New Delhi: Superstar Salman Khan feels taking advantage of someone with a promise to give work is disgusting, and says if he comes across any such person, he takes the person to the “cleaners”.
The actor addressed the issue at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in partnership with CNN-News18 held here on Thursday. Asked about the existence of the casting couch in the Hindi film industry, the actor said: “No one has come and confirmed it. I have been there for the longest time, my father has been here (for) more (time) than me. Till today I have not heard anyone come and say it straight out.” “Now, being a beautiful woman or a man, someone or the other is going to flirt with you,” the actor said, adding that it is different from harassment.
The 52-year-old superstar said: “If someone is there with a principle that you have to sleep with them to get a job, then it is the most disgusting thing ever. I have not heard anything like this. If a lady or a man comes up to me and tells me that something of the sort has happened with them, I will take them down to the cleaners.”
The entertainment industry — be it Hollywood or Bollywood– is having its moment of reckoning in the wake of sexual abuse reports coming in from all quarters. It started with numerous women coming forward to allege that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein used his position to harass them. Since then, many have come out in the open to talk about sexual advances from big names like Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Ben Affleck, Brett Ratner and Dustin Hoffman.
Salman began his journey in filmdom with “Biwi Ho To Aisi” in 1988, and came into the limelight following his act as Prem in the endearing love saga “Maine Pyar Kiya” in 1989. He has essayed multiple action, romantic and comedy roles in projects like “Dabangg”, “Kick”, “Ek Tha Tiger”, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” and “Sultan”. But he has been in the news for the wrong reasons as well.
When asked if he had an interesting life, Salman said: “I had the most boring life, it was your fraternity (media) that made it interesting… If one had to come and live my life, that person would find it boring and hectic.”
Talking about his public image, the actor — who was struggling with a bad throat here — said: “For the last 30 years, I am told I am misunderstood. How can someone be misunderstood for decades.
“The kind of life I have led is the kind everyone has led. I have been working 24 hours, seven days a week. The rest you hear is because people are running their own shows… It’s a hardworking life I have led. I still live in a one-bedroom apartment. My parents also believe that I must have said something wrong, until they watch the clip.”
He is facing multiple court cases, and Salman does get bothered by it. But the actor says the show must go on.
“I have to smile, go to interviews, romance on-screen even if I am worried about my court cases.”
There was also a mention of the much talked about nepotism issue. Salman said he didn’t even know the term before actress Kangana Ranaut brought it up.
“A manager cannot get a successful person work. But, a management company can get work by being persistent for those people who are not doing well for themselves. But it only depends on how focused, how hardworking that management company is. So most of them want to sign big stars, which is a damn good thing. But then they need to concentrate on people who have potential,” he said.