|With so many complications and pain, how did you manage all those stunts in Ek Tha Tiger?
It was a challenge. I’m not supposed to bend, do somersaults or undergo fluctuations in blood pressure. I’m not supposed to exert to the extent that I start panting. Above all, I’m not supposed to indulge in any action where my head is lower than my body. But, I am doing stuff that I’m not supposed to and that’s the story of my life.
What’s your equation with Arbaaz and Sohail?
We’re friends. Sohail is five years younger to me but once you grow up it doesn’t matter. In fact, dad’s friends are our friends and our friends are dad’s friends. We have the same group of
Do you give them advice?
No, no. They’re smart. In fact, I’m completely out of the loop. They are more into worldly things so I’m the one who gets advice.
Two decades into the business and the Khan-trio is still ruling the roost...
Kya boloon. It's destiny. I'm grateful to Sooraj Barjatya for Maine Pyar Kiya and so many others who believed in me. I guess all three of us (Aamir, Shah Rukh and I) have been lucky. Sometimes we got good scripts that turned out to be even better films. And at other times, our very ordinary films have done wonders at the box office. But above all, we have God's blessings and have managed a faithful fan
Today, you’re more successful than ever. Are you working twice as hard, or has this happened by chance?
In the past, I had a knee-jerk approach to work and it showed on screen. I was doing movies for the wrong reasons — trying to juggle dates, do too many guest appearances, take up projects under pressure or for emotional reasons. But now there’s a method to my madness. I have heard people say, “Salman has changed, he’s lost it,” and stuff like that. But it doesn’t affect me. Today, I am doing movies only for my fans and I am enjoying every bit of it. They are happy and so am I.
Isn’t it showing on screen? There seems to be a Salman Khan mania in the country. Are you proud?
It feels nice to be loved, but let me tell you there are 10 times more better looking, stylish and talented guys than me. So there’s no solid reason for me to be proud! I don’t think I have done anything extraordinary to change people’s lives. Yeh sab showbaazi hai aur isme credit lene ki baat kya hai? Mein chaand pe thodi pahunch gaya, ya koi cancer ka dawa invent kiya? (This is show business; there is nothing to take credit for. Have I gone to the moon or invented a cure for cancer?). Like most of you, I also have a job. If at all I am proud of anything, it’s my charitable trust, Being Human, which helps the needy.
You are now the new tiger in Bollywood. Powerful, but also scary. People are scared of you. Why?
That’s just a myth. I think people just give me my space. In fact, those who are supposedly scared of me have taken the maximum liberties with me. Like the media, for instance, who have pitilessly attacked me without finding accurate proof or giving me a chance to clear my stand. For 20 long years I haven’t reacted, because I was wounded. And the same people come to me for interviews. So, where’s the question of fear?
Are you scared of ever losing the fan following you have now?
If the adulation has not affected me now, how will it affect me at all? There are people who take their onscreen image seriously. Luckily, I don’t. Rajesh Khanna is the classic case of a superstar forgotten until he passed away… I have never seen or heard of such unparalleled adulation as his. I was happy to witness a sea of humanity descend on his funeral. But I wish it had all happened when he was alive! He would have been very happy! Love and respect should be accorded in your lifetime. Honestly, I wouldn’t want such pandemonium when I am dead and gone! It’s no use then, because I won’t be able to see or feel the love.
Is it lonely at the top?
Whoever coined the phrase may have been a lonely soul himself. I am blessed to have people with me and around me always. Nothing is more important to me more than the three Fs in my life — family, friends and fans.
Your career has been rocketing. How satisfying has it been?
The present is good. Things are moving in the right direction. Coincidentally, my destiny, luck and chance all came at the same time. I sent out a positive energy to the universe and it all came back to me. Personally, everything is fine. There have been health problems on and off, but I can handle those. I am enjoying the phase while it lasts.
You’ve been hurt on your way to this super success. Are you immune to pain now?
I feel blessed that I haven’t seen or felt real pain to be immune to it. But I am dreading the time it comes. I feel blessed to have everything going fine. My parents’ health is good, my brothers are well-settled, I have a great brother-in-law and my own career is doing fine. I hope and pray that I am fit and fine always.
Have you signed Sooraj Barjatya’s film?
We are in talks. He has narrated a script to me. But I am starting Sohail’s next film. It’s a great script and I am totally driven by it. Let’s see what I take up after this.