Maine prove kiya
HE may not be as busy as Shahrukh Khan. Nor is he as pricey as Aamir Khan. In fact, even Govinda and Akshay Kumar are charging more than him. But when it comes to reliability, there’s none to beat him.
That’s Salman Khan’s reputation in Bombay today.
Right from his very first film, Maine Pyar Kiya, down to Andaz Apna Apna. Saajan, Jeet, Judwaa, Karun Arjun and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, this guy is a winner. And his latest Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya has been declared the biggest hit of 1998. “It’s just that I like to let my hair down,” says the star, anxious to deflect all praise. “If you watch my performance closely in Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, you’ll notice that I am actually doing a take-oil on Shakti Kapoor.”
Warming up to the argument, be explains: “When Shakti goes for all those eye-rolling hysterical antics, it seems as if a film comedian is doing his usual number. But when a hero does it, the audience is surprised... pleasantly.” Salman has a point. Cool comedy does appear to be his forte. Yet, he has sedulously built up an image of a dashing lover boy and is extremely conscious of his physique. No Bollywood star is as much of a fitness freak as he is, but he does not want to project himself as an action hero.
“See, every actor today seems to have his own identity, whether it is Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Sunny Deol, Ajay Devgan, Govinda, Akshaye Khanna or me. Directors know whom they should approach for what kind of role. I think, I am approached for roles which are a bit romantic, a bit modern and happening, a bit wild and a bit serious. Probably, it has a lot to do with the kind of person I am. Or that is how I imagine myself to be.”
In this comedy has obviously no role to play. “I’ll leave that to Govinda,” he shrugs. “He is amazing, really. He can make everyone in the audience, whether they are kids or grandpas, break into either tears or laughter.” Nor for Salman are those “heavy duty” Devdas, Mughal-eAzam, Zanjeer and Deewar kind of roles. “An actor should always play parts that suit his personality,” he quips. “I have always tried to be natural — cry the way I would and laugh the way I would in real life.” This explains why his performances never look laboured. The lover-next-door of Maine pyar kiya and Hum aapke hain kaun seemed understated and gallant enough to allow his leading ladies, at points to steal the show from right under his nose.
And that’s in sync with his credo: “I’ll always be the way I am so that audience expectations won’t become a heavy cross to bear. Otherwise, acting could become too tiresome. I don’t want to do anything just because the other guys are doing it. I don’t want to prove a point.”
Such statements have often been misinterpreted as a show of arrogance, leading the media to give him a brat-boy image. “Aaah, they are welcome to their opinions,” he retorts. “I don’t need to tell them I am a nice guy. I am what lam.”
He does’t even hedge when asked about his recent arrest for allegedly killing black bucks in the forests near Jodhpur. He could conveniently say that the case is sub-judice. but he just refuses to talk about it because he does not want to. And what about the bad vibes with some of his heroines? The buzz is he did not get along too famously with Kajol on the sets of Pyar kiya to darna kya. And Twinkle Khanna? He had verbally abused her in public on the sets of Jab pyar kisise hota hai.
“Forget such idle chatter,” he says dismissively. “I think Twinkle is a very hardworking girl. Kajol is also sincere and dedicated. Would I say such nice things about my heroines if I do not get along with them?”
(Arun Roy, Maharaja Features)