The hero battling insurmountable odds - it's a theme that has almost faded from Hindi films, but one man wants to bring it back.
Salman Khan, who delivered two consecutive hits in "Wanted" and "Dabangg", says it's a conscious effort on his part to make movies where larger than life characters are glorified.
"It's a conscious effort to get those heroes back because I started missing them big time. I want to go to a theatre and I want to see my hero. We used to have it, but now we have romantic films, we have romcoms, so we have started missing heroes. I am in the business and I can pull it off," Salman told IANS in an exclusive interview.
"People thought we were putting our wrong foot forward with Dabangg'," said the 45-year-old who has worked in more than 80 films in the last 23 years.
" 'Dabangg' was made for the masses. We were discouraged for the title 'Dabangg'. Who is going to watch the film named 'Dabangg'? Half of the people can't pronounce it properly and most doesn't know the meaning. The hero is a cop from UP (Uttar Pradesh). New girl, new director, 'mar jaoge, barbaad ho jaoge' (it is suicidal, it will ruin you)," said Salman.
"We kept on making the film. We didn't have a financier and we had to produce the film. We knew what we were making, but most people thought that this was another C-grade kind of action film. When the first promo came out, more than anything the children hooked on to it. When we were kids, we always wanted to see heroism," he added.
One of the hit Khans of Bollywood, Salman believes, "When you have action backed by proper emotion, nothing can stop the film."
He has delivered quite a few turkeys at the box office, but says he never panicked after facing disasters.
"I didn't panic when my films bombed left, right and centre because I knew that those films are going to bomb," said Salman who feels he has a certain responsibility towards his audiences.
"I have realised that I have some responsibility towards that one person who spends Rs.10 or Rs.500 to see my movie. Even if I don't get any remuneration, salary for my films, I am fine with that...It's something I am not worried about at all.
"What I am worried about is that when the film releases, when the guy who has spent Rs.10 to see my film, he should get entertainment worth Rs.100," said Salman.
Now fans are waiting for his Ready" and "Bodyguard", both remakes of southern films. "Ready", a remake of the 2008 Telugu movie of the same name, was directed by Sreenu have Vaitla who is wielding the megaphone for the Hindi version as well, while "Bodyguard", inspired by director Siddique's 2010 Malayalam romantic comedy, is being directed by Anees Bazmee.
"I think it's a coincidence that my next films are remakes. Earlier they (South) used to copy our films. My father's scripts used to be broken down and made into films. Now 'Dabangg' and '3 idiots' are being remade there.
"When we remake a Hollywood film or a Chinese film, they are watched by the whole world, but when they (southern filmmakers) remake our film, a limited audience watches it - like Tamilians watch Tamil, Malayalis watch Malayalam. So it doesn't make any difference at the box office," said Salman.
His last two films "Wanted" and "Dabangg" were mega hits. Is he looking forward to making a hat-trick with "Ready"?
"I am looking at 100 hat-tricks together, which everyone is looking at. Who wants to have a disaster? Who wants to have a flop? If you have a disaster that means either you compromised somewhere or your thinking has gone totally weird. Everyone wants to make a 'Mughal-E-Azam', a 'Deewar', a 'Sholay', 'Hum Apke Hain Koun', 'Maine Pyar Kiya'," said Salman.
Asked if he would venture into niche films, he said: "Doing niche films is
like going down from Amsterdam to Andheri."
(Dibyojyoti Baksi can be contacted at email@example.com)