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Interview : Salman Khan in Ek Tha Tiger

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'I am pampered by everyone'

He is the most WANTED actor of Bollywood at present who is swaying Box-office by churning out back-to-back 100 plus crore blockbusters, yet the DABANGG star is not carried away with it. He is the same carefree, moody, bindaas, care-a-damn attitude guy. In conversation with the TIGER of Bollywood, SALMAN KHAN who is once again READY to take over Box-office with his much-touted, keenly anticipated, eagerly awaited, muck talked about film EK THA TIGER, which is set to hit the screens on 15th August (during Eid period). The film is truly special as it brings Salman & YRF together for the first time, pairing-up of the popular Jodi Salman Khan & Katrina Kaif.

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Why it took so long to see the merging of two brands – Yash Raj Films and Salman Khan when your contemporaries have already worked with the banner?
There is always a right time and right place to be in. And I think EK THA TIGER came at right time and right place. Yeh toh aisa hua ki koi bole 65 mai kyun paida hue baad mai hue hote ya pehle hue hote. (This is like asking why weren't you born before or after 1965). There are certain things which happen at their own time.

What attracted you to do the film?
The strong script, Kabir Khan as director, Katrina Kaif as main lead, title EK THA TIGER, RAW agent, Yash Raj productions…Wow!

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Kabir just revealed that he had narrated you KABUL EXPRESS script…so was doing EK THA TIGER because of Kabir Khan? 
I asked him to play me Taliban in his film KABUL EXPRESS and he thought I am joking… Post that he came up with the narration of another script. He then referred NEW YORK to Katrina Kaif. However, she was not really keen to do it. I suggested Katrina this guy (Kabir) is damn good and talented and to do the film…Then came EK THA TIGER, where Katrina Kaif recommended my name to Kabir Khan, Adi (Aditya Chopra) because she has done two films with them…she said that Salman is a guy you might get along with. He is very hardworking, sincere and has the possibility to become a star. He could perhaps pull this TIGER's character and make it work. And then they considered me. They did few screen tests and passed me. Still they had qualms signing me in the film but eventually they took me in the film. (Quips)

Even before the release the movie is speculated to be a blockbuster?
'When the time is good everything works'

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Speculations are just PR kind of workshop. Everyone is talking about 100 crore and making a noise of it 'What do you think it's (the film) gonna gross on first day?' It is not fair. People come to theaters to watch a good film. If they are coming to see a good film they will come back to see the film with their family & friends. The number of times they watch a particular film its good for the film, for the producers, for the country, for the theatre owners, for the artists, for the consumers..

The movie-going audience is increasing, theatres have increased and so are the ticket prices. The entire business of cinema has changed today. Once the exact collections start rolling in from single screens, small towns, from the multiplexes and proper accounts are maintained, everything gets systematized then the true picture will be out. Films will rock at Box-office and do huge amount of business then it is doing now. 

Who knows what's happening in the Overseas? Who knows what kind of business those guys do? Once the overseas distributors start giving actual hisaab everything will be perfect.

You are known as masses hero. From Single screens to multiplex to overseas you have been ruling all over? 
I don't believe in class and mass thing…I believe in comfort zone. If there is a single screen theatre near your house and right from childhood you've been going there you will obviously choose that. Similarly, if there's multiplex around or a new multiplex has come up one will go there. Ab yeh kya baat hui

'My father finds EK THA TIGER larger-than life and appealing'

I have seen people who enjoy buying tickets in black. But that doesn't contribute to the film industry in anyway. Instead one can go to a good theatre and buy three tickets in the rate of one ticket.

Single screens are cheaper than multiplex. There's no point of class or mass because one can afford it and other cant. It is as simple.

You were not keeping well while shooting for EK THA TIGER? Also this film involves enough action sequences
But I am TIGER! (Smiles) I can't have excuses ki aaj tabiyat kharab hai aaj mai khaana nahi laa sakta. (Today I am not well and hunt for food)
Yes the film is action-packed. The film had too much to do in terms of action. But I am used to it. If you are physically fit you can pull off any action sequence. A film like EK THA TIGER took a toll because right from morning to evening you are running, doing fight sequences, falling off from heights, doing stunts. Moreover, there are times when certain scenes require more retakes so it is quite exhausting.

