Tell us about Salman’s character in the movie.
I liked the way Tiger — a self-assured man — was humbled by the knowledge that he can love. He is a man of action who fights for his country; his fists do more talking that his words but somewhere in between he realises that he has a tender heart.
Salman didn’t see eye to eye with director Kabir Khan or producer Aditya Chopra....
When you have three people whose views on filmmaking are vastly different, then there would be disagreements. They all come from different schools of filmmaking. Salman is all heart in his films; he pays more attention to the emotional aspect and that’s why he has so many fans. Kabir [director] likes to stay real; he is a realist who will break down things on a molecular level to find out how they work. Aditya is a bit of both: he is a realist who understands the emotional value of a scene. So when people with such different approaches come together on a project, you can expect fireworks.
What’s dancing with Salman like?
Salman is a natural. You show him a step and he picks it up at once. I take time. I’m mechanical but Salman learns a step and makes it his own. His fans like him because it doesn’t look like it has been choreographed for him. I have to rehearse before I am confident enough to do it.
Any special memories of the places where you’ve shot?
The most interesting part of all of this is Salman himself. According to him, wherever we have shot, the place resembled India in some way. To Salman, Dublin was like Bandra, Turkey like Rajasthan and Cuba like Marine Drive.
People are going gung-ho about the action in this film....
The action is the main draw of this film. No one has ever seen Salman doing such stunts before. Kabir wanted the stunts to look real so you don’t have people flying away with a punch. Instead, you have these gritty realistic fight scenes.
Was shooting the song Mashallah quite a task for you?
A lot of hard work and sweat went into the song. I began my rehearsals four days in advance. Unfortunately, a night before the shoot, I was down with a bad case of viral. I couldn’t shoot for the next two days. During those two days, rehearsals continued and I missed a lot. By the time I was ready to get back on set, many portions which I had rehearsed with Salman had been changed — thanks to his habit of improvising. The weather conditions were equally bad. It was unbearably hot and we had to shoot on a helipad. Somehow I managed to pull through. BM