For Salman Khan, the past few months have been rather busy, with the shoot of Bajrangi Bhaijaan coinciding with an ongoing court case. Now, he is concentrating on the promotions of his upcoming Eid release, which he has also produced. Here, the 49-year-old talks about the experience of donning two hats for one film, a much-younger Varun Dhawan replacing him in a movie, and more.
Did you really recommend Varun for Karan Johar’s next production venture that was initially offered to you?
I didn’t recommend Varun for the film. You can’t recommend anyone. He was the next best choice.
Do you think he is a worthy replacement for you?
Yes, 100%. That is a film I really wanted to do, but I couldn’t take it up... I could have done it later, but they (the makers) wanted to make it now. I am so happy that, for this film, Varun has stepped into my shoes, and he is doing pretty well.
You recently addressed your followers on Twitter, asking them to not show hatred towards any of your contemporaries…
There is no reason for any animosity or hatred for anybody. In fact, that’s what my upcoming film is all about. When you work on a film, you do so because the character you are playing is a lot better than you are in real life. When the film is over, you will be a fool to not take away elements of the character that you played with so much passion, seriousness and love. Why can’t we achieve in reality what that character can achieve on screen? So, it’s about time people get over this fiasco (his altercation with Shah Rukh Khan), and bring on the goodness.
You have turned producer with Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Was it easy handling two roles?
This script, I think, is one of the better scripts that I’ve read. If the actor is someone like me, it’s the easiest thing to be a producer. If the producer is someone like me, it’s the easiest thing for the actor. Anyway, we finished the film on time, and the work was good.
Salman and Kareena pose for a selfie on Bajrangi Bhaijaan sets.
Recently, there were reports that someone from Uttar Pradesh has sent a legal notice with regards to the title of your film, stating that it hurts religious sentiments.
I am not aware of this, and I don’t think anyone can have any problem with such a positive film. I think it’s all made up. I don’t feel caste and religion matter at all in India. We are above it all today. Indians are working towards being open-minded.
Read: Salman and Mika bring you Aaj ki Party
Kareena (Kapoor Khan) did an item song in your brother, Arbaaz Khan's debut directorial venture. Now, she stars in your maiden production. She seems to be a lucky charm for your family...
We have known Kareena for the longest time. I’ve done several films with her older sister (Karisma Kapoor; actor), I’ve done a few films with her husband (Saif Ali Khan; actor). Her grandfather (late Raj Kapoor; actor) and my father were acquaintances, and he had a lot of respect for my father. There’s a long history to our connection.
You’re launching newcomers, Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty, in your next production…
They’re fabulous, and are working really hard in this film. It was my duty as an actor to launch them.