After two years lying low following a string of box office flops, Bollywood's enigmatic "bad boy" Salman Khan is set for a comeback.
After two years lying low following a string of box office flops, Bollywood's enigmatic "bad boy" Salman Khan is set for a comeback, in three new films about to hit the big screen. The first, Wanted, is out on Friday. The comedy Main Aur Mrs Khanna and London Dreams. Khan, 43, said he was confident Wanted would succeed. The movie sees him play a gangster on the run from police including a top cop played by veteran actor Om Puri and from fellow gang members who want him dead.
"It's the script of the film," he said. "It has all the ingredients of a Bollywood potboiler. When I read the script, I was 100 percent sure that it will click." Salman Khan has been a controversial figure since he broke into Bollywood in the late 1980s in the family drama Biwi Ho To Aisi and the romance Maine Pyar Kiya.
He cemented himself as one of Bollywood's leading stars with hits such as Bhaaghi, Patthar Ke Phool, Saajan and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun in the 1990s. But in 1998, he spent more than a week in prison for killing a blackbuck in Rajasthan. Four years later he was alleged to have killed a man in a drink-driving case in Mumbai.
After the runaway success of 2003's Tere Naam, the last five years have seen more misses than hits for him, yet he has kept his high profile. He has also made an appearance on small screen with Dus Ka Dum. Khan, with his trademark slicked-back hair, two gold earrings and t-shirts designed to show off his bulging biceps, puts down his appeal to a lack of pretence.
"I don't behave like a star when I'm on television. I look like a common man and also behave like them, therefore the serial is popular," he said. Asked what went wrong with his career in the last two years, he added: "I feel it was the length of the films that went against me. Today, Indian audiences don't have the patience for long films and therefore the films flopped because they were lengthy films."
Khan's three new films have been accompanied by a blizzard of pre-publicity, astounding the Indian media who have become accustomed to their requests for interviews falling on deaf ears or being accepted only reluctantly.
"I have realised that it is important to talk to the media," said Khan. "I feel if I keep silent, the media starts inventing stories about me, so it is better that I come out and talk on what kind of person I am rather than they telling others what kind of person I am." others what kind of person I am."