I am open to arranged marriage, says Salman Khan

Mumbai,Chaya Unnikrishnan: He is irreverent and witty with a wry sense of humour. Just when you think he is seriously giving you an answer, he will crack a joke and take you unawares. Whether it is his film Sultan clashing with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees (which he feels is the best thing to happen), or reuniting with Sooraj Barjatya (he confesses it was difficult), Salman Khan tells it like it is. In this freewheeling interview, the superstar talks about everything from his upcoming Bajrangi Bhaijaan to his views on arranged marriage.

You have always had a great equation with children and they love you. How was it working with the little girl Harshali Malhotra in Bajrangi Bhaijaan?
It was really difficult because the child is not acting at all. She is just being her natural self. You, on the other hand, are grown-up and feel like acting. But you can’t compete with a child’s innocence and timing. Or for that matter, an animal’s timing or somebody who is having a good run at that point. Some actors ka sur lag jaata hai in the night, some are very good during some part of the day. At such times, you don’t compete, you just encourage them. That’s what I did in the film.

You have co-starred with Kareena Kapoor in several films and are pairing up with her again in Bajrangi Bhaijaan…
It’s always beautiful working with her. I have a great rapport, a great relationship with Kareena off and on screen. She is a family member — she has grown up in front of us, so it’s very comfortable. Perhaps Kareena is a star in other movies, but for me, she is not a star, neither am I for her.

Sonam Kapoor worked with you in Saawariya and now in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, she is your heroine. Do you see any changes in her?
After so many films, she is much better as a performer. She has that innocence and poise. What’s more, she looks the character she is playing, which is more than 90 per cent of the battle won.

You are reuniting with Sooraj Barjatya after a long time. How was it shooting with him?
It was really difficult. Sooraj is Sooraj Barjatya — he is in the same mould of Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! with all that innocence and purity. However, I have moved on with films like Wanted, Dabangg and Kick, so for me to come back to the Rajshri format was difficult, initially. But, you see, Sooraj — the way he does it — you feel his niceness and purity, absorb that and it becomes simpler. Eventually, you start becoming that character. In fact, after playing these two characters, from BB and PRDP, I wish I never lose these characteristics. The more that I can take from Bajrangi.. and Prem Ratan… and store it all my life, I would love it.

There are reports of you booking Dabangg 3 as an Eid 2107 release.
Currently, we are writing the script. It’s all there in the mind, we just have to sit down for three-four days and pen it down. I don’t know if it will be an Eid 2017 release, though. If the film is ready and there is a gap of three-four months for Eid, Diwali or Christmas, we will adjust accordingly. Sometimes ek mahina idhar-udhar ho jaata hai, like we missed the Christmas date for Jai Ho and so had to release in January. Come to think of it, we usually miss our dates!

That’s actually what the makers of Raees must be hoping for. That your Sultan will miss the Eid date next year…
I don’t know what’s going to happen, but both Raees and Sultan are scheduled as Eid releases. It is perhaps the best thing to happen. People will try to accommodate both the films by building more theatres and lots more screens. There will be more excitement for fans. SRK and I will work much harder and pray that both films will be better. I love Shah Rukh a lot and I don’t think he needs to worry at all because the last time our movies came together he had beaten me. So, even if Sultan and Raees are releasing on the same day, loss mera hi hoga.

Won’t the collections of both films be affected?
No, people will start saving money for both the movies from now!

When do you start shooting for Sultan?
From November this year. After promoting Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I go back to shooting Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and after that, Sultan. However, I need two months to prepare for the role. I will be doing boxing and mixed martial arts, for which I will start working out soon.

Is the heroine finalised? There have been reports of you recommending Kriti Sanon while Aditya Chopra wants Parineeti Chopra in the film…
I don’t interfere in these things. The producer and the writer decide which girl suits the role and if she has dates. They ask me, but that’s it. Recommending somebody is like taking away somebody else’s work.

Annually, you do one film for family. Which do you start next?
There’s a film with Atul Agnihotri, but we are still working on it. It should roll next year.

Will Sonakshi Sinha be part of Dabangg 3?

Then why is Jacqueline not part of the Kick sequel? You said she has been “kicked’ out of Kick 2?
We are not making a sequel to Kick! How can Jacqueline be a part of something that is not being made? Sajid (Nadiadwalla) and I are doing a film together, but it is not a continuation of Kick, it’s a completely different story. As for saying Jacqueline is “kicked” out, I was just jesting.

Will you be hosting Bigg Boss this year?
I don’t know. The channel hasn’t asked me. I think Farah (Khan) is doing it. She hosted the latter part of it last year and the TRPs had increased. They realised Farah is a better choice!

Have you got the invitation for Shahid Kapoor’s marriage?
Not yet, but I am sure he will send an invite.

Shahid is having an arranged marriage. What are your views on it?
It’s good. I will say to each his own.

Are you open to an arranged marriage?
Nobody has sent me a proposal! If somebody does send me one, I will seriously consider it. I am open to arranged marriage. Sometimes, love marriages don’t work and arranged marriages do. And sometimes, it’s the other way around. It depends on the individuals, how they go about their lives, how compatible they are.