Salman Khan is undoubtedly one of the biggest fitness inspirations for many. However, he was just a skinny teenager back in the days when he struggled to land a role in films. Like many others, a young Salman wanted to become a film star. He had a portfolio of his latest photoshoots which he took along everywhere to show any producer or director. However, Salman was shown the door by many, given his lean body.
Before taking up acting, Salman was very focused on filming and was considering turning into a director. When many producers, industry artists encouraged him to be an actor, he went to his father. Salman told his father that everyone says he should be an actor. Salim Khan, however, wondered who was ‘everyone’ that Salman was talking about. Salim Khan went on to say that he would make a romantic hero and do a few films, that’s all. He compared Salman with Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, and Chunky Panday and asked whether he sees any similarities between them and him. “You can’t become Mohalle ka dada or lawyer or an inspector," Salim Khan had said back then.
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But this didn’t deter Salman. He took up bodybuilding. Fitness has always been one of the things which the Khans took seriously as Salman’s mother and grandmother were very much into fitness. When Salim Khan noticed it, he said, “Ye lo, Dara Singh banna chahta hai.” However, Salman diligently continued to work his way up. He and his gang (Ronit Roy, Shehzad Khan, Rafiq Kazi, Iqbal and other) would spot actors like Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh stepping out from one of the prestigious gyms in Bandra’s hotel Sea Rock. But the membership of the same would cost Rs 10,000 which his father refused to pay. Even his friend, Shehzad’s father and yesteryear villain, Ajit Khan refused to pay the gym fees.
Hence, the two boys, Salman and Shehzad joined Bhaiya Gym. Though not a celebrity gym, at least it had a celebrity area address since Mala Sinha and Dharmendra Deol lived near the gym. And the best part? The annual gym fee was Rs 60 only! Salman’s friend dropped out but the Bajarangi Bhaijaan continued. Bandra Physical Cultural Association Gym, alias Bhaiya Gym established in May 1925, still stands strong on St. Martin Road and has a photo of Salman Khan hung on its wall.
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-EXCERPTS from KHANTASTIC by Sanjukta Nandy.
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