Salman Khan in Dubai for Ready premiere (video added)
Screaming UAE fans show Salman Khan they are 'Ready'
Despite his tardiness, Khan tackled issues about his Being Human charity, film piracy and 'Andaz Apna Apna' sequel
By Bindu Suresh Rai
Even though the UAE media and gaping fans were ready for Salman Khan, the Bollywood superstar clearly wasn’t, considering he made everyone wait a little over 1.5 hours to kick off his press conference to announce the premiere of his new film, “Ready” in Dubai tonight.
But fans and sponsors didn’t seem to mind the long wait considering they managed to interact with one of India’s most popular actors, who also happened to be in-check with his trademark sense of humour that kept everyone laughing through the 30-minute event.
However, before anyone could even frame a question to get the media meet underway, Khan was quick to point out: “Let me just say that we had fights on the sets of “Ready”. As everyone in India seems to be asking us the question, we might as well admit to it. Next question please.”
This was Khan’s way of dealing with the controversies that have seen the Indian press lap up news of creative differences between the actor and director, Anees Bazmee (who was also in attendance). So much has been speculated that at one point Khan had even reportedly directed the film in parts as he was unhappy with the final product.
A veteran in answering queries without ever really answering them, when quizzed about the film’s USP, Khan said: “There are so many people here at this event. That is our USP.”
When only silence welcomed him back, he added: “This is a situational comedy, good for families as there is no vulgarity. If there is any exposure, it is not by Asin (the film’s co-star) but all mine. Anees tried to expose too but it didn’t happen.”
He went on to add: “All of us had a blast shooting for this film and after “Andaz Apna Apna”(Khan’s cult classic), this is the first film where all of us have cracked up between takes.
“Plus, Asin, who unfortunately couldn’t be here as her passport is stuck at the UK immigration office as she is meant to fly to London to shoot for “Housefull 3” (actually part two, but who’s checking), is a very competent actor.”
Produced by T-Series, Rajat Rawail and Suhail Khan Productions, Khan joked about how a good product this film was, which is why “so many producers have attached their name to it.”
Trade pundits have already speculated that the film’s opening could possibly rival even that of Khan’s National Award-winning “Dabangg” last year.
However, Khan wasn’t happy with that. “I want this film to break the record of “3 Idiots” (one of India’s most successful film till date).”
When told that “Dabangg” had actually performed a better opening at the ticket receipts than the Aamir Khan-starrer he mentioned, Khan’s look of disbelief said it all.
Marketing, which takes up a big percentage of a film’s budget in Bollywood these days, sees stars and filmmakers put on big events to promote their prior to its release. When asked what Khan and the filmmakers of “Ready” had planned, he said: “My marketing strategy is, where I have been asked to go, I have. They told me to come to Dubai, I did. They asked me to come again, I came again.”
Quizzed about introducing trademark one-liners into his films as a marketing gimmick, he laughed and said: “My father (Salim Khan, a famous Bollywood scriptwriter) says, when the time is right, you will be able to bat far with just a few choice words.
“Take his famous lines from “Sholay”, which became a cult overnight. Kids picked up those lines because luck and timing played a part. Same applies for my films and my one-liners.”
All for a cause
However, the nonconformist actor that he is, the eve of the release of his film in India, will see the actor do what he does best: bring joy to the underprivileged.
“We are taking a step away from this marketing and tomorrow we are organising special screenings with Being Human (his charity organisation), to invite nearly 3,000 underprivileged children to see the film,” he said.
Khan, whose Being Human organisation has helped raise hundreds of thousands to help the needy, has also pledged giving a part of his income to the film industry workers who don’t earn enough to make ends meet.
“I haven’t decided how much of my income will be given from each film or how the breakdown will occur. I also am unsure of whether a formal unit will organise the cut or would I go straight to the 22 associations of workers in the industry. It is still in the planning stages, but hopefully will start very soon,” he said.
The actor appeared uncomfortable about speaking about his personal charity work, but when asked about his feelings on fake Being Human merchandising entering the market, the actor saw red.
Without being able to print the colourful words he used to describe these pirates, he said: “These dogs are sick people who don’t realise that this is money not for big corporations but for poor, underprivileged people. They are stealing from them. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Piracy is something that has been a bone of contention with, considering the actor also recently took to micro blogging site Twitter and spoke about the rip off merchandise and the pirated DVDs entering the market, prior to “Ready’s” release.
“What is spent by the filmmakers on a film, almost twice of that revenue is lost to piracy. We, in fact, wanted to hold a special screening of “Ready” for the case and crew of my new film “Bodyguard” in Patiala, but we cancelled it due to the worry that the print might get leaked somehow,” he said.
Talking about his action man avatar of late in films, with “Bodyguard” being his next, Khan said: “It is only in the last two years I have been signing on for semi action films. Prior to that was only “Karan Arjun”, which was over a decade ago. Plus, action keeps you on your toes and I am happy with his genre.”
He added: “I have done some every bad films during my career, “Kyon Ki” being one of them, which made me wonder, why I ever signed on for such a movie to begin with. However, these days I only shoot for films that I will see as an audience member.”
Khan, who has his schedule full with film projects over the next few years, said that a sequel to “Andaz Apna Apna” could also very well happen.
“We have been ready for a sequel for the last 20 years, and both Aamir and I have been hearing rumours about it. Give us a good script and we will be ready. But the film has to be 20 times better than its predecessor,” he revealed.
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