Director Kabir Khan’s TUBELIGHT starring Salman Khan and Sohail Khan that releases today is the third time when the audience will get to experience the magic of this hit director-actor jodi all over again. In a candid conversation Kabir Khan opened about how Salman has evolved as an actor and also how Salman taught him to take cinematic liberties while he taught the actor that how after a point logic does matter.
Here are the excerpts:
You are working with Salman for the third time so what all changes did you notice in him?
I see an evolution of approach, I mean in EK THA TIGER he was little blasé like we have done it all and we don’t need to prove it to anybody then from there in BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN I saw him getting involved with the character. He would start thinking like the character, like what would Bajrangi do in a given situation. But then Bajrangi came very easily to him because of his inherent charm. He is a very charming person when he wants to be (smiles). I think we were basically doing that making him bit of a simpleton.
And in TUBELIGHT?
TUBELIGHT is far more complicated. Laxman (Salman’s character in TUBELIGHT) is a character which is his toughest role till date because he is not just a simpleton but he is actually playing a man child so he can never look normal and also he can never look off. It is very easy to go a little over the top in these kinds of portrayals which is often seen in Bollywood or Hollywood. But I think it’s doubly difficult for Salman because playing a man child, see it’s a Salman Khan approaching that, if a new comer had been in his place it would have difficult enough but then he wouldn’t have baggage. Here it’s a man (Salman) who is an epitome of Machismo or action hero in our industry who is suddenly is playing a vulnerable, sensitive boy man character. But I think he has pulled it off.
As you said that he is an epitome of machismo then how did you get him on board to play such a vulnerable character?
I think the journey started in BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN especially with the commercial success that it got. It was then we then realized that the audience is open to accept him in different avatar and I have often said this that it’s the industry that actually limits itself by thinking “Yaar yeh audience ko nahi chahiye”. I mean audience is open heartedly accepting anything which is new, refreshing and good stories. Story is king, it’s definitely today bigger than any of the stars and all of them put together. I think BAAHUBALI too proved that the story is what ultimately matters the most.
So I think it was very easy for me when I narrated TUBELIGHT Salman immediately identified with the character and what the character stood for. I think for him it’s not so much the character now it has become important for him that what the character stands for or the values this character is sending out to the audiences and in TUBELIGHT I think he open heartedly adopted this character.
So what all preparations Salman did in order to get into the skin of this character?
Preparations are something that Salman Khan will never admit to(smiles) because I think it’s not cool enough to do that but this is the first time I found him struggling to in a way to get hold of this character. He would start calling me in the middle of night saying “Arre kuch reference de” I said “Main kahan se doon ? Koi reference hi nahi hai!” then he said “Hollywood me koi reference hai kya? I told him there is nothing as such. Then he would keep asking things like would the character do this or would the character do that. So just sitting and thinking about this character was his preparation. He usually goes by his gut instincts but for this film I saw him prepare which was heartening to see.
How did your sensibility influence Salman and vice versa?
Sometimes I get stuck in a rut of finding logic and finding context to everything so Salman has helped me to probably get out of it. I think both Aditya Chopra and Salman have helped me by saying sometimes you just need to fly and if you take a cinematic liberty then don’t be so disturbed by it. He has helped me sometimes approach a scene with more flair and sometimes throwing the logic out of the window, though not to an extreme extent but sometimes it really doesn’t matter so that’s one thing and vice versa after a point I would tell him dude it does matter so I think it’s the blending of both the sensibilities that has really worked for the audience. He allows me to fly a little I don’t allow him to fly too much.
Well with the kind of mixed reviews that TUBELIGHT has garnered so far how we wished that Kabir had stuck to his logical reasoning approach. Nevertheless we are pretty much sure that Salman Khan’s fans love for their idol will keep the cash registers ringing and also the festive season will work in the film’s favor.
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