Salman talks about the unsure feeling of the initial days of courting, his impending fatherhood, booze, blogs and of course, Veer, his movie slated to release on January 22, 2010.
Why did you wait so long to execute your concept (of Veer)?
Just felt this is the right time…
Don't you feel the shelf life of Bollywood films has decreased?
Yes, you're right. The shelf has decreased what with all the MP3 downloads and other technological things. But on the other hand, the revenues have increased, thanks to multiplexes. What Sholay made in five years can be made today in a month!
When did the idea of Veer come to you?
Long back, when I was actually aiming to be a director.
What's Veer basically about?
Veer apart from many other things, is based on the relationship between a father and a son. I believe a father and son should be the best of friends. I remember when once my paper went very bad … I ran away from home…too afraid to face my father (Salim Khan). When he came to know of it, he just said what's happened is happened. You can't change it, try not to repeat and now concentrate on making the best of your vacation. Enjoy it to the fullest.
When did this incident happen?
I guess, when I was in the sixth or seventh standard. At that time I had shifted from Scindia to Stanislaus so I had missed a lot of my portion. Therefore I found it difficult to cope …
Don't you feel, you are missing this father-son relationship in your life?
I am…now. But that'll happen in my life. Don't you want me to be a father?
Yes of, course. And we think you'll make a good father…
Good father definitely. Good husband…I'm not sure.
You are tagged controversy's favorite child…
I'm not. It's you people who make me that. When I do a mistake, you people say- Daalo daalo Salman ko jail mein daalo(Throw salman in jail). And later it's you only who go- Nikaalo nikaalo Salman ko jail se nikaalo (get Salman out of jail). So you see, it's you, who made me controversy's favorite child.
Was it a learning experience in jail?
Yes, in jail you learn you did something wrong.
Are you upset about the speculations made by the media?
It's okay if you are writing about something that's true. But, sometimes, I'm just walking and talking with someone and then the news comes out that something is brewing between the two of us. No, it's pretty unfair because at that time I'm just trying to get to know someone. I'm unsure whether it would click. And even if I fall in love, if it's going to work. And if it works out, then whether it's for a lifetime that only time can tell. But even before friendship can be struck, you people write all this. It makes things awkward between the two of us. Probably then a chance is not given at all to find out if something can work out…
Like Veer, any difficulties you had to tolerate in real life?
Yes, the media.
Yupp, I'm tolerating you guys na…
Common! What makes you say that?!
It's true. I want to live a normal life whereas you pressurize me to be politically correct.
Those days, we were covered only by film magazines. So we were like- Oh god, are they going to put this now in the next month's issue? Then we had the very nervous twenty days or so of wondering and being troubled. But now, the pressure is worse. It's breaking news on news channels man! Switch on the television in the morning and there I am- Yeh dekhiya Salman ne Sonyali ke muh pe coke giraya(Look, Salman threw coke on Sonyali's face). And then it goes on in slow motion and re-rewinds.
You want me to behave like a star. But I am what I am. I don't want this AC car. I want to ride my bicycle in the morning, go to the beach…
Since you're playing a warrior, what physical training did you undertake for Veer?
I had stopped weightlifting. I just concentrated on push-ups and crunches. I also exercised my legs a lot.
We heard you had stopped consuming alcohol during the whole time you were shooting for Veer…
No no! I drank lots of alcohol.
Like Veer, say you had to choose between responsibility and love, then what would you choose?
Depends on how much I love. And how much the responsibility is that I have to shoulder. But I think responsibility will eventually take over.
You've adopted the technique of blogging to connect to your fans…
Yes, I'm enjoying this blogging thing a lot!
Most celebs have teams take care of such things. So is it truly you writing Salman?
(Laughs)Yes. It's me. All that is in the blog comes straight from my heart. Whatever I feel here (pokes at his left chest) is straight out there (on the blog page). If you read my blog, then you'll find the lingo very simple. No Dilip Kumarji would read my blog. No Nobel Prize winner would read my blog. My fans are the one's who'd read it, isn't it?
I want to talk to my fans. I don't want to show them off my English language skills. So I have not used many flowery words in it (smiles). I know there are some people who sit with dictionaries open on their laps and find big big words to use in their blog. But according to me, if you concentrate too much on the language, you tend to deviate from the true topic.
How was it working with newcomer Zarine Khan?
It was a lovely experience, working with both Zarine Khan and Liza Lasarus. (Looks at a male journalist) Don't you wanna be in my shoes?
Was Zarine asked to put weight just for the film?
Yes, it was to suit the character in the film. Those days, women had quite a round figure. They were not plump but they were healthy. You know hatti-katti (strong).
Which are your favorite period films?
I like many… hmm…let me think…I guess you can take down Lawrence of Arabia and Spartacus.
What makes a person a true fighter?
The capacity and capability of not fighting. Look at the situation and back off.
So you mean, one should give up?
No…don't give up. Give yourself in (to the battle).
Reporter and Author: Susan Jose