When you are Bollywood A-lister Salman Khan, every festival under the sun including Eid is significant and filled with traditions.
“I spent more time with my staff like my make-up artist, hair stylist, manager, than my own family. So I make it a point that I can catch up with my family as much as possible during festivals,” said Khan in an interview with Gulf News. He’s all set to roll out his Eid entertainer ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ on May 13 in UAE cinemas, and he’s got back-to-back interviews planned for most part of the day before he begins his muted Eid festivities back home in Mumbai.
“Due to my work schedule I cannot get to spend much time with my family. If I am not shooting, I am either dubbing, editing, working in my office or hearing scripts or planning outdoor shoots … So as much as possible, I just try to spend as much time together with my family … So I follow every festival at home. Eid, Diwali, Holi, or Christmas. It’s an opportunity for the whole family to get together. We need to spend more time with them,” said Khan.
In his latest film, directed by ace choreographer Prabhu Deva, Khan plays a larger-than-life titular hero who is on call to clean up the streets of Mumbai from a lethal drug syndicate.
This bombastic film marks the revival of the ‘masala’ genre in Bollywood where movies are led by a hyper-masculine male decimating evil in the world. And, he can dance, sing, romance, and do a bit of comedy along the way too.
Everyone is waiting for this pandemic to end and the virus to die … I just want to make sure that nobody loses money and people go and watch this film in the theatres and celebrate this coronavirus disappearing and this lockdown getting over.
“I enjoy them and fans enjoy them and that’s the reason why we are still making this genre of films here. But masala genre doesn’t mean we are making some random film with no plot or screenplay. There’s a message behind my film and it’s a message that’s relevant at all given times,” said Khan.
“Radhe gives a kid a commitment that he is going to on the clean up the city from that mess and take revenge for his best friend dying and that’s very relevant in today’s times,” said Khan. His film is one of the biggest theatrical releases in this region ever since COVID-19 swept through the globe last year.
“Everyone is waiting for this pandemic to end and the virus to die … I just want to make sure that nobody loses money and people go and watch this film in the theatres and celebrate this coronavirus disappearing and this lockdown getting over,” said Khan. While the UAE gets a theatrical release, this film will release on digital platforms in India. It was a decision taken after taking into account the grim reality of India, which’s being savaged by a fierce second wave of COVID-19.
“Even though we got to know that all the theatres in our country would be shut down, we decided to go with releasing this film on digital platforms … Salaries were cut down and we need to cover costs,” said Khan. It’s the first time in his career that a film is releasing on digital platforms first in his native country. Khan is one of the few Bollywood actors who enjoys immense box-office clout. The ‘bhai/bro’ code is a strong sentiment among his army of devoted fans who patronise his dazzling action spectacles blindly.
“But I am always trying to up my game,” said Khan. He famously works with people based on his personal equation with them. Director Prabhu Deva has previously worked with Khan on blockbusters including ‘Ready’ and ‘Dabangg 3’. Apparently, they don’t speak much to each other but have a deep understanding between them.
“I follow his expressions closely to get what he’s saying and we have such a nice rapport. There’s a lot of comfort between us. I have worked with him even when he was a choreographer, so I understand him a lot now … There are some things I cannot do, but he makes sure that I do those things on-screen,” said Khan.
While his director has the ability to convince him to push boundaries, this interview with Khan was a sanitised affair. A list of sensitive topics that would not be entertained by the actor, such as those about the COVID-19 situation in India and about his country's politics, were floated to us before this Zoom audio interview began. But the actor was more than happy to talk about his craft.
“I want to own every festival [at the box office] … Earlier, films took 65 days to complete. But these days it takes about 150-200 days to make. The action, the scale, and its vastness has increased. So I can only manage one and a half film a year … And that’s the reality,” said Khan.
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‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ releases in UAE cinemas on May 13.