Sporting a diamond studded belt on powder blue cargos , and streaked hair, Salman Khan gets talking on Saawariya, OSO, multi film deals and other pursuits
After giving you a miss in Devdas, how did Sanjay Leela Bhansali convince you for Saawariya?
Sanjay Leela Bhansali just called me up one day and told me he was making a love story and wanted me to be a part of it. Before that we were to work on Bajirao Mastani but there were some date problems and the film got postponed. SLB decided to direct the love story with Sonam and Ranbir Kapoor first. Your character in the film remains a dark mystery still.
I play a Muslim character called Iman. I love the name because my father wants to name my son Iman. You know it sounds good, Salim, Salman and Iman! But I would love to call my son prince Salim or Changez Khan (laughs). Iman is a mind-blowing character. He is a little khadus, speaks harshly but there's a lot of humour in him. He is romantic and flirtatious.
This is your third film with SLB. How has your association changed over the years?
I remember he came to me with Khamoshi - The Musical when nobody was willing to do his film. When I read the script I realised it was not commercially viable, but I loved it anyway. I had nothing much to do in the film but I took it up only because of the script. I incorporated humour in my character which SLB didn't like because he wanted my character to be serious. Eventually, he shot both ways and on the editing table liked my light-hearted character and retained it. SLB hasn't changed at all. Even when he didn't have a penny in his pocket he made lavish films and he's doing that even today. Many a times he goes over-budget and it shows in the film. It shows what a fine technician and director he is.
You did his next film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but it has taken over three years to get back to him?
When he came to me with the script of Hum... I told him he had a superb script. But he wasn't confident about how it would fare. When we were shooting in Jaisalmer, I assured him that even if the film did not work, I would do his next film. However, after Hum... he wanted to make Devdas. He told me Shah Rukh Khan would be better as Devdas and I had no problems. It's not as if SLB has to work only with me and vice versa.
Even with Rani Mukerji this is your sixth film.
I have known Rani for a long time. She is a fantastic actress. She is one of the amazing girls in the industry.
With Saawariya and Om Shanti Om (OSO) releasing on the same day, don't you think it will cut into each other's collections?
No, I think it's a good thing for both the films. If Saawariya came first, it would have affected OSO and vice versa. In any case I have a special appearance in OSO, so it's good for me that are both releasing simultaneously. I am concerned though for Ranbir and Sonam as they are both simply fantastic. God forbid, if the film doesn't do well they can take heart that they were pitted against a SRK starrer and start again.
Last year you had Jaan-e-Mann clashing with Don and the latter had a headstart while Jaaneman nosedived?
I think it's my fault. I have realised that when you are part of a project you have to promote it. The problem with Jaan-e-Mann was that nobody felt the urgency to see it.
This year you have had one of the biggest hits with Govinda in Partner.
Yes and I am working with him again in a sequel to Partner.
Is it true that you had refused Madam Tussauds offer?
No, I am doing it. Initially, I thought it was a joke. Then I was told that my fans had voted for me. Many big Indian personalities are there and it is an honour to have a statue there.
What next after Saawariya?
I am doing the remake of the Telugu blockbuster Pokhiri, Main Aur Mrs. Khanna with Sohail Khan, Subhash Ghai's Yuvraj. Then there's Tarzan,a film for children and a period film Veer.
Aren't you scripting any films?
No. After Baaghi and Chandramukhi I haven't ventured into it again.
Have you signed a three-film deal with Ashtavinayak?
No, it is only a one film deal.