The happiest & the most positive person around EK THA TIGER is your father? 
Yes he has liked the film a lot. He said this is a very nice film, it's larger-than life appeal is exciting. The film is about RAW agents and I think even the RAW agents will be impressed by it.

Cashing in on your name and film, the ticket prices of the film have been hiked. Do you think that's right to do? 
I don't think that is right. But being 15th August and being a hyped up film I think they have increased the ticket price by 10-20 Rs… Also my film is coming after a year. But I can't do anything about it. But then the ticket prices are hiked only for few days eventually it will be reduced. 

People attach the characters that you play with your name like DABNAGG Salman, BODYGUARD Salman, WANTED Salman and now TIGER Salman 
Jab time accha chalta haina tab sab accha chalta hai (When the time is good everything works). When people start liking a particular thing, they like everything related to it. For instance, SHOLAY in the first week was a disaster but in the second week it started picking up. Everything about SHOLAY became popular – from its characters to its location, etc. It broke all the records and created history in every arena. When people start lapping something up they will go gaga over it.

'I thought nobody is interested in seeing Katrina & me together'

EK THA TIGER an answer to all those wagging mouths who said Salman is only concentrating on south remakes
A Boney Kapoor came and made POKHRI remake, WANTED. Somebody said its good and then suddenly people started following it. In that way BODYGUARD, DABANGG and READY happened. Basically, it was all about right time, right place. Waise kaafi baar wrong time aur wrong place pe bhi raha hu (But many a times I have been at wrong place and wrong time also) (jokes)!

EK THA TIGER also has been in constant news for your and Katrina's pairing ? 
Agar muje pata hota ki mere aur Katrina ke pairing ka itna hai we would have done more films together. The last we were paired was in the film YUVVRAAJ, which was a dud. And going by that, I thought nobody would be interested in seeing us together. That's why we delayed it so that people forget anything about our pairing.

Eid has always proved lucky for your films
We have always been comfortable in our comfort zones.

'I am in a very dangerous position today'

You being at the enviable position in the industry, do you feel the pressure of delivering?
No I don't feel the pressure. The film does well or it doesn't, I just believe in one funda Aagey chalo. Next mai dekhenge. (Move on we'll see next time) See a film is a hit film if it's a terrific film. If the film bombs it's a bad film. The audience decides it.

Do you think with every film you have to go that extra mile to make it special?
Every single minute every single second I am going that extra mile. Wow! The kind of a guy that I am, I am taking that extra toll.

After having multiple successes do you think somewhere you have tapped the market.
It's a very dangerous position to be in right now because I don't know what to do right now or which film to do next. After reaching a particular level if you're not able to go beyond or (god forbid) if it doesn't work then you start feeling I was better off earlier. It's always a gut feeling which works for any good script. Rest is decided by the audience and you actually get to know what happened with the film.
Do you feel somewhere you are getting to live your image on-screen? Do you think you are the epitome of complete hero? 
No I don't feel like that. The image is completely different. People have hyped my image. To be modest, ek sadharan aadmi ko itni saare logone sar pe chadha diya (I am ordinary person who is pampered by everyone). And people are liking the kind of films that I am doing. I have just been lucky enough.

Now when you sign the film what sort of mind set you carry, is it just the passion for Cinema or do you really feel the responsibility as huge money is riding on you? 
When I look for a particular script I just want to be entertained, I want twist & turns, the film that's going to have audience grip has to have some kind of entertainment. When people come out of theatres they should feel satisfied of the monies they invest. They should come with a reaction 'Whatta script, Whatta film!'

Do you actually check for the reaction or responses of your audiences? 
I never went to see any reaction from the audiences. I don't have to go down doing research or visiting places to know about the responses. I can get the reaction over a phone or passing in my car.

Your collection shows the reaction.

After doing back-to-back action films you are returning as romantic hero with Sooraj Barjatiya's film. Personally what do you enjoy romance or action? 
I personally enjoy romantic films. Doing action is very tedious and its painful too. You are asked to do action sequences at wrong hours sometimes early morning, sometimes late night… it is just difficult. Furthermore, you have to do the fight sequences in bad & strange places. Do people fight on roofs or on concrete surface or in water or under the sun? It's very annoying to fight on hard surfaces. Why can't they have soft mattresses to fall on? 

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