Salman Khan on competition, discrimination, his juniors in B-Town and more...
With Salman Khan, it’s direct dil se. There’s no facade or mask to peel away. That’s probably why his honesty sometimes puts him in controversial spots. A quarter of a century in the industry and he has a phenomenal number of admirers... and critics as well. Here, he talks about acceptance of the audience, competition with his juniors and why it’s wrong to assume that stars have it easy in Bollywood. Over to him.
People have always compared the three Khans…
People have loved Shah Rukh, Aamir and me for years and made us what we are today. We don’t treat each other as competition anymore. I am not competing with anyone. I am competing with myself. When someone who doesn’t like me tells me, “Bhai, tu aaj kal achha kaam kar raha hai”, or even for someone who’s already a fan, we take it to the next level for him.
How do you define competition in today’s times?
When we entered the industry, we were competing with the seniors. Today, it’s more difficult competing with the juniors. Now, phatt se, we are in the position of our seniors and the kids of this new generation are figuring out what we must have felt back then. But we are doing fine.
Of the younger generation, who reminds you of a younger Salman?
They have also grown up watching us. So each one has lots of shades of all of us. You can tell ki kis raah pe jaa rahe hai. I think Varun Dhawan because he’s seen me forever now. I think Tiger is very talented, so is Sooraj. Sidharth is doing really well right now and Aditya’s there, too.
People always complain that there’s a lot of discrimination in Bollywood. Do you agree?
Look at the film industry. It’s an example of how people are. They don’t ask you, “Gotra kya hai tumhara? Or, ‘Jaat kya hai tumhara?’ Religion, caste doesn’t matter. Neither does your background. You do good work on screen and people will automatically like you. Sunny Leone came into Bigg Boss and she was loved by everyone because she was better than everyone else. Today, she is a big star in the movie business. Mumtaz was a junior artist and a dancer before she became a huge sensation. People come from all over to be in the industry. If you are good on screen, you are there. No one cares kaun ho tum!
But there are actors like Irrfan, Nawazuddin who found it difficult to make a mark…
Who finds it difficult? It’s very difficult for everyone to survive. It’s not just them (Nawaz and Irrfan). You see so many people who have not made it. Then they use stuff, ‘You know how it works, na. They are from a filmy family, their boyfriend’s a superstar. We don’t have any support or godfather.’ Humara kaun sa godfather tha, yaar? Shah Rukh Khan ka kaun sa godfather tha? Aamir Khan ka support kya tha? Akshay Kumar made it on his own. Ajay Devgn is a fight master’s son, I am a writer’s son. Shahid Kapoor is a character actor’s son. Big star kids have not worked, yaar! Yeh kisi ki jagir nahi hai. Fans will decide whether they want to buy that ticket or not. It was difficult for us to come into the industry and it’s equally difficult to be where we are today and it’s going to be more difficult now. The more difficult it gets, it’s the better for us. We will improve our quality, our cinema.
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