The USP of ‘Dabangg’ was my role of corrupt Police Officer Chulbul Pandey, his characterization of Robin Hood, and my moustache — Salman Khan

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24, 2010 (Sampurn Wire): The blue blooded temperamental and hottest star Salman Khan’s journey, from ‘Biwi ho Toh Aisi’ to ‘Dabangg’, of two decades and two years has been quite a checkered one; quite eventful and at times, quite painful. Yet, he braved it all with a smile on his face, sometimes withdrawing in his own well protected cocoon, sometimes by getting angry and venting out his frustration on one and all, incurring the wrath of the media and the public on many occasions. Currently riding high on the wave of success with ‘Dabangg’s, Salman Khan has proven that his magic on the people is long from over. Happy and content with the genuine success of the movie, as stated and proven by the entire trade media, Salman Khan talks to SAMPURN WIRE’s SHAHEEN RAAJ about the journey ‘Dabangg’ and more.

Are you overwhelmed by the super success of ‘Dabangg’?

You bet. To say that we were not sure about its runaway success would not be correct. But you never know what lies in store. On our part we had tried to put everything straight; the script, the theme bordering on the rustic milieu, the treatment, the huge production value in lieu with new debut making heroine Sonakshi Sinha and a new director Abhinav Kashyap to hold the entire directorial reigns. I am making a reference as ‘We’ because it may sound clichéd but yes it was our entire team’s kadi mehnat.

After the unexpected debacle of ‘Veer’ it is Arbaaz Khan’s ‘Dabangg’ which has brought you back into the limelight, given you a new lease of life. Comment.

Yeah! You are right, you can say that. In fact everyone can say that and I totally agree with them that Arbaaz with his ‘Dabangg’ has once again done wonders for me. But to say that it has brought me back into reckoning or given me a second lease of life is wrong. I totally disagree with you on this count as I had not gone anywhere or disappeared into oblivion. But of course it has given me one more most wanted ‘Hit’ after my last ‘Hit’ Boney Kapoor’s ‘Wanted’ and of course after the debacle, mind you not declared by me but all you media guys, of my most ambitious and very, very close to my heart film ‘Veer’.

Is it right to give all the credit to Arbaaz Khan, don’t you think it’s the other way round that your star value has added to the success of ‘Dabangg’?

For once I am thankful to you and the entire media for still thinking that I am a star. I am honored. But still frankly and honestly speaking ‘Dabangg’ was totally Arbaaz’s brainchild and he had the guts to go ahead with it and repose his complete faith in me to carry on and live up to his and the director’s and the complete team’s expectation.

But did the debut making director Abhinav Kashyap live up to everyone’s expectation?

Oh! Come on. Don’t you think that the unexpected success of ‘Dabangg’ itself proves the fact that Abhinav Kashyap has done full justice to ‘Dabangg’ and in spite of this being his debut directorial effort? For me he has given off his 100% to ‘Dabangg’ and turned it into a blockbuster that it truly deserves to be. I think he has a natural flair for direction just as we untrained actors have a natural flair for acting. So much so that we are already planning ‘Dabangg’s sequels. And why not if just ‘Dabangg’ can be such a huge hit at the box office cash counters then I am sure that ‘Dabangg 2’ and its following sequels will also repeat history. No doubt ‘Dabangg’ itself is creating quite a nightmarish frenzy wherever I go especially amongst my female fans the likes of which was never seen or heard before.

So what according to you is the USP of ‘Dabangg’?

The USP of ‘Dabangg’ I think everything. But let me be modest enough to claim that it was my role of a corrupt police officer Chulbul (Robin Hood) Pandey’s, with shades and tinge of comic interludes, characterization that has done the trick. Aur thodasa credit main apni moochon ko bhi dena chahoonga (I would like to give a little bit of credit to the moustache..) which I have sported in the movie. But I don’t remember it if I have done it for the first time or after a long, long time. Then of course the other USP of ‘Dabangg’ is the Bindaas direction of Abhinav Kashyap, the high voltage foot tapping music and songs scored by Sajid – Wajid whom I always consider as my lucky mascots since ‘Muhjse Shaadi Karogi?’ days. I don’t think the audiences will forget Malaika’s item song ‘Munni Badnaam Hui Darling Tere Liye!’ in a hurry. Not to forget my darling heroine Sonakshi Sinha who came across as such a natural and ‘Dabangg’, this literally means a powerful – hardcore – rough - tagda - majboot, performer. She has literally lived up to my film’s title ‘Dabangg’ with very few dialogues and just the expression conveyed through her badi badi jheel si aankhen.

