‘Hollywood doesn’t endorse buffoonery’

Kunal Guha
Yahoo! India Movies

Salman Khan explains how Hollywood follows the same formula as Hindi films, barring a few exclusions

What appealed to you about the character in the Malayalam version of ‘Bodyguard’ that you agreed to work in the Hindi one?
It’s the script and never the character that appealed to me. The character is something one can always improvise on. The songs, the screenplay and other things also factored in later. I did connect with the character as he was very endearing. He doesn’t intend to do comedy, it just comes naturally to him. He is a tough guy who has a human side and has quite a few shades within his personality. I did not relate to the character, however, as he is not like Salman Khan.

Since your character in ‘Bodyguard’ is unlike your image in other films, how did you manage to get into the skin of the character?
Once you start shooting, the script starts rolling in your head. And then you start walking and talking the character, and eventually you’re looking the character.

In this genre, what are the elements that could spell success?
In any genre, one needs comedy, action, twists and turns, a surprise element that would keep the audience guessing what is going to happen next. And even if it’s an action film, the action has to be justified and be attached to an emotion. It can’t be fight sequences choreographed for the sake of it.

Why do you think that unlike Hollywood, we mix many genres into one? Is it a safer option to blend many genres into one?
Blockbuster films in the West have also been doing the same thing. If you consider a ‘Braveheart’ or a ‘Gladiator’ or even a ‘Titanic’, they all have emotion, thrills, comedy and romance. Just that H’wood doesn’t endorse buffoonery in the name of comedy. Comedy is not just about being stupid on the screen. It’s about doing out-of-the-box things that bring a smile on your face. And if what you do can get the audience to clap or laugh a bit more than they would, it would make the film last a day more on the screens.

Which are your top 5 action films?
1.    Sholay: I was a kid when it released in the theatres, but I still remember clearly. I found it to be just incredible.

2.    Karan Arjun: This was another good example of an action film with a huge backing of emotion.

3.    Deewar: It was a film with no action, but it was termed one since it had a strong undercurrent of action.

4.    Zanjeer

5.    Seven Samurai

Were there any lessons for you as an actor from ‘Bodyguard’?

None. But yes, I did learn how to give your best when you’re in pain.

It is argued that Salman Khan is bigger than his films, so what is the upside and downside of this fact?
Firstly, no actor is bigger than the film he works in. If the film does well, the actor becomes big. If the film doesn’t do well, the actor becomes small. In the end of the day, it’s about getting the right script. If you have the wrong script, your film can release on a Diwali, Eid or Christmas, the film will hardly get a 5-10% additional collection. And I have done films with the wrong script, where the release date has not helped much.

In your career, you’ve done every kind of role, so what keeps Salman Khan excited to reach the sets and shoot a new film?

I agree that the 4 or 5 formats we have in Hindi films are repeated. And I may have done every kind of role, but in every film I do, there are different lines, co-stars, action formats, shots, directors. It’s not like a play, where everything but the audience remains the same.

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