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Salman Khan
To err is human and Salman Khan is human after all. And yet unmasking this brattiest, arrogant, and an actor with a king size ego (all these sobriquets heaped upon him by one and all) proved to be a daunting task even for a veteran journo like me. As beyond and behind his exterior fašade therein lies not only an iota, but oodles of vulnerability and innocence in him which needed extradition. So what if he always prefers to live in his own make believe world, which falls off like a pack of cards once he crosses the thin line and steps into the arena of what is by now, especially in his case, termed as inebriated, intoxicated and a tipsy state. So ultimately, cornering a news making and a controversial star like him can either be a scribe's delight or sometimes even his worst nightmare.

As it had happened years ago when I had, had my first ever encounter with him on the sets of Saawan Kumar Tak's film Sanam Bewafa. The venue was Mehboob Studio's make up room, wherein, in the process of donning the grease paint for that day's shoot, he had just kept nodding his head with a faint 'yes' or 'no' escaping his lips occasionally to all my queries while I had just stood there in the doorway jotting down his utterly disinterested responses. (A feat which was repeated once, by King Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) too, but in his make up van and on the sets of Shashilal Nair's film One 2 Ka Four at St. Andrews College in Bandra.)

And now! The Salman Khan of today? Well! At this juncture I would like to take the liberty of quoting one of my colleagues apt description of him, "The shooting 'Star' has fallen. So Salman Khan, once a person of a highly volatile and scathing temperament is now a simmering and quiet epitome of a repentant despair". In fact I quite agree with this nondescript description of the media's favorite whipping boy. So recently when I, accidentally bumped into him and then, cornered him, albeit with a little bit of apprehension he indeed proved to be totally mellowed down with all his defenses down and luckily for both of us he was in fact brimming with a joi de vivre spirit. May be winning the recent critical acclaim and crowd pulling, public adulation for Satish Kaushik's film Tere Naam had done the trick as he turned out to be co-operation personified. Needless to add that he handled all the court martial led queries, of his professional front to the personal trauma of his 'Ash'y liaison, Jr. Oberoi's mid-night nightmare, Jr. Kapoor and director Satish Kaushik's alleged assaulting incidents and above all the black buck and the accidental bakery episodes, with equal ease and a seriousness rarely witnessed in him. Read on.

The Record (TR): Right. At the outset, tell us why do you always share this love and hate relationship with the members of the fourth estate?
Salman Khan (SK): You are getting it all wrong brother. In fact it's the other way round as I believe or rather it's a fact that a certain section of the gossipy tribe of the media had always shared a malicious hate relationship with me on all counts. But otherwise on the professional front the rest of the media tribe has always been very fair to me by honestly and diligently calling a spade a spade. I don't think and never even came across one single review or an article in which I found them to be biased against me as far as my performance or even my entire career is concerned.

TR: So, is this an obvious reference to the critical acclaim that you have received for your latest release Tere Naam?
SK: I told you brother. I have always received rave reviews whenever I really deserved it, no doubt about it and I am deeply indebted to all of them. But even otherwise in spite of all my shortcomings I have always been praised and showered with compliments galore that too from the motley tribe of the scribes known as the hardcore critics.

You can read the rest of our exclusive interview with Salman Khan in the January 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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