“Age Can Be Scary. You Need To Work Harder.” Salman Khan
GLOBAL MOVIE MAGAZINE|August 2019

Salman Khan has a deceptive nonchalance about him.

He appears misleadingly casual about his films and his celebrity status. There’s no attempt to intellectualise his work or an effort to impress. But those close to him know how committed he’s as an artiste. He plays a man from 27 to 72 in Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat. For that he’s revisited changing landscapes of time and emotions, just as he switched from silhouette to silhouette to be in sync with the character’s altering physicality. It could also mark his gentle initiation into doing mature roles. He’s candid about consciously having to keep the ‘old man’ at bay. He’s forthcoming about having to jostle with aches and pains even as he packs a punch on the screen. The heartwarming honesty perhaps comes from the fact that the megastar has not lost touch with the person he is. Perhaps, his late-night rendezvous with painting and writing and perhaps the shadows that have stalked the spotlight have helped him keep the conversation going with himself… Excerpts…

What made Bharat special?

The reason for doing this film was the plot. A nineyear-old boy is given the responsibility of taking care of his mother and three siblings by his father. From the age of nine to 72, this person does everything to keep his family together. They nag him to settle down but he keeps his promise against all odds.

Somewhere, it reflects your own life story. You’ve always been known to support your family and friends.

It’s the opposite. (Laughs) They’ve supported me all along. I need their support instead.

How difficult was it to get the curve of your character right in Bharat?

It was difficult but fun. I had to lose a lot of weight to play the 27-year-old. Then I had to put on weight right away to look 55. There’s a difference of 15 kilos between the two looks. Then, I had to come back to looking like a 27-year-old as you can’t shoot all the portions all at once. It was fun because I saw some of my old films as a reference point. It was hilarious.

Why hilarious?

The innocence, which was there in me then, is lost today. The nayapan, the rawness… has gone. I cringe when I watch some of my earlier songs. I watched films like Nischay, Jagruti, Chandramukhi, Chand Ka Tukda… Oh God, those jackets! But Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! and Hum Saath Saath Hain had a different Salman altogether. The director makes such a difference.

Priyanka Chopra was the original choice as the female lead. Has Katrina Kaif been a good option?

In fact, Ali Abbas Zafar (director) and I had thought of taking Katrina earlier on. But Ali was unsure whether she could play the role of a Hindustani girl. I said, ‘Common yaar, you’ve worked with her a couple of times. Don’t you have confidence in her? Katrina’s been here for the last 20 years. She’s done films like Raajneeti, Raj Kumar Santoshi films...’ Later, he said, ‘Priyanka ka phone aaya tha that she wants to do this film’. Priyanka was keen on doing Bharat. She had also told my sister Arpita (Khan) about it as they’re close. But then she chose to get married with Nick Jonas, which is a bold and brave and step to take. She did the right thing. She got married. She got what she wanted. Katrina got what she wanted

How did you get to know Priyanka wanted to opt out?

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