Salman Khan wanted to make a million, that’s all!
As one of the country’s highest-paid superstars even today, Salman Khan charges a mind-boggling fee, or/and a share in the profits for a new outside film. And that happens when the film is not a home production of either his brothers Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan, or also brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri and mom Salma Khan as official producers.
But in his struggling days, though he was the son of the superstar among writers, Salim Khan (of Salim-Javed fame), he would struggle with some ad film assignments and would borrow or get used jeans from actor Kumar Gaurav, who would sometimes even lend Salman his car for dates!
In an interview after his 55th birthday that fell on December 27, Salman has said that his ‘funda’ was always hard work. “If one is successful, one has to work hard. If one is not successful, one still has to work hard. So the hard work never really stops!” he said.
Salman admits that good luck has played a huge role in his life and career, admitting that there are so many bigger than him, and being grateful to God for giving him everything he has today, along with his position. In the beginning, just like his idol Dharmendra just desired “A flat (apartment) and a Fiat (car)”, Salman only wanted to make just a million (Rs. 10 lakh)!
Today, that amount can be rightly termed chicken-feed when we consider his worth and commanded price per film. As director Chandra Barot (who scripted Salim-Javed’s Don) said, “Over 25 years after Don, Salman, who was a kid then, told my son that I would give the three brothers a ride in my convertible car and ten rupees each for ice-cream. This man, who commands crores, still remembers the value of Rs. 10!”
Salman also stated in the interview that many actor friends would make it big one day. But they would be replaced or thrown out. Salman himself had little work in some flop phases before he came back like a storm with Dabangg in 2010. “That is when I realized that an actor has to give his best to every film!” he said.
Some years ago, his father had confided to me that his son had finally learnt to say ‘No!’ to people who exploited him into making cameos or signing wrong projects out of sentiment or friendship.
Here, then, is one mega-star who has come up—truly—the hard way!