Salman Khan has been in the thick of things. From promoting his upcoming film Antim: The Final Truth to his Bigg Boss shoots and managing a hectic schedule along with press interviews, the superstar is super busy. While Aayush Sharma had said in an interview earlier that there were two heroes in Antim, Salman clearly states that there is one. “Two farmers lose everything. One guy becomes a gangster, and the other becomes a cop. So there is only one hero in the film,” avers Salman.
The actor who is known for getting his personal, funny side into his films has not got the quirky side of Radhe or Chulbul Pandey into the cop Rajveer Singh. “This character is more like Arjun Ranawat of Garv: Pride And Honour. This is a cop who knows what he wants to do, and he is ready to face any humiliation from a politician, but he wants to do exactly what is required so that he can achieve the desired result,” says Salman.
He went on to explain that the character is more in the classical form of the quintessential hero - yet with a dash of reality in the director Mahesh Manjrekar’s style of filmmaking, stripping the stardom of his lead actor and making him real. “Mahesh is a great filmmaker. He knows exactly what he wants. He is a fighter. He had cancer, and he overcame it (touch wood) and has made a very good film,” says Salman.
The Dabangg star had heard the film’s story a long time ago from Mahesh Limaye, the director of photography for both Dabangg 3 and Mulshi Pattern. “Mahesh Limaye had narrated the story to me when we were shooting Dabangg 3. Even Mahesh Manjrekar was a part of Mulshi Pattern. We had earlier wanted to make the film and shoot it in the north of India. But I was sitting in my Panvel farmhouse during the pandemic, and we got a lot of ideas. Then after I discussed the subject with Mahesh, we decided to make it here in Maharashtra and weave the characters here itself,” Salman adds.
Normally film remakes stick to the same script; however, Salman says that is not the case with Antim. “The Marathi film only had five or six scenes for the cop. This is a different film because one man who has a similar issue and is very righteous turns into a cop, and he knows that he has to do his job,” Salman clarifies.
Ask Salman what he likes best in his brother-in-law and costar Aayush on a professional level, and he shares a personal story that is intertwined with a professional one. “Long ago we were planning a film called My Punjabi Nikaah. Sohail was directing the film, and he was looking for an actor for the lead. One day, he told me that a boy in his gymnasium is very good and could play the lead. But for a while, he had not seen him around. One day we saw a boy standing with Arpita, and my parents and the boy asked for Arpita’s hand in marriage. Sohail said, ‘This is the same boy who I wanted to cast in the film’,” laughs Salman.
Salman also has plans of opening multiple theatres across India. He had wanted to start off in Maharashtra, then repeat the module in other states and in the two and three-tier cities. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed Salman’s plans. “I had planned it over three years ago. The planning was on, but then we had to stall it for a while. We will restart the process very soon. There are so many places in our country that do not have theatres. These are the small towns,” Salman shares.
He adds, “There are many theatres in the big cities. All over India, we have around three to four crore people only going to the theatres to watch movies. If we increase the number of theatres, we will have a lot more people watching films, and there will be a lot more collections for the industry. There are so many people who are directly or indirectly employed by the industry. It will give a lot more people a chance to earn a livelihood.”
Salman has also been promoting Satyamev Jayate 2, starring John Abraham on his show even though both films are clashing at the box office. And he is happy that the critics held back their pen during Sooryavanshi’s release. “They did a good job, and it helped the film do well. It is important that the movie industry gets back on its feet or what will they write about,” Salman smiles.
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