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“Salman has his heart on his sleeve” Director Kabir Khan

Kabir Khan is all set to rule the movie business with his third movie with Salman. Tubelight is set to release this Friday and aren’t we all excited to watch Salman as Laxman? Kabir Khan talks about his experience on working with Salman and other aspect of movie making. Excerpts :

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Would you like to comment anything on Salman’s performance for Tubelight?

This is my third film with Tubelight and I must say that Salman’s effort in this is marvelous. I think he was a little laid back in Ek Tha Tiger because he was more like let’s get done with it. With Bajrangi, Salman was at ease because that’s what he is. In Tubelight I can say he has put in effort to take out that macho man nature from his image and get into the shoes of his character. There have been scenes where I was surprised to see him perform that way. My only concern was to maintain consistency and that I have done.

How much freedom did you give Salman on sets?

Not only Salman, I give all my actors the freedom to improvise. I never over direct or do workshop beyond needed because I believe in the spontaneity that actors have on sets. I don’t want to over direct and keep a measured standard for my actors, only after they are done with the first shot I step in, that’s only when it is required. I lay down the context of the scene and character and after that; I want the actor to step in.

What do you have to say about Matin ?

He is a really talented actor, all the credibility goes to the casting director Mukesh Chabra for finding Matin for me. He also brought Harshali for Bajrangi and I am really happy we could find talent like that.

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You have also made documentary films, what do you think is the difference in mainstream movies and documentaries?

Two of my films which are most similar to each other are Kaabul express and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. If you see both of them back to back, you would realize both of them are almost the same. The tone of humor, narration and the road journey is almost similar. Because Salman Khan has a wider appeal to it, Bajrangi became such a big hit.

There were stories of you casting Salman Khan in Kaabul Express?

No I just happened to meet Salman out of the blue. I was probably wandering around with a script and didn’t know anybody. A friend who had worked with him asked me ‘Teko Bhai se milna hai?’ and I was like Bhai se kyun nahi milna hai, I had that curiosity to meet Salman Khan. He was surprisingly warm and I narrated him the script and showed him the DVDs and he told me that he would want to play the terrorist. I took it as a joke and went back. After the release of Kaabul Express I happened to meet him and he confronted me for not coming back to him. that meeting proved out to be a very crucial meeting for my career because when my script for New York was ready, Aditya Chopra advised me to take Katrina as my heroine as she would fit in the role of an NRI girl perfectly, Katrina didn’t like the story, she was looking for a full-fledged Yash Raj movie. At that time Salman and Katrina were together so after having a word with Salman, he asked the director’s name and when Katrina told my name, Salman asked her to give in as he has seen my work.

What is more important to you, Story or Star cast?

Definitely story and the audience has proved it. we talk about main stream cinema and then have movies like Dangal which has no good looking hero, just a 90 kg Aamir, no action, no lip-sync song, no love story but still it’s the biggest earning movie of Bollywood. Even in Bajrangi, the whole movie is an anti-Salman Khan movie with no action and no location, but it is his biggest movie till date. The superstars will get much wider appeal but if the story is not good, the movie will not do well and there have been movie which did not do well in terms of critical acclaims and numbers.

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How do you want your audience to remember you?

I often say, I came to this industry to make a documentary and that will be all. I would be happy after having done that movie, whatever comes after my way would be my success.

How do you celebrate Eid now?

Oh I have been celebrating Eid from the last six years. I think I will have to tell my kid that Eid is a festival and not really his father’s movie release date. It never was a compulsion to release my movies on Eid, it just happened by chance. Even for Salman it’s just a date to but when one thing gets hit, the machinery takes over. The idea has always been to release a movie during holidays for the extra benefit of more audience.

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As it is your third movie with Salman, what is the comfort zone you share with him?

Oh there is a lot of comfort between us now that we have done three films together. I know how will take up a scene and he knows how I will do my thing. If I tell him about a certain thing he would agree to that now, had it been our first movie there would probably be arguments and discussions. What is special about Salman is that he keeps his heart on his sleeve. He has not hidden agendas, if he is happy it will be clearly seen on his face.

What is Shahrukh’s cameo role in the movie?

You will have to watch the movie for that but I really wanted a cameo role in this film and Shahrukh was the first choice I had in mind. I spoke with Salman about it and he was happy about it too. The magic that they both create together in that scene is something to look out for. When he came on the shooting day, I remember the crew became the audience, I know the magic and essence will be the same to watch two superstars together in the same frame.

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