In a long career, spanning over 25 years, he has taken up all kinds of roles, and experimented with almost every genre. But now, Salman Khan says he likes to do “difficult things”. “The idea is also to get fit by jumping around, cycling and doing physically-demanding roles,” he says.
In fact, he is making sure that he takes up projects that challenge him. “When it comes to stories and scripts, I like to try out difficult things nowadays. But when that time [to really do all those things] comes, it becomes difficult (laughs). Mentally [before taking such films up], I tell myself that I will do the role. But [when I’m doing it] physically, I’m like, ‘Arrey yaar (smiles)’,” says the actor, who’s next is a wrestling-based film.
Due to his star status, Salman’s films come with a lot of expectations. But he says he never feels any pressure. “Once I’m done with a film, then I am done with it. I liked it, and that’s why I took it up. You go wrong, too, sometimes. But so far, everything has worked out. People keep speculating that a film will do a business of Rs 200 crore, Rs 300 crore or Rs 500 crore. But no one has any idea about the figures; it’s all foolishness. Also, if a film is expected to break an actor’s last film’s record, and if the movie doesn’t do that, it is made out to be a flop, despite earning profits,” he says.
Salman insists that even if a film flops, the effect of that failure should be “lessened as much as possible”. He adds, “If it has to flop, it (the effect of the loss) should be as little as possible. Jai Ho (2014) did a business of Rs 138 crore with a ticket price of Rs 200. On weekdays, the price per ticket was Rs 100. But since we didn’t publicise this fact, people said, ‘Is that the only business?’ But Rs 138 crore is a huge number. How many films touch that kind of a figure? Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015) made Rs 238 crore, but since it didn’t make as much money as Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), the perception is that it flopped, when actually it didn’t.”
Bollywood’s number game
Salman’s films have repeatedly registered massive box-office collections. Ask him if the industry is obsessed with huge box-office figures, and he says, “I think it happens with others too, as everyone wants to play the number game. And that’s the reason why ticket prices are going higher. If ticket prices are low, you will get a smaller amount in return, but footfalls will be higher. But no one wants to take that kind of risk.”
Salman admits that they took “that risk” with Jai Ho (2014). “We thought, ‘If we have to hit the Rs 200 crore mark, we will do with Rs 200 ticket, and not with expensive tickets.’ But it didn’t touch that figure. We will try that again with some other film as the ticket prices should come down. Numbers (box-office earnings) are increasing, but footfalls are decreasing. I don’t want that to happen,” he says.
Salman’s social network
Salman feels actors should use social media to connect directly with their fans. “We have so many people on digital platforms, and that will get us ten times more coverage and reach as compared to magazines and papers. That’s what we (Salman and his team) are doing; we are starting it (Salman’s new social media accounts) for something noble and good. It will be related to what we are seeing on Twitter nowadays — fans of all the stars fighting with one another,” he says.