AIM FOR THE SKY BUT STAY GROUNDED

If the ze­roes don’t stretch too far, at least no one should lose money from a film, says Salman Khan

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Prashant Singh prashant.singh@htlive.com ■

Few stars are un­der as much pres­sure — or one might call it a near-ob­ses­sive ex­pec­ta­tion — to de­liver at the box of­fice as Salman Khan. And he does de­liver, film after film, year after year, although there’s the oc­ca­sional stum­ble like this year’s Eid re­lease, Tube­light.

With so much rid­ing on one name, how does Salman Khan choose which char­ac­ter he wants to be next? “What­ever has to go on in my head,” says the ac­tor, “is when I’m sign­ing a movie, hear­ing the script, or get­ting the nar­ra­tion [of a script]. Mak­ing a de­ci­sion to do a film or not is the most dif­fi­cult part. At that point, if I don’t like a script, no one can con­vince me that ‘kar le, yaar (do the film)’. But once I’ve made that de­ci­sion, then I’m sorted, be­cause I know I’ve taken the right call.”

He has a fairly sim­ple rule for pick­ing a film. Salman says, “I choose only those films that I my­self would be in­ter­ested in watch­ing.”

A com­mon thread be­tween Salman and this year’s big­gest block­buster Baahubali 2: The Con­clu­sion is K.V. Vi­jayen­dra Prasad — he wrote the story for both the Baahubali films, and also the story and screen­play for last year’s su­per­hit Sal­manstar­rer Ba­jrangi Bhai­jaan. Now that Baahubali 2 has pushed the bar so much higher in terms of box of­fice re­ceipts for an In­dian film, we ask if one of Bol­ly­wood’s most bank­able stars feels any pres­sure re­sult­ing from that.

Salman says, “Every­one wants big num­bers. We all want our films to make `500, 600 and 700 crore, and one should aim for that. But if you don’t make these num­bers, then the next and the most im­por­tant thing is that no one should lose any money. So my prin­ci­ple is also the same: ‘If a film gets such num­bers, it’s very good, but no one should lose any money.’”

Be­ing fea­tured re­cently in the Forbes rich list is a some­what amus­ing de­vel­op­ment for the ac­tor. “Money mat­ters to every­one but I don’t know on what ba­sis

they have in­cluded me in the list,” he says. “There are bil­lions of peo­ple, who have tril­lion times more money than I could ever have. As for me, I’m still fall­ing short [of money] to buy a house. Ear­lier, I’d fall short by lakhs and then it be­came a few crores, be­fore the fig­ure reached `20-25 crore, and ab kuchh zyada crores mein (by a few more crores), so, short hi chal raha hu main toh (I’m al­ways fall­ing short).”

PHOTO: SHIVAM SAX­ENA/HT

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