Free Press Journal

To present Salman Khan differently in every film is a challenge, admits Ali Abbas Zafar

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Salman Khan, Bharat, Salman Khan in Bharat, Bharat director, Ali Abbas Zafar

After “Sultan” and “Tiger Zinda Hai”, Bollywood director Ali Abbas Zafar is set to work with Salman Khan again in “Bharat”. He says presenting him differently in every project is a challenge. In “Sultan” and “Tiger Zinda Hai”, Zafar managed to show Salman as a middle-aged wrestler and a RAW agent.

Asked how does he approach the superstar and break his on-screen image, the director said, “It is an interesting process to explore and the challenge remains how to present him differently. I think it all starts with the script and the way we write the story. We always want to be sure not to repeat what he has already played on-screen and how differently we can project a character. ‘Sultan’ was a very different story from ‘Tiger Zinda Hai.”

He pointed out how “Sultan” saw Salman essay an emotional man who lost everything, but in “Tiger Zinda Hai”, he is seen doing something for the good in a crisis situation. “Salman is a quintessential hero and he has star power. His fans want to see him in a certain way. I had to do justice to both – that is why Salman fans loved both the movies.”


Does the actor’s larger than life image create any limitation for a director to experiment with his character? Zafar said: “No, we have to consider the story and understand if he fits in the story. The question is, ‘Is this the right story for Salman Khan to do’? Because everything starts with the writing process.”

Whether it is the loud-natured outspoken Dimple in his debut film “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan”, wrestling champion Aarfa Hussain in “Sultan” and Zoya, the Pakistani spy who is involved in hand-to-hand combat against terrorists to stand for peace in “Tiger Zinda Hai” — Zafar has always presented women in strong characters in all his films.

On that, he said: “Well, I think women are strong, and we are a country of strong, powerful women. We celebrate it. I have grown up among strong women in my house, starting from my mother. So I see no reason for projecting them another way.”