The Uncomfortable Star
As Salman Khan gears up for the release of his ambitious Veer we catch up with him for his views on topics right from stardom to state of Indian politics, apart from of course Veer! Read on
Ask any celebrity and be sure he will brag miles about loving every bit of the stardom he rides on. And that he does not mind all the attention that comes along. For many of them, a line from Baazigar where Shah Rukh Khan says ‘Kuch Paane Ke Liye Kuch Khona Parta hai’ is survival’s most essential trait. But then exceptions are what make a rule perfect and Salman Khan has always been ‘the exception’. A part of the formidable Khan-trio Salman has always admitted that he was never an actor. And the same attitude continues when he talks about his much talked about star status.
In a short tete-a-tete with us Salman agrees he never wanted to live like a star, and neither did he want to be one. “I just want to live a normal life. I don’t want to live a star’s life. I want to ride my bicycle and travel in rickshaws. I want to live the way I want to, and talk like everyone does, without being politically correct. If you guys want me to do be a star I can’t!” says Salman about his assuming behaviour which has often created controversies. And he even rules out that he has been controversy’s favourite child. “I am not . You are making me. I am relaxed but the media is hassled. They just make stories!” he adds.
In Salman’s talks of being the ordinary guy there is also a childlike simplicity, and to some extent almost an idealist attitude. Stories of simple honest men appeal to him. Fairy tales appeal to him too. That’s why probably when he picked the pen to write something the characters that inspired him were nothing but similar. The actor has earlier written Baaghi which featured Nagma and himself in the lead. He is also credited with the story of the Sridevi film Chandramukhi. And as he got down to write again the best era he could get was the 19th century when people, according to him, were good. “I think human beings were more correct back then. The last of them would be Mr Gandhi,” he says. Veer Pratap Singh, the character that he plays in his forthcoming film Veer had to be set in those times. In unabashed honesty he adds that his movie is about real men and real men are not found anywhere today.
On la lighter vein, of course he does admit that living in today’s circumstances make each person nothing but a ‘veer’. “At times when going out to the Taj or Oberoi for a dinner can be so dangerous, everyone is a veer! Today if you go out of the house you are veer and the same applies if you stay indoors. You are a veer if you do something or if you don’t. Times are such!” he quips. And this, the actor laments, is because the attitude of the average Indian is not helping in anyway. “Indians have become very indifferent today. If we know one person is getting beaten up or had an accident you will stand and look on or pass by but never help. What’s worse if people don’t even react if they go through tough times themselves. We are too content thinking things could be worse!” says Salman. “The day every person stands up and takes responsibility for the country we will see a change. The country is moving too,” he adds.
And for all of these dreams, he admits, we need a better breed of politicians. He does agree there are great people like Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Jyotiraditya Scindia working for the better. But unlike many other stars who have used their charisma and contested to win in election Salman is more content campaigning for certain people rather than getting down into the rot himself. “I am happy with Being Human, my own little effort. I don’t want to get into politics. It is a very difficult country to rule with so many different parties and everybody wanting their own thing,” he says. “Eventually things will work out as soon as the education system gets better and people will go and vote for the right people,” he foretells. Being Human is his foundation which is aimed at helping children and they have silently treated over 400 people with various diseases. The money for all of this comes from what Salman earns. Soon they will also have their own lines of T shirts so that more money flows in. “The T-shirts will be out by March,” says an excited Salman, as he signals indicating we are nearing the end of our conversation.
He promises we shall have more talks before each of his movies as he gets along with his other interviews as a part of the promotion of Veer. He sounds as confident of Veer as he sounded of Wanted, which was one of last year’s highest earners. “Aal is well. Watch Veer. It’s turned out to be a nice film,” he signs us off.
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