To what else would you attribute the huge success of ‘Dabangg’?

Surprisingly it was Arbaaz who pointed this out to me that for the first time it has happened on an Eid festival that our film ‘Dabangg’ was a solo release. Otherwise there is always a cluster of films released during every Indian festival. Maybe this helped it to be such an unexpected huge hit.

Moving away from ‘Dabangg’ to something a little more… shall we say… spicy? Why do you think you have this love and hate relationship with the media?

Main kahoonga ki iske liye bhi aap log hi zimmedaar hai! Sach bataoon toh… (I’d say that you guys are responsible for this too! To tell you the truth…) I hate the media only when they sometimes or rather always put me on the wrong footing. But I also love the media because they always help me to promote my upcoming films so well that sometimes they become blockbusters and here I am not talking about my films like ‘Veer’ but my films like ‘Dabangg’.

Fair enough. So is it that controversies follow you wherever you go or you fall into controversies by being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

Don’t you think you media guys are responsible for this part of my life too? The media always labels me, tags me with varied epithets like destiny’s favorite controversial child, temperamental star et al and the height of atrocity is that they also have the guts to call me media’s favorite whipping boy! But never mind that. First of all let me clear a few myths that have been nonchalantly attributed to me. For i.e. my temperamental mood swings or my so called aversion to interact with the media. To the first I would say that regardless of any consequences, every creatively involved person is moody and so am I. But that certainly does not mean that I am a typical ‘Khadoos’, a colloquial word for ‘arrogant’ in a typical Bambaiyya language. It’s just that I am very reserved and fail to open up very fast. But my near and dear ones, my co-stars and my friends will vouch for the fact that I am the biggest prankster, a jovial person, a cool dude, yet very reluctant to share even breathing space with strangers, and yes, sometimes even my fans become the victims of my aloofness. To the second I would say that I never hated the media and neither do they hate me. In fact, I am highly indebted to them, as whenever I have highly deserved it, I have unfailingly got my overdue share of their critical appreciation too. But, of course, we are always at loggerheads as far as my personal life is concerned. In this regard I would say that I have been manipulated and even duped. Whenever I have bared my heart and my soul in good faith I have always ended up getting misquoted with facts distorted beyond redemption. So what’s the point? I feel as at the end of the day they write what they want. And this allegation is strictly towards the tribe who unabashedly resort to the hitting below the belt kind of yellow journalism. Even off late, I feel like clarifying so many uncalled for controversies, which I don’t have to spell out for one and all. But will they allow me to speak the truth once and for all and represent the ad verbatim facts in complete faith? I am practical I guess. So the best way out is that I refrain from talking to the media, especially the journos whom I have never met.”

Recently Ahmed Khan, the choreographer, narrated a very humorous incident regarding the Filmfare Awards, which made me believe that quite like Aamir Khan, even you have an allergy as far as Award Ceremonies are concerned?

I not only have an aversion towards awards but also towards stage shows. I am not very comfortable strutting around my wares on stage or even dancing away to my topless glory in all those award functions where they never gave me an award, not even a consolation trophy even once. Just kidding! But I still do perform in award ceremonies. And when they try to offer me a trophy now as part of a performing act, I refuse point blank to do so as I believe and I have more interest in charging them for a performance. In fact I threaten them mockingly with dire consequences if they offer me a trophy ever again by adding that if they have spare ones please send me half a dozen so that I can change all the door knobs of my house.

Do you miss the people who have gone out of your life or with whom you have had a fall out with?

I don’t want to talk about people who have gone out of my life. I have had a major fall out only with Shah Rukh Khan with whom I am never going to reconcile. Yes! The twain shall never meet… Besides, he was not my girlfriend so why should I ever miss him?

Are you aware that a Tamil film producer B. K. Krishnan is in the process of making an autobiographical Tamil film tentatively titled ‘Anna Salman’ based on the life and times of Salman Khan?

All the best to him.

Which are the ten most favorite films that you consider as the milestone of your career?

They are ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’, ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, ‘Tere Naam’, ‘Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya’, ‘Garv’, ‘God Tussi Great Ho’, ‘Wanted’, ‘Veer’ and ‘Dabangg’.

Would you care to throw some light on your forthcoming films?

They are, in alphabetical order, ‘Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai’, ‘Faltu’, ‘My Love Story’, ‘ ’ and ‘Tom And Jerry’ which is a sequel of ‘Partner’. Arre haan yaad aaya! There will be ‘Most Wanted’ a sequel of ‘Wanted’ besides sequels of ‘Dabangg’.

– Shaheen Raaj / Sampurn Wire

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