Thirty years as reigning stars and still shining. Superstar Salman Khan says he doesn’t really know why he and others such as Shah Rukh, Aamir and Akshay Kumar have survived in the industry for more than three decades but it is probably a combination of hard work, the right choice of films and plain luck.
The blood and sweat that goes into the process of making a movie also plays a critical role, pulling in audiences to see the film more than once, Salman said.
"By the grace of god, I can bring in Friday, Saturday and Sunday because of the way the fans are with me. After that, the film also has to be on that level that they want to go and see the film again. That’s how the film makes the numbers when people go and watch the film twice or thrice,” Salman told PTI in an interview.
"That will only happen if your blood and sweat is there in the movie and you are sincere about the time that you spend on sets, away from sets... Like you are thinking, eating, drinking, breathing that particular movie," he said.
The 57-year-old star, who made his debut as supporting actor with “Biwi Ho To Aisi” in 1988 and followed it up with the smash hit “Maine Pyar Kiya” the following year, is now basking in the success of his latest film “Tiger 3” where he once again plays a super spy.
"See, I don’t know what it is but we have been really fortunate that we have been here for over three decades. All of us actually came at that point of a time in the 90s. Ajay (Devgn), Akki (Akshay Kumar), Aamir, Shah Rukh, me and all of us have been there. Now Sunny’s film is a big hit, Sunny is back,” he said, referring to the box office run of Sunny Deol’s “Gadar 2”.
"It also depends on the right choices of the film and how interested you are. I believe I’ve been lucky that I’ve survived all these years in the industry."
"Tiger 3", which marks Salman’s third outing for Yash Raj Films as the eponymous spy, released on Diwali and beat festive day and World Cup distractions to cross over Rs 400 crore in 10 days.
The year has been particularly good for theatrical releases with big budget, medium budget and niche films all doing well at the box office and Salman said movies are best enjoyed with family in theatres.
"I think this culture of going to theatres is a very binding culture," he said, adding that if a film is good, viewers won’t like to watch it at home on a "pirated site or DVD".
"Especially, a film like this (‘Tiger 3’), where it’s an outing and bonding with friends and family. You create a bond, feel good that you are going out instead of sitting at home in a bad mood, watching a bad print," he added.
Salman says he is someone who believes in giving his best and is happy the film has been appreciated by moviegoers.
"Otherwise, films don’t do these kinds of numbers. The beauty of this one is that it has done numbers on Diwali, when the World Cup is on, now there’s free run so it will do much better numbers. It will continue as it is a long run now," he said.
Salman remembers vividly the day producer Aditya Chopra phoned with the idea of “Ek Tha Tiger”, the first film in the series. The film, directed by Kabir Khan, was finally made in 2012.
Both Kabir and Katrina Kaif, his co-star in the franchise, visited him at his Panvel farmhouse. Katrina had already worked with Kabir on "New York" and thought he had an interesting idea.
"Adi said, ‘I’ve got something for you. So I said, ‘Suna do’. Then Kabir came and narrated to me. He gave me a line about how he wanted to do it. I was like, ‘Sounds interesting’,” Salman recalled.
"I heard it in the afternoon and by interval I was okay with it... We never thought that it was going to be a second or third part. But then one did well, and then second happened and then third one. We will have four and till the time we get the love and respect from the audience, we will keep on doing stuff like this," he said.
"Tiger 3" was directed by Maneesh Sharma, the second part, titled "Tiger Zinda Hai" was made by Ali Abbas Zafar, who also directed Salman in "Sultan", another YRF project.
Salman is full of praise for his often co-star Katrina. They have worked together on the "Tiger" franchise as well as in "Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya", "Partner", "Yuvraaj" and "Bharat". In his view, she has always worked hard "because she really appreciates what god has given her".
"She respects that and wants to keep on giving her best so much so that when she is unwell, she is still doing her work, be it action, mouthing dialogues, dancing or performing, dubbing, even on interviews...
"From my side, I’ve liked her, there’s been a fondness. I’ve known her for the longest time. The person that I’m working with is a good person and that’s how it all comes about. So, for me even if I’m doing a film with her, I need to give it my best so that she doesn’t get disillusioned by the failure of the film.”
"Tiger 3" also features Emraan Hashmi as the main antagonist and Revathy, Vishal Jethwa, Kumud Mishra, Ranvir Shorey and Simran.