"Is Salman Khan The Son Of A Muslim Father or A Hindu Mother?"

Salim Khan Thunders

Big Thanks to Ms.Mayuko for this article!!

Moviemag International March 2001

He's embarrasiingly punctual. And reader's delight, every scribe's dream candidate.
Except that SALIM KHAN (along with his erstwhile team player Javed Akhtar), once more formidably powerful than any crowd-pulling star, is preoccupied playing the busiest, the most harried role of his life as the father of Salman Khan. And Salman's myriad movie-from shooting the protected black buck to heatig up his girl friend black and blue-need no repetition.
Especially when the front-page favourite is once more drawing readers with his new film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, allegedly bankrolled by the mob.
The charges are many; legal papers form his dad'(s bedspread today. Between the sheets, the truth lies submerged as does Salman's lesser viewed dimension - as a star with perhaps the largest heart in filmdom.
Match fixing. Black magic. The charges against Salman pile up even as a new rumour picks up momentum - that the cops of Mumbai are going to close in on him.
Enough to have any parent pace the floor with anxiety. But through it all, Salim Khan's spoken word has retained its two best qualities - the humour is crackling, the candour sparkling.
At a very special one-to-one, spread over three hours and a few rounds of Scotch and water at the Regent, Bandra, MOVIEMAG bagged this coveted encounter.
Only one promise will be made to the reader before we begin - there won't be a single dull moment as we hurtle through the many newsbreaking stories that have visited this colouful Khan family.
The evening begins with Salim's pithy comments on the case that keeps him flying back and forth between Jodhpur and Mumbai - the black buck case in Jodhpur which was quickly followed by a case in Mumbai over Salim's 'illegally maintained' wild animals on his farm
"It's the first time in history that a son is arrested jaanwarmarne ke liye and the father is charged jaannwar paalne ke liye! It was at the same time, same date. On one side BBC, Star - everybody was going on that Salman has shot a black buck.
"on the other side, the animals on my farm were siezed. If you read the chargesheet against me, Veerappan would seem a kindergarten student compared to me. Training animals, smuggling, mistreating animals, you should see the charges. I must be the cruellest person on this earth - after Hitler of course!
"The police officer in Mumbai, who must've felt left out because the Jodhpur police were getting publicity, was just out to take his personal khunnas against me and was after publicity.
"This officer landed up at my farm with 40 journalists. Within minutes he'd got the animals tied up, the animals struggled and a doctor was called. He told these officers, Main to kutte billi ka doctor hoon, I don' treat wild animals. But he was asked to go ahead and give injections to these animals to control them. And within 15 minutes the animals were dead!
The fact is that the policeman behind this was aware of existence of these animals on my farm. It was a minor legal point over permission. I'd been told not to bother about it. The main conditions to get permission are: they should be well preserved, they were on my farm; they should be in their own environment, they were; they should live in harmony with humans out of fear or vice versa. That too was not a problem. The officer was aware that I didn't have the permission. He took advantage of this, searched the house insede out, took out innocuous guns used in film shootings and reported that we had guns."
Clearly, the Khan family feels injuured that they're regularly getting hthe rough end of the stick. However, it wasn't just the case of the black buck and the peahens.
Even since then, they seem to be in and out of court all the time!
Salim is pretty convinced that it's the media that's done them in.
"People are now going on, Salman will picked up, Salman will be picked up. On what charge?" Demands the star dad. "If working in that film is a crime, tell me, do you ask your employer where his money comes from? Based on this logic, a criminal lawyer could never survive! If hi has clients caught for smuggling or for involvement in any scam, where does their money came from? Does any professional ask about the source of the money he's given? If a producer's giving you a good setup, your proper fee, and is understanding about your dates, his connections are not your headache!"
Those enjoying Z security preach to us and ask, why do you people entertain them (the bhai), why are you scared of them? I say to them, you are living in Z security. Give us the same Z security and everyday we will call them up (the bhais) and threaten them!
"Besides that, when I neede police protection, I realised that the first lesson in security that's taught to the family and staff is, saab kahan jaate, kabaate, your programme and schedule should never be revealed. But an actor's programme is known six months in advance! You can call up Filmcity right now and they will tell you Salman's packup will be at 9.30. Anybody can go and sit there at the gate, block his car and get him! At any given moment there are 200 people around him in the studio. or at an outdoor locathion there are 5000 people. It's not just that his programme is well-known in advance to everybody but hi's a soft target too! He's amidst a crowd all the time, how do you know who has what intentions?"
Are you saying Salman has been threatened?
"Everybody has been," he retorts immediately. Why only me or Salman? Whether it's to sign a film or overseas rights or music, everybody's being threatened. Who hasn't been?
