The King Khan
M K VIVEKANANDAN /Mumbai
|COUNTED amongst the ten most handsome men
in the world. An enviable family lineage
in the form of father Salim Khan, co-writer of Bollywood epic Sholay. One of the best physiques in the industry.
And a spate of hits to prop him up. Salman Khan has everything going for him. The Khan rules
the world. Well at least the world of the
Hindi film industry.
With four hits last year, he was easily 1998's
most successful star. And although this year
began on a bad note for Salman Khan withJaanam Samjha Karo failing at the box-office, he made up quickly
with Biwi No 1, and followed it up with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Hum Saath Saath Hain.
Also in the news, thanks to rumours suggesting
a relationship with co-star of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam Aishwarya Rai,
Salman is as usual, tight-lipped on the subject. "All I'll say is that it's nobody's
business. In any case, I don't want to give
any importance to these rumours, so I don't
think I'll comment on them at all."
"I have been linked to almost each of
my co-stars, and on most occasions there
has been no truth to these rumours,"
the actor says. "In this industry, friendships
get misunderstood as something more deep,"
However, it hasn't been smooth sailing for
the actor. With a great debut film of Suraj Barjatiya Maine Pyar Kiya, Salman had to suffer a string of flops quite early
in his career. Then came Barjatiya's next film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, which was a tremendous hit. With this film,
Salman's career graph soared and from then on work-wise
things have been more or less on an even
Of course, that is not to say that his life
has been uneventful. Only a couple of months
back, Salman made it to the headlines of national dailies
for his alleged involvement in a buck-hunting
incident during the shooting of Hum Saath Saath Hain, and his subsequent arrest in relation to
the same case. "That was like a nightmare. I try not
to think of it at all," the actor says, evading the question of
whether he was really guilty. "I probably deserved what I got, but
it was sad that my family -- and more
my father -- was dragged into the mess," he adds.
|So, with such a hectic schedule does he get
time for any kind of relaxation or holiday?
"Vacations are few and in between. Even
foreign trips are mainly to do with
work," he says. During his last trip to London, "I managed to take a day off and shopped
like crazy, mostly clothes and accessories,"
he says. A self-confessed T-shirt freak,
Salman says he picked up a bunch of tees from various
places including the DKNY showrooms, the
Calvin Klein stores and the Channel shop.
"I don't think there's anything wrong
in spending money on branded items
can afford it," he says. "I don't think money is for hoarding."
||Talk to him about his relationship with the
media, and the actor is ready to begin a
debate. "I have nothing against journalists
who are interested in knowing about
and about my roles in my films, but
wish to entertain people who want to
who I'm sleeping with," he explains with a ring of finality in his
tone. "I have had no choice but to stop speaking
to several film magazines, which have
repeatedly carrying false stories about
me," he continues. "Generally, I don't take such things
lying down. I don't like to read lies
my family, but I've learnt to just
most of the rubbish that is written
me. However, I do give newspaper interviews
and to journalists who I know come
with decent intentions."
His friends are few and "really dear."
Like director David Dhawan who is "my close pal," Salman insists.Another friend, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is all gushy about his favourite actor.
"The thing about Salman is that he'll stand by you always. He's
not a fair-weather friend who vanishes when
you need him the most." Salman, equally generous in his appreciation for
the filmmaker, says: "I think Sanjay's strength lies in the
fact that he's an extremely sensitive
who knows how to get the audience to
uncontrollably while watching a movie." And although Khamoshi did not make the box-office ring with a
resonance, "it's one of the films I feel closest
to," the actor reveals.
About the Rajashri team, with whom he made magic in Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain, he has nothing but praises. "They are easily the best unit to work
with. They know how to treat their
Besides, they make lovely movies."
The future holds well too what with a handful
of other films expected to go on the floors
soon. "I'm happy doing what I am. I've earned
enough money to take care of my kids.
I'm just working because I like to," he says. On that note, he heads for his
personal gym. "Now that's out of bounds for everyone," he says, slipping into a pair of shorts
and waving goodbye.
1999 Dec 29