He pulls her leg at every opporunity he gets, she’s probably the only person allowed to make fun of him in public.
Katrina Kaif and Salman Khan could have been Bollywood’s ultimate power couple, but the ‘close friends’ haven’t lost an iota of the chemistry that makes them sizzle on-screen upcoming action thriller Ek Tha Tiger.
As they stop over at the HT Cafe office for a tell-all session, we get to see the Sallu-Kat magic up close and personal.
You’ve teamed up with Katrina after a long time. Does she seem different?
Katrina: Congratulations! You get the medal for the 500th time this question has been asked in the past few days (laughs).
Salman: Haan, bas thodi lambi ho gayi hai (Just that she has grown taller now).
Katrina: Yeah, I was a growing girl. I don’t know. I’ve grown up completely. Or, maybe not!
As a person or as an actor?
Katrina: If I were to say that I’ve grown completely as a person that would sound a bit funny. I haven’t realised how much time has passed. Years go by so quickly.
When you first worked with Salman, you were starting out in the industry. Now, you are a huge star. How has your equation changed?
Katrina: When I walk onto the sets now, Salman will stand up or he will kick me (laughs). It’s exactly the same. He thinks that when I talk, I don’t make sense. One day he’ll get the genius of my statements. But the main difference is before, when he would try and improvise with our lines, I’d get a heart attack. Now, I’ll say, ‘okay, give me a minute.
Aamir Khan says Ek Tha Tiger is more than just Salman Khan.
Salman: More than Salman Khan? He wants to take credit for it? Salman Khan is Salman Khan.
Katrina: You can write Salman Khan in a big font, and then, give credit to Katrina Kaif, Kabir Khan and Aditya Chopra in small letters Salman: Sabse chotte wale toh tere (The tiniest font for you).
Salman, you shot this film when you were unwell. Was it tough?
Salman: No, it was easy. I’ve been handling the pain for the last eight years. But, I had surgery recently, so I had to be careful.
Apparently a few body doubles were used.
Salman: We have to use body doubles for rehearsals. Agar 10 baar jump karna hai toh kaheko 10 baar jump karo yaar (If I have to give the same jumping shot 10 times, why should I do it myself?) Doing the action scenes was difficult because when we designed them, we thought it would be hot. But when we started shooting (in England), the temperature was below 0 degrees, and I was wearing t-shirts all through. All the fighters around me were wrapped in jackets and I was the only one shooting in a t-shirt.
You often visited a café called Del-Mar when you were shooting in Mardin, Turkey. Now, they’re calling it Salman Khan Café.
Salman: (surprised) They are? We ate there once and I liked the ambience, so we used to hang out there. They wanted to learn different cuisines, and found Indian food interesting. So, I had my chef teach them. The owner was very sweet. He used to chant with this tasbi (a religious beaded chain), which he gave me when I left. I took it on the condition that I would return it the next time we met.
What have you learned from Ek Tha Tiger?
Salman: It’s a good question, but I don’t know how to answer it. Aisa lag raha hai ki hum spiritual class ke andar mein hai (Seems like we’re sitting in some spiritual class). We’ve had many years of experience in filmmaking. We know where the director is going to place the camera, what we have to say, etc. With this film, we knew it would be good, but we didn’t expect this kind of action.
Katrina: You didn’t learn anything from me?
Salman: Shut up, yaar.
Katrina, does it help to have the biggest action hero next to you? Did he give you tips?
Katrina: There was one point in the film, where we were doing the kicks, where I was not very comfortable. Though it was all choreographed, I wasn’t able to remember the sequence. Salman asked me to treat it like a dance. That was the best tip — make it like a dance step and then worry about the pose.
The ticket prices for your films have increased. How do you react to this?
Salman: I don’t like these things, but it’s not in my control now.
Salman explains, “The Hindi remake will have to be a commercial film, and not a documentary. It may fetch a National Award, but what’s the point if no one goes to the theatre to watch the movie, and instead watches it on DVD? People should buy tickets, enjoy the film and spread the word. And whatever money is eventually collected from the ticket sales should be given to a charitable trust.”
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