He is a man of his own moods; he is unpredictable, brutally honest and wears his heart on his sleeve. Meet the Salman Khan you never knew…
Salman Khan is rejuvenated and raring to go even after almost five hours of media interaction. This 40 plus actor seems to be getting younger with every birthday, fitter and more fab every time I meet him. Is it the glow of love or the joy of taking centrestage after letting the spotlight linger a little too long on his arch rival Shahrukh Khan? The otherwise intimidating Khan was at his animated best during the launch of his TV show Bigg Boss – Saath 7, and the man who gets women weak-kneed with his mere presence was singing, doling out jaadu ki jhappi’s and even had some wisecracks to share. But the highlight of this ten-minute interview with the superstar was not what he said, but what he did. His BIG hug when quizzed about alleged love Iulia Vantur made up for anything he refused to tell me. We know celebs who spit venom when asked about their rumoured affairs, but trust Salman Khan to be daringly different! A fun-filled though brief tête-à-tête at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai on Wednesday evening was uninterrupted by his minders, his guards standing staunchly by as the star spoke was the best experience ever.
It’s not every day that you find him singing, and the interview started on a musical note with Salman crooning ‘Hum toh paagal hojayenge aisa lagta hai’. Bigg Boss 7 seemed to be the last thing on the actor’s mind. But there was lots else to talk about…
Any plans for playback singing?
On the show I do a little bit of singing, buraa singing – I was just doing some timepass. I thought aap make-up kar rahe hongi, aap time lengi, aapka best profile kaunsa hai, lighting wighting check kar rahi hongi….
Bigg Boss is back and you are one of the most loved hosts – excited about the new season?
Khushiyo ka season aaya hai. Bigg Boss aaya hai – three months of festiveness every day from 9 to 10 pm. Kisi 14 logo ki nijee private zindagi ke andar hum tv par baithkar dekh rahe hai aur mazaa le rahe hai, aur comments maar rahe hai. How cool is that! (Cooler yet is the sarcasm!)
But you are the host?
Mera toh kaam hai, I have to go there. (Aur humaara kaam hai Salman Khan ko dekhna!)
What would it take to get Salman Khan locked up in the Bigg Boss house?
It would take Sonia to get me locked up in the Bigg Boss house. She’s handling our PR and she’s very capable; she’s like the genius here.
If you were locked up in the Bigg Boss house, which five people would you want for company?
I would take PP, Sonia, Hiral, Bhupi Bhai and Nads, the people who are right here. (Salman‘s close associates always a part of his entourage.) Main bhool kyun raha hu – I’m actually talking about Bigg Boss season 7. Zaroor dekhiyega, it’s going to be very entertaining. Meri taraf se main full koshish karunga, main iss show main char chand lagaa doon. Lekin jab tak aap dekhonge nahi , mera char chand lagana koi faiyda nahi. Toh Monday se lekar Thursday tak aap follow karo. Uske baad Friday-Saturday main hoon. Uske baad phir se teen mahine tak yeh aapka aur mera aur yeh 14, 15, 16 jitne bhi contestants hai, unka ek connection rahega and hopefully apko iss baar Big Boss season 7 pasand aaye aur… (breaks into a song) Hum saath saath hai... (Charming!)
Anyone from the previous season you would want back in the house?
I think Niketan (Madhok) is looking for a house. I don’t think any house is better than the Bigg Boss house (laughs). But no, we are going for all new contestants. Do contestants ko toh maine chura liya hai – Santosh aur Sana Khan ko, toh unka andar jaane ka koi chance nahi hai!
2013 was a disappointing year for Salman Khan fans – none of your films in the theatres!
But you got to see a Shahrukh Khan film! (We like the ease with which Sallu says his arch rival/competition’s name!)
Did you miss not being in the theatres this year?
No, there’s no point hurrying something. We were not ready with the film and Sohail and me are trying to give it our best. Yeh nahi ki just because there’s a date and an incredible date to release a film on and that date has been lucky for me for some time…but iska yehj matlab nahi hua ki incomplete picture, ya thok thak ke banaya hua picture release karein. So we both brothers thought that isko jamaa thikaa ke araam se mehnat karke in our best capability and dedication, we need to put this film there.
Is 2014 going to be Salman Khan’s year?
January main yeh Sohail ki film ayegi.
Is it called Jai Ho?
Arre yaar! No, Mental’s just the working title… I don’t wanna give out the title. We’re gonna launch it soon. With Bigg Boss we’ll launch it.
What about your other films?
Kick ayegi Eid par, then there’s a film with Sooraj Bharjatiya, there’s No Entry Part 2 and then there’s a film with Kabir Khan after that.
The heroines you are working with – there’s Jacqueline Fernandez and we’ve heard that Nargis Fakhri will be working with you in Sooraj Bharjatya’s next?
Really! I don’t know, they’ve not signed anybody yet for it. But Nargis Fakhri is really good – I like her energy and if there’s a film that comes I’ll definitely work with her. I think she’s lovely.
Whatever Salman Khan does, he’s in the news – whether it’s true or not!
Most things are not true.
There is a certain Ms Vantur you were linked to….
No, no no no no… (Salman is all smiles, even gives me a tight hug). How sweet you are! I wanna talk about you – you talk to me. You tell me, no, what you can say about you or Hiral (a girl in his PR team). I’m launching Hiral in a movie; she’s now training. (Salman managed to make me feel almost trapped in his arms. We move on to the next question.)
What are the shows you watch on TV?
I watch KBC, Comedy Nights with Kapil, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 6, Comedy Circus. I also watch Madhubala – I love that girl Drashti Dhami, she’s awesome, I like that guy Vivian and the other guy who got shot and is not in the show any more. I also watch Sasural Simar Ka. My mother watches these, and I’m not the remote se changing guy.
Salman certainly is a changed man, I realised during the course of this interview. He has not only morphed into a cool dude from a hot-headed Khan, but also knows how to spin a story with his charm and wriggle out of a sticky situation. Does Rajkumar Hirani have a new and real life Munnabhai for his long-delayed sequel?