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'Salman Khan' Interview By G9 'Divya Solgama'

'Stardom has not hit me yet...' 
- 'Salman Khan' Interview By G9 'Divya Solgama'

'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ is the upcoming Salman Khan flick slated for a Diwali release. It is touted to be a very interesting film and reunites the superstar Khan with his mentor Sooraj Barjatya after a long time. Our Bollywood Guide 'G9 Divya Solgama' had the pleasure of speaking to the protagonist of the movie, “Salman Khan” who talks about his film, personal life and shares a nostalgic incident related to his first hit film ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’.
Salman, first things first it’s been almost one and half decade since you last worked with Sooraj Barjatya. In this span, you have changed from a star to superstar but what changes did you find in this simple filmmaker while working with him for your latest film ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’.
Whenever you improvise in a film with David Dhawan, you have to do it in David’s style or a film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, so it has to be in his style. With Sooraj what happens is that, you got to do a lot in his style, because he already keeps improvising it with lots of humour, character, dialogues, etc. Now in this you have added some of naughtiness in the humour but, in ‘Rajshri’ banner mode, it is very tough. I don’t know if we have gone overboard with it, but I feel we have got bit carried away. So the humour here is not typical Sooraj Barjatya style but, also has little naughty style of mine. The beauty here is, that this is limited to comedy only, the moment it shifts to romance he pulls back with the whole ‘ghar ki aakhon ki sharam’, ‘maan maryada’, the dignity, the principles, etc. That is the romance which he brings in. These tracks are also linked with the brother and sister track, which is witnessed in every home. So in this way everyone is interconnected. Now to handle all these with humor and good romance it is very difficult. Generally, when filmmakers write a film they try to give some message in it, but in the case of Sooraj, when he writes, he just writes a simple tale about brothers and sisters and that message automatically comes out towards the end. The moment you come out of the cinema hall you start thinking that I need to be a correct man, a correct boyfriend, a correct son or a correct brother. My loved ones do not deserve this, they deserve better. You feel like you have come out from a pure and pious type of place. Despite of songs, dance, humour, some double meaning dialogues or romance you still will feel that you have come out from a holy place. It would be waste if people watch a Sooraj Barjatiya film on a DVD as he puts lot of good things in his films. His films should be watched on big screen and that too, with every family member of yours. Like all his good films ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ is also such kind of film which you will love to see over and over again and again. Regarding Sooraj, he is still the same simple person who cares for everyone. The length of ‘PRDP’ was quite long and inspite of that we all felt that it should be maintained as it is. Sooraj said, ‘no yaar!, let the length be restricted so that people don’t find it long’. I replied back saying that we saw the film (I usually fall asleep in my films) and liked it, let the audience enjoy the beautiful moments. Sooraj insisted on keeping it same length as of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and said ‘after the night show I don’t want people to be late for dinner or if they watch it after dinner it will be so late that they might not get bus or train to reach home, there will be fog in north India’. So he reduced the length of the film keeping in mind the small problems of his viewers. This is Sooraj Barjatya, the same old caring and loving person.

Salman, what was your instant reaction on the first day of shoot for your film ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’.
When I heard the script and came to know that it will be directed by Sooraj Barjatya, I told him ‘Sooraj Babu this movie is a big one’. Even on the first day of shoot when I reached there and saw the atmosphere I again told him ‘this movie is a big one’. He replied back ‘arey do a shot at least’, I smiled and assured him ‘Sooraj Babu this movie is a big one’.

Salman, many of your fans love the action in your films. ‘Bajrangi Bhaijan’ was a softer film in comparison to your earlier ones. So will your fans get to see some ‘Dhishum Dhishum’ in ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ as it’s choreographed by British action director Greg Powell.
The action in ‘PRDP’ is like a poetry. When you see the film, the way it’s shot, is just like a poetry. Greg Powell and his team also came here thinking there will be some grand action but there were just two sequences which are beautifully shot just like a beautiful song. If you have noticed properly, Sooraj’s negative characters in his films are weak and kiddish. He cannot think of writing any hard core negative characters and ended up giving us Mohnish Behl in ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ who used to hit pigeon, Bindu in ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ used to gossip or those three stylish aunties from ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. Any other director would have got some big hunks or vamps to glorify the negative characters. So action in Sooraj’s films in comparison to other films is just like a beautiful poetry.

