|No wonder Yash Chopra, Sohail Khan, Arbaaz Khan as well as Sajid Nadiadwala are leaving no stones unturned to make their respective films huge by all standards and come up with a product which is just the kind that bhai's fans would want.
The bhai who never grew up seems to have finally become the boy who can do no wrong. Or even if he does, it is quickly forgiven. Perhaps because he is seen as someone with his heart in the right place and his tongue in the wrong place.
As a star Salman is less about the brand and more about the body. Which may explain why while everybody is busy wearing branded clothes, he's happy taking them off. Perhaps it's because the audience watching him suspects that behind the bluster is a boy who can still get slapped by his father, scriptwriter Salim Khan, and still stands to attention when he's on the phone.
His brothers are his best friends and despite having dated four stunningly beautiful professional actors, he still believes that women should not "expose" onscreen “I will never kiss the girl on screen. I feel awkward. First, remember, it's primarily a family audience that come to see my films. And second, I learnt this a long time ago, every man's wife or girlfriend is for himself. He doesn't want to share her.”
Despite his elite upbringing, he has a common touch so when Ashutosh Gowariker reportedly approached Salman with a script that he thought the mega-star would find strikingly unorthodox. True to his style, Salman completely turned the tables on the director "I don't do good films. I do hit films. I work in films that make money, not the ones that get awards." Before Ashutosh could get over the shock of Salman's plainspeak, he also added that he has his own pace of working. Salman told the Lagaan director, "I arrive in the afternoon and shoot at my own pace. You're used to working with other actors (Shah Rukh, Aamir) who reach the set on the dot at 9 am and work according to your pace." Salman then politely suggested that perhaps it would be a better idea for Ashutosh to approach another actor.
He's not a great fan of change. "I get attached to things. It took me 35 years to go from the floor above to my house here. And that happened only because Sohail (his younger brother) took over my room when I went on a world tour," he says. Rather than being seen as a provider at large for his family, he believes they have been a great support to him. "I have no responsibilities. My family takes care of me more than I take care of them. They've always supported me," he says.
His family bristles at the thought of being seen as parasites: "People behave as if he's been parking money in our accounts. No. The greatest thing about him is that he hasn't alienated us from his success. He wants us to enjoy it with him," says brother, actor Arbaaz Khan the producer of Dabangg.
Hands in pocket, that stride, the shades - even when Salman is not posing, just stepping out at the airport, the pictures scream "star" it all comes so naturally to him. Salman doesn't show himself in real life as the perfect, intelligent man but as a feckless fellow who bumbles through life learning from his mistakes as he continuously makes them "Some people think I'm a total jerk. And some people love me to death.”
His real life bodyguard Shera was so touched to launch the music of Bodyguard "It was kind of him (Salman) to give me an opportunity to launch the trailer of his film 'Bodyguard'. At first I couldn't believe it. I have been working with Salman bhai for the past 15 years. He is family and I will most happily take every bullet if at all fired at him as his bodyguard. Salman Khan is the person who can sacrifice his all for the people he loves. He can give his life for us and that is what makes him special," reveals an emotional Shera.
A Bandra boy who would often attend midnight mass with his gang after a drinking session, Salman has grown up with a Hindu mother, a Muslim father, and a Catholic stepmother. In many ways, he is Everyman.
Ask him why he hasn't got married Salman says: "I think that's my fault, I think I am scared, I have some real fears. It's all about the fear of hurting somebody... once you are committed; it's khalas in a sense. When you are dating you have to stand back and see that I may not be the right person for this woman anymore, or I'm preventing her growth. Whatever the reason. In a marriage, all this can come back and haunt both partners but of course I will settle down. I know I have been saying this for the past 20 years, and the truth is I wanted to get married at the age of 17."
As he contemplates marriage ("I'd like to have children"), a post-retirement career involving painting and working with his charity, the Being Human Foundation, the coolest thing about the always-underrated Khan is that he's happy even with his lack of inches. "It's just a bit taller than the heroines and shorter than the villain. Of course, it's fun to beat up the bigger guy. Isn't that what heroes do?” He says with his killer smile and innocent eyes that can melt your heart.