New Delhi: Forty six year old Salman Khan keeps swiveling his chair like a restless child. Swiveling, much like his mind - one minute the actor is claiming, 'doing a movie with Katrina is a big pakao thing' and the next, he is aggressively talking about a journalist who reported wrong facts - all this, LIVE on national television (CNN-IBN). He needs a gentle reminder by his former girlfriend and 'Ek Tha Tiger' co-star Katrina Kaif every now and then - sometimes to stop swiveling his chair, and at other, to stop swiveling his mind and making statements that could end up scripting headlines the next day. But then, this 'Dabangg' star is used to making headlines. Let's not forget that much before he became the darling of Bollywood's 100 crore club, he'd been in news for his legal wrangles (He was arrested for rash and negligent driving in 2002 when his car rammed into a Mumbai bakery causing the death of one person and injuring three others. 2006 saw him trooping to the court for hunting down the endangered Chinkara.) There were also reports of the star harassing Aishwarya Rai back in 2002 following their break-up.
But that's all history! Ask the thousands of Salman Khan fans who have crowned this star as a superstar and he in turn has proclaimed himself as the champion of Being Human. (By the by, for those interested Noorulla Mahboob Sharif was the name of the man who died on a footpath in 2002 when Salman Khan's car ran over him.) And his fans love him; perhaps, for being fallible like them, for occasionally being in the wrong like them, for being reactionary like them, for being human and hence, not always purely logical like them.
'Kabir (Khan) is in that logical zone, and I think logical zone is boring,' says Salman about the reported difference of opinion between his 'Ek Tha Tiger' director and himself. He goes on to defend his world - 'Everything is logical, but logical in a logical way, on a very larger than life.' Katrina cuts him in at this point (keep reading to find out what Katrina said.)
The film that stars Salman as an Indian spy on the run (who must battle the danger of falling in love in between - or so the promos seem to suggest) is expected to be the star's next big blockbuster. 'My cinema is at the best, most realistic cinema, it's the happiest form of cinema, it's an art, it's an art to see that that the country goes in the correct direction,' Salman defends himself when Katrina questions his logic. It is slightly unnerving to imagine Salman Khan's pot-boilers being the blueprint for the country and the direction it heads in. But let's, for a minute, imagine a world where people take a cue from say Chulbul Pandey of 'Dabangg' - Will all problems be resolved by fights? Will girls be threatened into accepting proposals? (reference to his dialogue: Pyaar se de rahe hai rakh lo warna thapad marr ke bhi de sakte hai) And will we have to have the Munnis to get badnaam?
"Look at 'Ready!' 'Ready' is like a family which is a happy family together. And the other family is a bad family which they convert into good family," Salman explains the goodness in his kind of cinema where everything seems to filter down to monochromes of either black or white, but the grey, grainy and gritty details of the reality seem to be missing. 'For example all my films. You might think that's heroism, I don't think that's heroism, I think that's being normal,' claims Salman. His many larger than life action sequences from his many blockbuster films might be the perfect recipe to get the crowds whistling but that being dubbed as normal is once again, simply unnerving.
Yet to paint him in black and white would be like making the same (and grave mistake) that he seems to have a tendency for. He might seem to be impulsive and reactionary but one cannot ignore the fact that he is a very successful star who not only has a strong clout in the industry but who is also said to be involved in many charitable projects.
He is the kind of star who wears a very casual dark blue shirt, with plain dark blue pants and matches it with a casual, chunky yellow watch but (perceivably) expects to be acknowledged as a superstar. While on one hand, he is known for his mercurial temperament, on the other, he has his friends and team who swear by him (in this case it was a public relations executive who vouched for him being extremely cooperative while promoting the film and one simply couldn't ignore Salman's bodyguard of many years, Shera, who was physically shifty as he ensured everything went smoothly around bhai).
Interestingly, what Katrina Kaif said about his sense of logic when she interrupted him (mentioned earlier in this piece) perhaps best defines the being of Salman Khan - ".logic on a scale as if life was a fairytale and if we could do anything we wanted in life. Life is made of dreams." And who knows what goes around in Salman Khan's dream world!
(Vanita Singh is Associate Features Editor at CNN-IBN)
DISCLAIMER: All quotes are from Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif's interview to CNN-IBN.
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