By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Sohail Khan had to speak a lot of Punjabi for his new film Kissan. "It's my first raw-and-real film. And my Punjabi is very dubious. I had to polish it up before I could face the camera. But it's okay. I like wearing different hats especially for my brothers."
Recently, Sohail stepped in at the eleventh hour in the Salman starrer God Tussi Great Ho...after the original actor opted out suddenly, only because Salman requested Sohail. It can't be co-incidence. All of Sohail Khan's acting assignments in the past 3 years from Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya to Salaam-e-Ishq to God, Tussi Great Ho, Heroes and Main Aur Mrs Khanna are in big bro's company. And if it isn't Salman then it's Arbaaz with Sohail in the recently-released Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na and the forthcoming Kissan where Arbaaz and Sohail again play brothers.
Says Sohail, "In Kissan, Arbaaz and I play hardcore farmers in dhotis. I had never worn a dhoti before. It's the most authentic production we've ever done. It's about the new generation of farmers not valuing their land. Jackie Shroff plays Arbaaz and my father. We shot in Chandigarh for forty days at a stretch. Then I left for Melbourne for Main Aur Mrs Khanna. Quite a culture shock. Now we go into Partner 2 where I don't have an acting part."
Partner 2 will of course have Govinda and Salman. But the leading ladies Katrina and Lara will change. Says Sohail, "It's basically a brand name now. And Salmanbhai and Govinda are part of that brand. Govinda keeps embarrassing us by praising me and Bhai all the time. Come on, man. He is...Govinda!"
Doesn't Sohail crave to be recognized as an actor outside home turf? "With our production house doing well, as an actor I don't have to be desperate. I'm not so ambitious as to put my whole and soul into an acting career. I can do solo-hero films. But I'd rather be part of bigger projects with Salmanbhai which will have a smooth-sailing to release. As a producer I know which projects will make it smoothly."
So is Sohail okay with peripheral parts? "I'm happy being part of films with so-called big stars. I also like doing other things. I'm a producer. In fact we're in the process of lining up two more films for production next year both directed by David Dhawan. One is the sequel to Partner and the other is a remake of Amar Akbar Anthony (AAA) where I'll play Rishi Kapoor's role." The new AAA will be contemporized. "David will start that after Partner 2. AAA will be upgraded, like Farhan Akhtar did to Don."
Sohail enjoys working with Salman. "There's no hassle no sense of one-upmanship, no double-hero ego problems and we share a great chemistry. So producers like signing us together. I was never supposed to be in Salaam-e-Ishq. My track was added much later. It had nothing to do with Salmanbhai. On the other, hand in my new film God Tussi Great Ho, Yash Tonk was originally doing my role. He even shot for four days. Then he got busy with his television. Yash is a friend. We did Fight Club together. It was an awkward situation for him. He called me up. And requested me to get into his shoes. Since it was Salmanbhai's film I didn't think twice."
Sohail plays Priyanka Chopra's pal in God Tussi Great Ho and in Main Aur Mrs Khanna, he plays the man who has an unrequited love for Kareena. "I'm interested in her. But she's already Mrs Khanna."
Says Sohail, "I'm very happy with the acting work that I do. Acting is only a part of my life. I want to produce, give time to my wife and son and spend time with my friends. I want to do quality work."
However, there're no plans for the Khan brothers turning into a self-contained film empire. "No, we'll continue to freelance as actors," promises Sohail. "And we'll continue to introduce new talent like Prem Soni who's directing Main Aur Mrs Khanna for us. My hands are full till 2010. And I'm a producer first, an actor later."