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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Salman Khan gets candid


Check out Salman’s interview with a leading Indian daily. He gets quite candid and talks about anything under the sun!!

Is your public image one that’s built by the media?

Yes, obviously.

Is it the reality?
You know, every time, every time, there’s one question that’s put to me. And that is – ‘Why are you so misunderstood?’ ‘We know you are not like that, but why are you so misunderstood?’ – now what is that? ‘We hear about you from your friends, your friends swear by you’ – so isn’t that enough? I ask them, why do you want to hear about me from my enemies, from people I don’t even know? And the same questions keep coming back, again and again and again. The last twenty years I have been replying to this – ‘why are you so misunderstood?’ ‘Why do you have this bad boy image?’ Arre maine aisa kya kar diya yaar? If one wants to live his life normally, if one feels that being politically correct is lying, what’s wrong with that? To say to someone on their face, how nice, superb, outstanding, while off the record you almost want to kill that person – I can’t do that.

You’ve said that ‘I am a primitive man in a modern world’. Is that why you don’t have suave publicity led machines to overhaul your image, is that why so many people ‘misunderstand’ you? It must be irritating…
No, I feel sorry for them. I say a lot of meaningful things in jokes, and people don’t understand that. Yes, I am perhaps a primitive man… Maybe that’s why it’s difficult for some people to understand me. Like, I am doing a film called Veer, it’s about men giving their word and sticking by it. I’ve written the script. And I realise there’s no way I could have based it in today’s time, so I had to base the film in the 18th century. But that is my thinking. I may be totally off, but it’s worked for me so far.

Does the media projection engage you mentally, or does it get off your mind occasionally at least?
I honestly couldn’t care beyond a point. I’m only speaking on it because you asked me. I’ve been around for the longest time, it’s not because of anything else, it’s because of the work I do, and because of my connect with the people. Yeh nahi that I am a media-created person. ‘Wow! Family man! Super guy!’ – while everybody knows ki kya kiya hai isne. With me, it’s not that way. Jitna bhi media has tried to destroy my image – brat, rash, gets into fights, yeh problem, woh problem, all that stuff – they also seem to have the funda of balance karte raho. So the standard clichés – bad boy, but with a heart of gold. Then, yet, again, the standard question – ‘why are you so misunderstood?’

Perhaps the most visible story concerning you in the year gone by was the fight with SRK. You don’t speak about it. How would the media give your perspective, then?

It was blown totally out of proportion. I am asked, kab dosti hogi? Kab maaf karenge…? Arre, hum kaun hain maaf karne waale? He’s living his life very well, I’m living my life very well. We used to be friends. We had one or two problems. Earlier, I sorted it out. Now, it’s like, good, you go on with your life, yaar. I don’t think the way you think. I don’t act the way you act. You have your life, your kids to take care of. I have my life. You have your set of producers, your friends, you do it there, you take care of them, I’ll take care of my side… It’s as simple as that.

There’s no reason for any friction. We’re actors. We’re not into fistfights… and if it happened, that anyways would be a one-sided fight. And they’ll again write more about me! As actors, you do good work, I do good work, that’s it. And he does very good work, yaar. That’s why he’s where he is. He needed to do many things, I didn’t need to do them. But he’s brought an awareness, yeh karo, isse you can take things to a different level. So give the guy credit where it comes, ya? But disrespect is not okay.

Sometimes one gets the impression that people like to prod you the way urchins enjoy pelting things at a lion in a zoo, watching it react. Do you feel that way?

Ya, aisa hi hota hai… kholo na, khol kar dekho sher ko… Arre circus mein sher ko bhi nachate hai. Yeh thodi na ki sher is doing this out of fear or anything. It’s like, okay, come on, bachpan se paala hai… so it goes along. Zara jungle se junglee sher ko le kar circus mein nacha kar dikhao…

The degree of self assurance you bring in perhaps ensures you never attract sympathy. So you’ll obviously generate a sense of insecurity from your competition…

But when do you want sympathy? When you’re down and out, right? Somebody will give you sympathy and say, bechaara, yaar… bull**** bechaara yaar, what bechaara? If someone has to give you a hand, that means you’re down. Who wants that?

