★(Old Article) What’s Getting Salman down?! “A lot has been said and written about @BeingSalmanKhan…
October 1 1999
Today, he is one of the three Khans ruling the roost, commanding a tremendously high price. His films do well nationally and internationally. The teenager heartthrob with a huge fan following.
Yet things don’t seem to be hunky-dory with this good looking guy. Rumours of his cancelling shoots, reporting late, playing truant and the confusion in his personal life, over Somy and Aishwarya had been continuously trickling in.
CINE BLITZ investigates WHAT’S GETTING SALMAN DOWN???
A lot has been said and written about Salman Khan. Brash, arrogant, temperamental, loving, genuine, wonderful… .A blend of contrasting traits, strengths and weaknesses. A bundle of contradictions, like Napoleon. Someone who evokes an extreme response… Love him or hate him, you certainly cannot ignore this unsolved mystery called Salman Khan! This time, however, WE’RE DISCUSSING THIS HANDSOME HUNK FOR A SHOCKINGLY DIFFERENT REASON ALTOGETHER! For a change, CINE BLITZ wants to root out where the problem actually lies - in his professional or personal life. And in the process, to discover the real Salman han. We present the problems as we have heard them, not to malign or smear his name but to get to the crux of WHAT’S PLAGUING THIS KHAN BOY? In a manner of speaking, we are trying to set the record straight!
Producer Ketan Desai, who has signed Salman on for his latest venture, apparently, also met with a similar fate. During a shooting schedule, Salman allegedly partied till the wee hours of the morning. Instead of reporting for the shoot later that day, Salman is said to have called Ketan Desai and told him to cancel the shoot, as he was too tired. . .
He has to be given the benefit of doubt, but the third time around, we hear that Salman has apparently annoyed even the Barjatyas! The Rajshri banner has proved a solid launch pad for Salman’s career. At a time when practically any hero would give an arm and a leg to break into the Rajshri camp, the Barjatyas preferred Salman. Of course, kudos to Salman too, for generating so much affection and loyalty among the Barjatyas, that they repeated him in their third film, consecutively! Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hai Koun and the latest, Hum Saath Saath Hain.
Now we hear, that the mutual admiration society is a thing of the past and THE BARJATYAS HAVE APPARENTLY SWORN NEVER TO WORK WITH SALMAN IN FUTURE!
The first blow came in the form of the infamous black buck shooting incident, during the filming of Hum Saath Saath Hain. This caused the Barjatyas embarrassment and grief. Filming progressed and all seemed forgiven but not exactly forgotten… Salman apparently adopted a very lackadaisical approach towards Hum Saath Saath Hain. On an outdoor schedule, Sooraj Barjatya wanted to film a sunrise shot and asked Salman to report at 5.00 a.m. sharp. But the hero strode in only at seven, keeping the unit waiting for two hours. When Sooraj apparently queried him on his late coming, Salmam is said to have casually replied, ‘Meri aankh nahin khuli’. Sooraj quietly went ahead with the shooting…
Flag bearers of one of India’s premier production houses, the Barjatyas are known to shun loud theatrics. Always dignified, they nevertheless make their point calmly and firmly. If they lose faith in someone, they will simply not deal with that person again.
Rising to Salman’s defence is his popular filmmaker brother Sohail Khan, on the eve of his second release, Hello Brother. “Some producers want Salman on the sets at 9.00 a.m., in spite of him having shot till 2.00 a.m., the previous night. By the time he returns home, it’s 4.00a.m.. Naturally, he would report on the sets, once or twice, by 11.00 a.m. It’s inhuman to expect him any earlier. They don’t realise that he could fall ill due to overexertion and the producers’ dates could get stuck, as is the case today.”
Having grown up with Salman, Sohail refuses to believe that his elder brother would behave unprofessionally. “Salman never messes around with schedules. He has his own production house, so he knows that 40 other people depend on that schedule taking place. Before leaving a set, after pack-up, he always asks what time he’s wanted the next day. If he wants to report late, for whatever reason, he always informs the director the previous day. He knows the problems faced by filmmakers. So if he takes time off, he makes up for it later. Salmanbhai is very focused and responsible guy.
