini Khanna came on the show, the ratings shot to 5.8.