KJo recently talked about how the actor in the west is a star only on the red carpet, while in India, he is a star all the time.

See, once you start believing your screen image, you’re dead. Because you’re not going to get this all the time. Whatever you are there for – your youth, the way you look, for your comic timing or your acting talent or whatever – over the years, people will see far too much of it. And so no matter how good you are, at a point, you will look repetitive. And you’re out. Somebody else comes in. At that point, can you handle it?

Aren’t you yourself addicted to this lifestyle?
Till the time it’s there, it’s there. When it’s not there, it’s not there. I don’t have a complicated lifestyle.

If this is any evidence, you seem to be carrying a very basic mobile handset – it costs like six or seven thousand rupees…

Ya. I told you I’m a primitive man…! Primitive man means, jo hai so hai, this is the way I am. Pehle survival of the fittest tha, physically. Abhi survival of the fittest hai, mentally. I don’t qualify for the physical thing, I don’t qualify for the mental thing.

I believe jisne aapko izzat di, aap usko izzat do. Aap kisiko izzat kyun dete ho? Kyunki aap ko izzat chahiye. Agar aap kisi se tu-tadak se baat karenge, toh woh bhi aap se waise hi baat karega. Agar aap kisi ko liberties doge, toh woh liberties lega. It is in your hands, how much respect you command. Log respect demand karte hain, I try and command it. Not as Salman Khan the star, but as a person, as a human being. I met Mohnish (actor Mohnish Behl) recently and he said, you remember what you said to me while we were shooting for Maine Pyar Kiya? I said, what? And he said, remember, you insisted we’ll never ask for a chair. If a chair is there and is offered to us, we’ll sit. But we won’t ask for a chair. Who asks for a chair? That means you’re nobody. Small, small things in life teach you, yaar.

Is that an angst issue among your critics, that you’ve managed to be there and stay there, despite not being part of the system?

Maybe. They make me out to be some sort of social misfit! But you see me with the people. See me with the mothers, the grandmothers, the fathers, the grandfathers, the children, the teenagers, people from small towns, poor people, rich people – I don’t think anybody else has that connect. So are they all misfits? The journalists who describe me that way are the only true people? What happens all the time? Someone writes a story on me. Salman Khan phir se takleef mein. Salman Khan phir pareshaan. People pick it up and say, yaar, ab kya ho gaya? So someone’s sold one extra paper, someone’s got an extra TRP. That is how important I am for the media. There was a time when it wasn’t like this. But now, it’s almost the norm.

What makes you happy?
Everything makes me happy. Every single moment of life makes me happy. Because everything is going to pass, I may as well enjoy it.

So you don’t regret the big ‘image’ issue?
It really can’t change too much. My life doesn’t depend on the media. When I’m not there at the top, and if God wills that I am a huge disaster, a flop, I will like to see how the media will build me. The media tried to break me, good. If one day I’m actually broken, they can try to build me – and if God doesn’t want me to be back, how can they, or anyone, do that, I want to see. This is the basic thing that people don’t understand… Arrey, I am society, yaar! Ninety nine point nine per cent people of this country are not stars. You see the biggest businessmen in the country, they are the humblest people. Why do the stars have this arrogance, this attitude? Why, because they look a particular way? Arrey, you’re not responsible for the way you look, man, God has made you that way. He’s put you into that position. But don’t start believing that you’re God.

You have the reputation of a very reflex-led person. Jo dil mein aaya, kar diya, jo hoga dekha jaayega…
Aisey koi itna galat karta hi nahi. Kuch ho gaya, toh phir hota hai ki ‘Oh yaar, yeh ho gaya, kya karein, chalo, baat clear kar dete hain. Itna hi hai. Like sometimes you say things that you don’t mean. And you realise, arrey, yeh toh hurt ho gaya, but I didn’t mean it this way. I call up and say, sorry, I crossed the line yesterday. Khatam. Life is too long to hate, yaar…

So how do you find Sallu’s feelings?


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