It’s a very thin line that one treads on.” Salman allegedly blundered on. While shooting with Sooraj for the same film, Salman is said to have boasted to a colleague, that it was he who was responsible for the success of Maine Pyar Kiya and not Sooraj. While we aren’t aware of whether Sooraj has learnt of this claim, we do hear that Sooraj’s decision to not repeat Salman, is final! It seems strange that a seemingly intelligent person like Salman, would make such arrogant remarks. “With the way Salman walks and talks,” rationalises Sohail, “people feel he’s a very chilled out guy. Yet he’s very focused and responsible. PEOPLE HERE ARE JEALOUS OF SALMAN BECAUSE OF HIS GOOD LOOKS AND STATUS, AND WILL SAY ANYTHING TO RUN HIM DOWN.”
Incidentally, a few of Salman’s shootings were cancelled recently, including David Dhawan’s Chal Mere Bhai, as he wasn’t keeping well. According to sources, Salman’s personal life is the root cause of the mess he is in. The oscillation between old faithful Somy and new passion, the lovely Aishwarya Rai, has apparently driven him c-r-a-z-y. Apparently, this has driven him to seek oblivion in alcohol. Salman’s drinking wasn’t a problem earlier. A noted director who has worked with Salman remarked, “When I worked with Salman at the beginning of his career, he did not drink so much. But today, people have been discussing his drinking problem. I wonder what is compelling him to resort to alcohol?”
“Salmanbhai enjoys his drinks,” admits Sohail Khan, “but it does not affect his work. Besides, Salman loves to sleep. When he’s on the sets and he knows that the lighting will take two to three hours, as on Bhansali’s set, he will chill out in his van. Salman doesn’t like to have conversations, he would rather sleep in his van. As a result, people talk about this, ‘Why does he sleep so much? When does he act’? People can’t handle the fact that an actor like Salman does not have to be seen rehearsing his lines, like other actors do. His is sheer talent and he has given the industry five of the biggest hits.”
Indecision, though, is known to drive you to distraction. In Salman’s case, this is apparently where the problem lies. If Somy is his soul mate, Ash is his lady love and he can’t let go any of either, he’s obviously a harried man!
As rumours go, Salman is besotted with Ash but is enigmatically bonded with Somy. And friends claim that no matter what, Salman will end up marrying Somy. His marriage has become a national debate and it seems like Salman and his fans, are as confused about his marriage.
“Salman’s not confused,” defends Sohail. “He’s just chilling out. I think he’s very sensible about not rushing into marriage. He’s taking his own time to find out what he really wants in life. Arbaaz and I took a decision (marriage) early in our lives, but Salman’s taking time, probably to be more sure. I think that’s credible. Give the guy a break. Let him do his own thing. Yes, people want to know when Salmanbhai is getting married. He’s on a different tangent. Let him have a good time. Besides, people say he’s being immature about marriage. I don’t think so. In an industry where several marriages are on the rocks because they’ve rushed into them, I think Salman’s doing the right thing. As he himself says, ‘Let me do my own thing till I’m sure of what I want to do. When I know what I want, I will take that decision’. I got married when I was sure of myself, as did Arbaazbhai.”
A close associate of Salman revealed, “Salman is too involved with Somy, to marry anyone else. The Salman-Ash story is over. At present, Somy is in the States and she is expected here at any time. She’s having some sort of visa problem and chances are, that Salman may go to fetch her. But it’s a 200 per cent certainty, that Salman will marry Somy and only Somy. She herself has told him to keep their apartment ready because when she comes down, she wants to move in as Mrs. Salman Khan.”
“It’s his personal life,” shrugs Sohail. “I don’t know much about Salman and Ash, though. All I know is, that they’re very friendly ever since they did a film together. Where Somy’s concerned, yes, Salman was seeing her. She’s a very nice girl. So, let’s see how things work out. It’s their decision. I thought Sangeeta was an amazing girl. Sometimes, the chemisty does not work between two amazing people. If there’s no give and take, it does not work. As a family, we do not interfere in his life, in what he does or does not do. So whatever he decides on, our family will follow. The day he wants to get married, we will announce it in a very respectable manner. It is said that he is a celebrity and everyone wants to know what is happening in his life.”
The kind of confidence Salman’s buddies have in his relationship, is amazing. But it’s strange that the entire world seems sure of what Salman’s next move is, other than Salman, himself!
