Salman Khan will complete 27 years in Bollywood this year and the actor himself finds it hard to believe how far he has come. “Pata bhi nahin chala 27 saal kaise nikal gaye (I didn’t even realise how 27 years went by). I am very happy with the way things have panned out. I never thought I will get this far. I didn’t know where my life would go. But, touchwood, everything has gone well. I have no complaints,” Salman says.
As he prepares for the release of his new film, Yash Raj Films’ Sultan, he talks about his journey so far, the films he has done, rumours about his marriage with alleged girlfriend, Iulia Vantur, and more.
Your personal life always tends to be in the news.
Since the media doesn’t have anything else to write about, they focus on my personal life.
There’s a lot of curiosity about your marriage. Is it happening?
If I want to talk to my fans about my marriage, I have got my own platform to do that. I have Twitter and Facebook. It wouldn’t be fair for me to speak about this (his marriage) to a particular channel or newspaper, and not to others. Whenever it has to happen, the news will come directly from me.
So, there’s no marriage on the cards right now?
No marriage is happening. At least, it’s not in my head so far.
The speculation about your marriage started when you went to Preity Zinta’s reception with Iulia.
Yes, we did go to that party, but am I not allowed to go anywhere with anybody? So, if I am seen outside with any woman, will I be married off to her? One has to understand one’s responsibility towards a woman. The media keeps saying, “Salman will get married on this date or that date.” But when it (marriage) doesn’t happen, it’s only the girl who suffers. Aise bolke aapne uski izzat ki dhajjiyan hi udaa di (you have stripped her of all her respect).
They (the media) have dishonoured a woman regardless of whether she is an Indian or a foreigner. In such cases, the media gives hope to the woman and puts pressure on me. And this is not good; I also look like an insensitive person, who is not interested in getting married.
Your brother, Sohail Khan, recently lashed out at a reporter for asking your father, Salim Khan, if you are getting married.
Yes, I think Sohail yelled, saying, “What is happening?” My father and Sohail were out for dinner, when someone asked my father, “Is Salman getting married?” My dad didn’t even hear the question, but the mics kept getting shoved into his face. So, Sohail reacted angrily because he was worried about our father’s well-being. What if he had fallen, broken his leg, or dislocated his shoulder due to that commotion? Let them (the reporters) try doing this when I am with my father or my mother... Sohail, in fact, didn’t do anything. When it comes to your family, friends and people who are close to you, they (the media) shouldn’t cross the line.
Will you announce your wedding when it is fixed?
I shouldn’t answer this question clearly. One day I will say, “Yes, I am getting married.” The next day, I’ll say, “No, I am not.” One day, I will say I have been married for a long time, and I also have two kids, just like my father said in jest recently; he said I have two kids, named Aamir and Shah Rukh (laughs). And the next day, I will say, “This is none of your business.”
Though your journey has been successful, you have also had some difficult times...
That’s everyone’s journey. If something has happened to me, others might have had faced some other problems. By God’s grace, my parents, brothers and sisters are all hale and hearty. So, other things hardly matter.
Have those tough experiences made you stronger?
I think other people have had tougher experiences in life. So, I am not the right person to comment on that. My journey has been quite a smooth one.
You’ve mentioned earlier that shooting for Sultan was difficult for you.
It is a very difficult film. I trained for two-and-a-half hours every day. I wasn’t training to be a wrestler, but to look like one also, you need to go through the same process. Also, the shoot for the fight scenes would go on all day. So, in a way, the training used to start in the morning and it would go on till night. That was painful (smiles).
Although you have done a variety of roles in the past, the perception is that you are best at commercial potboilers.
All my masala films have also had an emotional backdrop — be it a love story or a father-son equation. They’ve all had some emotional angle. Only hitting people or jumping off planes cannot make a film work. It needs to have a gripping story.
Do these perceptions ever bother you?
Not at all. People who make my films work are more important for me. Some of them will like my work and others won’t. Some will like me [in a movie] and others won’t. You just need to work hard enough to get those who don’t like you to start liking you.
Why did you do Sultan when you knew it would be a painful process?
I thought I will be able to bear the pain, and I did. Also, I felt it would help me become fitter. But wrestling is a difficult sport. We did mixed martial arts (MMA) as well. The fighting is all real [in the film]. So, I got hurt too. I fought with real MMA fighters. Whenever they used to get an opportunity [during shots], they used to hit me, as if we were really competing (laughs).
Do you identify with your character in your next film?
It is the story of an underdog. The film revolves around my character’s struggle. That’s the best format. For example, most of the kids who qualify for the Olympics are usually poor, they lack nourishment, food and proper equipment. Still, they get that far after making it through school, college, state and national level competitions. Look at their dedication and love for the sport; it is commendable.
At this stage of your career, you can do any film. What makes you pick up such challenging roles?
You have to. Even when it comes to my personal choice, I want my hero to look good, and do his best. I want to see how hard he has worked. The harder he works, the more the audience will enjoy [the film]. You need to work hard so that when your fans watch your film, you bring a smile to their faces, and, maybe, even inspire some.
No Eid clash with SRK
They (makers of Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees) must have their own reasons [for moving the release date]. Maybe they aren’t ready with the film; maybe it isn’t an Eid kind of film. Anyway, two big films can’t release on the same day. So, Adi (Aditya Chopra; producer of his next) worked out the dates with them. I wasn’t even in the picture.
While some reports suggest that I will get married on my birthday (December 27), some others say it will happen in October. All those reporters who are writing this stuff should just quit journalism if it (the marriage) doesn’t happen, because all these stories are false. These reports are meant to fool people. I haven’t said anything about it (my marriage). I am getting married only in their minds.
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