Salman, out of all your film characters ‘Prem’ is the most loved one. Do you feel it’s due to the real life connection you have with your family. Also, being a family man how do you deal with the troublesome situations.
Well regarding the troublesome situations, I don’t deal with them, my father does. Fortunately, we have not faced anything serious as even a small thing is solved right there and then itself. Touch wood, we have been lucky in that case. We hang out in a big family, due to which you understand the humour, you understand what level one can drag a joke which families won’t mind and which is not disrespectful. If it’s happening in your house, it’s happening in anyone else’s house. Usually, people get scared and they try and show different side of theirs’ in the movies. The way I am at home with my family I am exactly the same in outside world. I understand all the stardom and fanfare, but that guy on screen has nothing to do with me. It’s my job, I do my work, my films do well and I am still the same sitting outside my van or living in my farm. That stardom has not hit me yet and I hope it doesn’t hit me ever. I do have a serious look on my face but that’s to keep unwanted people away from me. If I behaved like Sooraj or Prem from ‘PRDP' or even Pavan from ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ people will take undue advantage of me. They would physically over pamper me which was happening from long time, people used to pull my cheeks or spoil my hair style. Yaar it’s been twenty seven years please have some respect towards me. So that is how that look came in existence, at home I don’t have that serious looks and this is what is real Salman Khan which connects properly with Prem from Sooraj’s films.

Lastly, Salman kindly share with us the incident on how did Sooraj sign you for your first hit film ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’.
No, no I approached Sooraj Barjatiya. Actually, there were three different lot of people who had recommended my name to Sooraj. There was this girl named Shabhana with whom I had worked in an AD film, she went to do screen test for the heroine’s role and at that time she asked Sooraj, who have you taken as a hero. Sooraj informed her that Deepak Tijori and Manoj Kumar’s son Kunal Goswami were tentatively finalized. So in return she recommended by name saying that I have worked with this guy Salma Khan, who is writer Salim Khan’s son, you should try him. Later my dad’s assistant Raj knew Guptaji at the Rajshri banner and he also recommended my name. Then there was a writer who gave me a script narration which I thought was a ridiculous script and thus, refused it. As soon as he went back he told another friend of his about my reaction to his script, now that writer friend also felt the same about the bad script. So he understood my perspective and went on recommending me to the writer of Rajshri banner that there is this young actor who is also Salim Khan’s son and has good sensibilities of film making. So these three people recommended me and then I went there for story narration. I thought Sooraj will narrate me a villager’s role but when he started narrating the script of ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. At that time I realized that there is neither dhoti nor village in this film instead, has fast car, bikes, jacket in it. For the first time I am not seeing any Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Kumar Gaurav or Jackie Shroff in this film, all I saw was myself playing the role of Prem in this film. As soon as the story narration was over I cheerfully told him ‘Sooraj, superb man we will make a great film together’. He instantly replied back ‘but, Salman I have not signed you yet as we have short listed Deepak Tijori and Kunal Goswami’. I realized that this movie will not happen and thus went back to my struggling times. Producer K.C Bokadia’s associate Suresh Bhagat was starting a film which almost every young actor had refused it. So when I walked in they asked me, “It’s a small role. Will you do it? “Out of desperation, I said, ‘yes’. They did all the signing formalities and gave me a VHS of a regional film and told me to watch it for my part in the film. When I saw the film, I realized that the film is damn good but my role is hardly there. I had no choice rather than doing this film as had no work. 

Now, out there in Rajshri banner, I had also done a screen test for which I had taken a friend Farah Khan who was a bad dancer at that time (jokingly laughs). Farah trained me for a front somersault and few dance steps. When we went for the screen test, I was asked to dance on a song. When I danced, I was dancing like Jackie Shroff and at that time Farah got so angry and told me to do it properly or else I will lose the film. She also changed the sides and told Sooraj not to cast me in the film (jokingly laughs). When Farah went away, Sooraj made me do some steps with Guitar and also recite some dialogs. Sooraj showed this screen test to his cousins Charu and Chanda, they were highly impressed with me and insisted Sooraj to sign me. When Sooraj came to sign me I was doing my epic film ‘Biwi Ho Toh Aisi’, I explained to Sooraj how I, landed in this film. He said, “No problem, we will come first”, I told him this movie is almost complete. Sooraj went and spoke to his father and came back to say that it does not matter and told me that you were damn good in the test thus we changed our decision and want to cast you for ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. Once ‘Biwi Ho Toh Aisi’ got completed I saw the rushes. At that night I called up Sooraj and told him to look for another hero as I felt I was not up to the mark, still I asked the makers to show him the film so that he can remove me from the film and take someone else. Sooraj saw the film and told me that the film is good and will do very well. I told him that’s my biggest fear is that many people will see it and after that they will see ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, they won’t enter the theater looking at me. Sooraj consoled me and said you are Prem of ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, this is not you. Let this film happen, even if it does well or fare bad it won’t affect you. Just imagine a nineteen year old boy had the maturity and had the spunk to cast another nineteen year old guy in a film when Rajshri banner was down and out. Their highest budget film was forty lakhs and then ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ cost them one crore twenty lakhs. So just imagine, what Sooraj Barjatya must’ve done to ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ in terms of its scale and budget. 


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