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Monday, June 20, 2016

Exclusive: Salman Khan Opens His Heart On His Filmy Career

By M H AHSSAN | INNLIVE

Shah Rukh Khan's role as the Team India coach Kabir Khan in the hockey drama Chak De! India (2007) earned the superstar rave reviews.

But several years down the line, it emerged that SRK was not the first choice for the role - director Shimit Amin had previously approached Salman Khan. But Salman turned down the part, and Amin took the project to Shah Rukh.
And it is in 2016 - for the first time in his 28-year career - Salman is finally stepping into the ring with a sports movie: Yash Raj Films' Sultan, which releases on Eid, 6 July.

Why Sultan, but not Chak De!
Salman says that when he was offered Chak De! He was in a "different zone" and only doing "complete entertainers like Partner".

"My image was totally different," he says, adding with a laugh, "My fans would have wanted me to wear a mini skirt and start playing a hockey match which wouldn't have suited the film! It wasn't my genre yet. Chak De! was a serious film whereas I was doing only commercial cinema at that time - which I still am and will never move out of that format."

"Besides," says Salman, flashing his cheeky side, "Shah Rukh should also get some good roles!"

The superstar adds that Sultan is "the first good sports film that came to me".

What made Salman nervous?
His role in and as Sultan required Salman to wear a langot in several scenes. And despite having stripped his shirt on the big screen on more occasion than one, Salman admits to feeling curiously shy in having to walk out on the sets in such 'brief' attire.

"I can now understand how difficult it is for actresses to wear swimsuits on screen!" Salman had said, during Sultan's trailer launch a while ago.

So bothered was Salman by this particular garment that he would meticulously measure its size before draping it. "It matters! If it is too large or too small it would look ugly. The proportion has to be correct," Salman tells us, on why he was so particular about the costume.

On a more serious note, he adds: "I thought wearing langot would be no big deal, it would be simple. I remove my shirt, I move around in shorts...But when I saw a huge crowd around me during the shoot... I didn't want to lose my mind while filming an important sequence. A huge crowd was pulled in to watch, they had started taking pictures, bodyguards were stopping them. But the pictures of me in a langot were leaked in any case as people entered the shooting spot hiding their cell phones in their under wear! All this was upsetting. People do wear langots when they wrestle, but because I am Salman Khan, an actor, a celebrity, because of all that I felt a bit inhibited wearing it. My only concern was that it should not look vulgar and obscene. I finally didn't think too much about it and walked in confidently for the scene, like a pehelwan (wrestler)."

What gets Salman to say yes? 
Sultan director Ali Abbas Zafar says he wouldn't have made the film had Salman not agreed to star in it, but the superstar doesn't take the comment seriously.

"I have heard this many times and all those films I refused have been made with someone else, for instance, Chak De. Had I refused Ek Tha Tiger, it would have gone to Shah Rukh or Aamir or Hrithik," says Salman, who believes in going by his intuition and says 'yes' only to those scripts that he likes in the first narration. (Incidentally, Baazigar and Josh were also offered to Salman first. The roles went to Shah Rukh when Salman didn't take them up.)

"Whatever I like in the first narration, I do it. If the first narration doesn't excite me then I will never do the film, even if I am forced to hear it again," says Salman. That doesn't include horror films, or explicit content. "I am scared of the horror film genre! No horror, no sex films for me - not yet," he says, unequivocally.

He is currently sporting a new look - short, cropped hair - for his next film with Kabir Khan, Tubelight. Set in the 1950s, Tubelight is scheduled to roll next month in Ladakh and is expected to hit the screens on Eid 2017. The film, which will be Salman and Kabir's third collaboration after Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, is likely to have a Chinese actress.

Competing with Aamir Khan's Dangal:
Recently there were reports that Aamir Khan is a little worried about the competition from Sultan, for his own wrestling biopic Dangal (it is scheduled to release during Christmas week this year).g aloud. "Why will he be scared? Our films are very different and both of us knew we were doing these films. Actually Aamir's movie is way better, his script is outstanding. Given a choice I would have done both."

He adds that he's been "dying" to work with Aamir for the longest time and would love to do the Andaz Apna Apna sequel with his former co-star.

On avoiding a clash with Raees:
SRK's Raees that was previously slated for a release on Eid, was expected to lock horns at the box office with Salman's Sultan. However, this clash was averted, with SRK shifting his release date to 27 January 2017.

Salman feels releasing two big films on the same day is not the right thing to do in the current scenario "where we are short by 25,000 to 30,000 theatres in the country". "We don't have enough theatres and screens; we have just 5,000 screens which get distributed among regional language films as well. We don't have the bandwidth to accommodate two huge films. Such big films should never come together. SRK would want as many prints and so would I. Till the time we don't have 25,000 plus theatres, clashes should not happen," he avers.

Salman explains, "With this ridiculous level of ticket pricing in multiplexes and rates of eatables like samosas and ice-cream sky-rocketing, our Hindi film industry will continue to suffer. Our industry is not growing whereas the regional film industry is in a much better position today. The ticket price has gone so high that our footfalls have reduced and this perhaps will destroy the Hindi film industry very soon.
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