Close friends reveal that Salman loves to project this bad boy image. It’s some sort of reverse psychology at play. Basically, he is very loving and genuine, with no airs. All this brashness is just a facade to cover his vulnerability, which he safeguards from the outside world. The real Salman is very childlike, refusing to let go of favourite possessions, be it thighs or people. A macho man with a sort interior, is what Salman is all about.
“He is very sensitive,” explains Salman’s close buddy Kishan Kumar. “Not many people are aware of this side of his personality. You can’t call him a hypocrite. Salman is very transparent. If he likes you, he’ll go out of his way to show his affection but if he doesn’t like you, he just doesn’t like you. People may term him whatever they choose to, but Salman is a very nice person. People don’t see the good things about him.
“I was touched by Salman’s gesture when he visited a 10-year-old boy suffering from cancer, at the Tata Memorial Hospital. The day the boy was to undergo an operation, he expressed his desire to meet Salman. When I told Salman about this, he immediately rushed to the hospital. Though Salman was busy, he spent a lot of time with him. I know that many people are kind enough to show concern in such matters but the difference with Salman is, that till date, he has kept in touch with the boy and is concerned about him.”
“Bhai has always had a good heart,” claims Sohail. “He just does not like to talk about it, like others do. In fact, he had told several magazine people to donate an amount to a charity of his choice, after which, he would do an interview with them. But they backed out! That’s why they began writing nasty articles about him. When Salman does something for charity-and he does a lot-people say he is doing it for publicity. Arre, neither Salman nor his films need publicity! He does it out of the goodness of his heart.”
True! Nobody talks of how large-hearted Salman is. Having known the Khan clan, one knows how they go out of their way to do their bit for the needy. Having personally been a witness to several such acts, one recalls how Salman and the neighbourhood boys helped rescue a drunken man who fell into the sea opposite his Bandra seaside residence. Nor can one forget how he and his family rallied around at the Cancer Patients do for children at Three Flights Up. Salman personally collected rupees 12 lakhs from his friends in the industry, like Sanjay Dutt, Sajid Nadiadwala, Nitin Manmohan and others. And not so long ago, Salman even went through excruciating pain, as he donated bone narrow to a child in need.
With episodes like this, Salman appears to be the most mis read actor in the industry! Which makes at all the more awful to see such a good looking, talented, successful actor, neglect himself in such a manner.
The ruling sultan of Bollywood, the innocent-faced, wide-eyed actor with a gigantic fan following, a total paisa vasool hero backed by an international market that amounts to crores, Salman, along with his competitor Shah Rukh, is said to be setting a new trend by demanding a share in the overseas market profits of his films. He is said to be charging a price equivalent to an international territory.
Sohail, however, begs to differ. “I don’t know where you’ve got this news from. Salman’s price differs from project to project. He’d probably do a film for peanuts, if he was very excited about the project. Today, no artiste has a fixed price. If a new filmmaker comes long with a great script and not much money. I’m sure Salmanbhai will adjust.” Considering the kind of popularity he has garnered, we guess Salman is in a position to make such demands.
Equipped with a terrific business sense and a cancer graph that defies gravity. THE ONE THING SALMAN CAN’T AFFORD TO DO, IS THROW IT ALL UP!
Even Sohail cannot deny however, that Salman is looking terribly run-down of late. “Salman has worked every day of his life since Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989. Ninety per cent of the time he works with friends, so he can’t offend anyone. THIS IS THE FIRST WEEK HE HAS GENUINELY HAD TO TAKE OFF AS HE WAS UNWELL, IN FACT, HE WAS BEDRIDDEN. I’ve told him he deserves to fall sick. It’s a sheer case of exhaustion. Salman has been travelling a lot and he didn’t realise it would take its toll on him. It’s really strange how some producers cramp him with a lot of work. They over work him and don’t even give him an off on Sunday! In fact, THERE ARE SEVEN TO EIGHT PRODUCERS, SO-CALLED FRIENDS OF HIS, WHO ARE EMOTIONALLY BLACKMAILING SALMAN! They say, ‘You’ve given us your dates, so you have to shoot’. As a result the poor guy just gives in.”
With the facts set straight in a manner like that, it’s a case of not really being able to bell the cat with Salman. For whatever you hear of him, there’s a stressful fact in his life chasing just that rumour… Ranjeeta-Keith