I went to Rajendra Kumar's funeral and the saddest sight was that 50 percent of those who'd come there were escorted by gunmen and security! and don't ever say that we're paranoid," he warns.
"Things have been happening around us. Rajiv Rai was shot at, Mukesh Duggal was shot down, Gulshan Kumar was killed, Rakesh Roshan, Manmohan Shetty."
But Duggal was involved.
"Certain people are connected out of fear too. I was never afraid of all thes earlier," he recounts believably. "I could face any dada earlier, never buckle under threat. It changed after my children came into existence. When children go out, when they party, all parents are anxious, there's tension until they return.
When I was under threat ( over the phone) I said, 'You can do what you like. If you think yhou can punish us for our success which we've earned the hard way, I won't pay a paisa! One of my friends was the Commissioner of Police. He told me, it's become rampant. I advise you not as the Commissioner but as a friend, get a third party to sort out and defuse this because even if I give you security, you'll get a cop who's not fired a gun for thhe last 25 years!
Who wants to live like that with protection all the time anyway? If I come in here for a drenk, there will be gunmen standing outside. If I go for a walk, they'll be walking around too. I didn't want to keep security. But for example, my kids get a call that your dad left his farm 15 minutes ago. Your kids call you on the movile and ask, what time did you leave daddy? And you say, 15 mimunes ago. There's anxiety, your kids tell you, my God, take care dad, somebody's kiiping track of your moviments. So for the sake of the family, you have to be on guard."
"The most imporotant element in all this is fear. We had a dialogue in Kabza where Paresh Rawal says about Aloknath, a saintly character, 'Saala iski ankhon mein dar nain hai. And our entire business runs on fear!'
For all the Khan family problems, Salm traces the main source to,
"The media. What our family's going through is press created, an image has been built of a person. A small RSS paper somewhere writes that Aishwarya's parents are terrorised by Salman. The scribes accuse him of indulging in black magic, say he's into match fixing. Okay, so some local paper caried that. But popular tabloids in Mumbai had made them front page stories. I rang up and asked one of them, what grat piece of literature have you preinted? I'd be wrong if I said I'm not affected by all this. Especially when it's totally baseless. I'm available over the phone, I talk to people. Why can't they carry my comments with their reports?"
Isn't Salman Khan also to blame to a certain extent for rubbing everybody the wront way?
So far, you've heard stories of other actors having hit journalists. Has Salman Khan ever threatened anybody, hit anybody, kisiko dhakke marke nikala hai?"
Come to think of it, Salman hasn't quite done that.
"The greatest quality of a professional is that an employer should here him again and again," points out Salim. "Salman has done three films for the Rajshris. If he were a n unprofessional budtameez, would they have made these films with him? They are such simple, straightforward people. When making their (Sooraj's) fourth film, they said to Salman in an apologetic tone, the subject is not suitable for you. Of course Salman said, please go ahead and make the film with Hrithik. They can't keep looking for stories that suit only Salman Khan. Salman doesn't expect that either.
They've done their bit for him, he's still indebted to them for it. Today if they ask him to do even a 10 minute role he'll go and do in. To this day, you can check this with them, 500 times they've asked me too, but Salman's never discussed price with them. He's always left it to them. Dates, dubbing, there's never been a problem.
Salman Khan's one actor who's completing all his films in one year. He acts with people who won't get an entry in any other star's house. People like Bubby Kent, Shyam Bajaj. With Sajid Nadiadwala, it was their third film together - Jeet, Judwaa, Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega. Whould anybody tolerate him if he were unprofessional?"
There's quite anger as Salim says, "Leave Salman alone, he's happy in his own life, he's happy with his own circle. He doesn't want to give importance to certain people because they want to blackmail him. So they write what they want. But he's becoming immune to problems. He's become a target for a hit!
They say, he's indulged in match fixing. Cricket was something he's never been involved in even as a child. When I's watch a match on TV he'd ask, how can daddy watch this all day long? He doesn't even know anything about the game. He wouldn't know a Dilip Vengsarkar from a Sunil Gavaskar! His interests have always been cars, motorbikes, cycling, exercising.
Four or five months ago, I heard so many people say they herad it even on BBC that Salman Khan has AIDS. If that was true, it's a miracle that it got cured on its own!"
Salim chuckles at this one but he is convinced beyond doubt that his son is being hanged as it were by an unfair media trial. If that's true, why is only Slman being targeted?
"When you have the power to upset other people so much that they take out their venom on you, they write reviews where they say he looked like a plucked chicken or they call him a midget. These things are decided by the people. If they found him looking like that, they'd have rejected him long ago! What kind of reviews are these? Write that he's bad actor. But he wouldn't have survived if he'd been one!"
