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
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).”