By Hindustan Times
Their pairing is the talk of the town even before the film called Ek Tha Tiger flags off in mid-July. Prod him on his co-star with whom he had earlier done Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya (2004), Partner (2006), Yuvvraaj (2008) and Tees Maar Khan (2010), special appearance in a song and Salman Khan says, “Katrina and I get along well. She’s a lovely girl and one of my closest friends. There’s nothing better than working with someone who is part of my family.” And with the film, Salman also enters the production home of another major film family — this will mark his debut with Yashraj Films.Producer Aditya Chopra had earlier approached Salman with two scripts, including Chak De! India, but he’d had to refuse for lack of dates.
“This time it happened. I’m glad, Yashji (Yash Chopra) and my dad (Salim Khan) did some really good films together, including Deewar (1975),” says Salman.
Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif would pair up for Yash Raj's Ek Tha Tiger
Director Kabir Khan insists that while the script was being developed, he was under no pressure to bring about the “impossible” (Salman, Katrina) casting coup.
“But once we’d locked it, I knew that no other girl could carry off this character. Fortunately, Katrina loved this script too,” says Kabir, who had earlier worked with her in the commercially successful New York (2009).
Salman was Kabir’s first choice as well. Rubbishing rumours that he’s playing a superhero secret agent, Kabir says, “This guy is very real, but also larger-than-life. With Salman I won’t have to spend screen time establishing the character, his personality fits in beautifully with it. Had he refused and I had to approach another actor, I might have had to rewrite the screenplay that Neelesh (Mishra) and I have been working on for the last six months.”
Is Ek Tha Tiger another Deewar? “No, it’s a love story with plenty of action,” Salman retorts. Kabir adds that the love story came from Aditya to which he’s added an interesting twist of his own: “It’s something of a legend I heard when shooting a documentary in a conflict area. The story is supposedly true, but since it came from the world of espionage, it is neither confirmed nor denied.”
Does it have anything to do with golfer Tiger Woods? “If Tiger Woods was involved, it wouldn’t be a family film,” laughs Kabir. A real tiger then? “No, but the tiger in the title has a strong connect with the story. It’s a masala movie with social and political undertones. We had an extended six-hour story narration with Salman. He was excited and throwing up ideas of his own.”