How has he survived?
"He is not media favourite, on the countrary he's everybody favourite target. But he is definitely a top star. As far as the selling of a film or its overseas rights are concerned, he's not less than anybody else today and that's fact."
You don't think his market is slightly down?
"He's the star who's had the maxmum number of hits. If you take the average, he's starred in the bitggest of hits.Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Hum Saath Saath Hain which didn't run like the otehr two but was the biggest hit of that year, Sanam Bewafaa, Baaghi, Biwi No.1. If for example he's done 40 films, his average would be 20-25 hits. And he's one star who completes all his films on time, kabhi kisiko dubata nain. Of course if you like you could go back and write, his dad was talking as if he's given birth to Alladin ka chirag!"
Salim oncemore exhibits the ability to lace tough talk with humour. But his brand doesn't always get its recognition. Or applause. He laments,
"People have no sence of humour and to their bad luck, I have some of it.
Let me tell you about an incident when a magazine rangame up and they told me that Salman had been voted the 7th most goodlooking man in the world. I said, no, you've got the wrong message, he's the 8th. They looked up the report and said, no sir, the 7th. I said, he's the 8th. He's the 8th because they haven't seen his father! Do you know that they wrote the next day, his father is highly complexed, he compares himself to his son!"
With all the legal battles and front-page attention, this Khan family manages to keep its sense of fun afloat.
"Beleave me, there are only a handful of journalists one talks to. If it hadn't been you (thank you) I wouldn't be sitting here doing this interview.
When we trust, we trust completely. When I married Helen and I agreed to give an interview on video to a journalist I knew well, I told her to go ahead and ask us anything, I was ready to answer the most awkward questions. I say that to you too today. You can go ahead and ask me anything. During that video interview, I was asked, you have such a happy family, you hada a love marriage after going steady for five years. Why did this Helen relationship happen?
"I said, anybody who says he's not interested in a goodlooking lady either has something physically wrong with him or he is a liar. I am neither a liar nor is there anything wront with me! In this case, I got into it and halfway through the relationship, I realised that this lady (Helen) was totally dependent on me, was with her on the quiet for a year. I felt, if I leave her now, say nice meeting you, now I'm going to back to my family, I'd never be able to live with myself.
I was the first one to tell my wife Salma about Helen before she heard about it from anyone else. Obviously Salma didn't thank me for it or shake my hand and say, good show. She sulked, she went through all that. Then she realised that he's not robbing me of anything, he's giving someone something extra. If I put the condition, it's either her or me, what will I get? You'll get a husband sho's physically with you but mentally with someone else.
Helen had nobody else and she'd already had one very sad experience in her life. After having lived with a man (late filmmaker P N Arora) for so many years, there came so much bitterness in their relationship that they even fought a case over her house for 17 years. Only then did she get ownership of the house and sell it. When she was goin through these problems, many gave hehr lip sympathy. But life isn't about being with someone and when a problem arises to slowly move out sayin thank you very much, nice meeting you."
Salim-Salma-Helen have always been candid about his two wives. So why did Salman Always get angry when he was asked about his father and Helen?
"I'll tell you one thing," Salim confesses,"When the Helen thing came out into the open, there was a beautiful scine that happened in our house. I sat on the bed with the children and told them, what I'm saying to you today, you won't undestand now as children. But at least you'll remember the sound of your father's voice as he tried to tell you something. I told them, Helen Aunty is in our lives and she will always be there in our lives. I'm not going to leave her nor am I going to leave your mother. I don't expect you to love Helen Aunty as much as you love your mother. BUt if you can, and if you do this I will think I've achieved a lot in my life, then I would like you to at least respect her as much as you respect your mother.
Salman must've been about 10 years old in 1976 when this happened. And the children, after more than 20 years, still remember the incident and say, yeah daddy, we remember you talked to us. Now they've also realised that you can fall in love with one woman and then become foud of another girl. They've been through it too.
At their age, I too would've reacted the way they did. When I was 9 years old, my mother died and after one year, my father wanted to get married again. He told us children that he would like to get married again so that I, the youngest, would be looked after. And I said, no need daddy, I don't need anybody to look after me. Much later when I matured, I felt very bad that I'd denied him the companionship he'd desired. He could've got married and in his last years without my mother he was totally barren. He'd be alone,he'd give incentives to the people like, we've made kebabs today, come over. He'd loneliness was because he loved me and I'd put a concition on him and asked him not to get married again.

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2001 May 21