Firstly, take us through the bonding between Salman Khan and you. When did you’ll get to know each other?
I had just shifted from modelling to films. Salman used to come and meet Kailash Surendranath and Anna Singh. That’s where I saw him at a party. Later, I learnt from Anna that he used to check out the glasses and shoes I wore. Woh mera bada bhakt tha (he idolised me). Then he did an ad with my wife (Ayesha Shroff), which is when I came to know a little more about him. After that, I did a film ‘Farak’, wherein Salim Khan saab was writing the dialogues and Salman got into the film as an Assistant Director to Shashilal Nair. Guess that must have been the biggest moment in his life around that time- to work with Jackie in person (laughs). We then started bumping into each other at a few parties and gelling well. I often used to be at his house; Salim saab and Salman’s mother used to look after me very well. He had shown one of his pictures to me. I gave that picture to Subhashji (Ghai) and K C Bokadia. Unfortunately, Ghai didn’t cast him. Bokadia suggested that I show the picture to his brother-in-law who was commencing a film; Salman landed that role.
The relation between Salman and you is damn good, while on the other hand, most relationships in the entertainment industry fizzle out…
It’s not just the industry. It’s everywhere, it’s at work and it’s within the family as well. It is very unfortunate, though.
Hope your role in ‘Radhe’ is going to break the chain of 10-minute appearances, which you are following religiously for a long time. It’s high time you break it…
It’s never the length, always the strength. Mission Kashmir’, ‘Yaadein’, ‘Khalnayak’ and many others were short and sweet so that I don’t bore the audiences to death on screen. Even I like it that way. Samjha, bhidu?
Samjha. Over to your recent picture in a sleeveless shirt which fetched a lot of ‘likes’ on social media. Are you still a fitness freak?
Do I have an option? Ayesha, Tiger and Krishna keep insisting that I have to stay fit. If I am healthy, they are naturally happy. Simple. This picture is one month old. Dekh mera haath, dikh raha hai? (flexes his muscles).
What’s your take on Salman’s decision to release ‘Radhe’ simultaneously on digital and theatres together. We knew from Day 1 that this release was going to be largely digital, at least in India since most theatres are shut…
That’s the trend now. But even when TV had arrived, people had started predicting doomsday for cinema. Whether you see it as a roomal (handkerchief) or a chaddar (bedsheet), it’s up to you. Digital is good money and you can be seen in 300 countries at the flick of a button. But I, for one, don’t like to strain my eyes in my home theatre. ‘Radhe’ might be largely digital but regardless, theatres will open one day.
Do you think ‘Sooryasvanshi’ and ’83’ should follow the same pattern as ‘Radhe’? You are a part of the former…
I am playing a villain in ‘Sooryavanshi’, yes, but it’s a call that has to be taken by the producer. It’s up to the makers to see how much they’ve spent and how much they’re expecting and getting. I am not a businessman. Let me remain an actor.
Anil Kapoor trolled you on your ad in which you do zumba and wanted to know how did you make it?
I have sent him my reply. My dancing abilities got me through it (laughs).
Take us through your workout regime…
I do a lot of pranayama, stretches, surya namaskars, and rub salt and turmeric soaked in mustard oil on my body. I also sunbathe a lot. All this goes on for about an hour, every day. And, whenever I get time, I practise controlling my breath. Also, I plant trees; my hands are quite often literally in the soil. I walk bare feet. All these things keep me calm.
Calm? But you aren’t a hot-tempered person. At least it has not been said or written yet…
I wish I could control my emotions. The breathing exercises help me. I do have my anger; I have my share of outbursts, but I vent out my feelings to my own self. I can’t hurt others. In those situations, if I open my mouth, I would be too acidic; so I keep it shut. Preserve your energy, especially heat; letting it out only increases global warming (laughs). Anyway, isn’t silence supposed to be golden?
Is that why you don’t speak on social media?
I do speak, but there is not much need for me to say anything. There are too many doctors offering advice on everything. If you have a headache, you will have 50 doctors around you telling you their opinion. Let things run as they are running. Who are you? Okay, you are a citizen. But what’s your knowledge? Since you don’t have any knowledge, why are you speaking?
I am just waiting for ‘Radhe’. I am doing comedy this time. So, don’t measure the length of my role; just enjoy the comedy and love the film.
Disha Patani, who is your son Tiger’s ‘close friend’, has worked with you in ‘Radhe’. What did she call you on the sets–sir/Jackie uncle/anything else?
Well, most often, nobody addresses by name. Like when two people are together, they don’t keep saying each other’s name. There’s nothing to be said. But as far as I remember, I think she called me ‘sir’ on the few occasions that she addressed me. Uncle bahut alag sa lagta hai. Main aapke baap ka bhai kaise ho sakta? (Uncle sounds weird. It means I am that person’s father’s brother, how is that possible?) Dono ke parivaar alag hain (Both come from different families).
In a recent interview, Tiger mentioned that he has not forgotten the time when after the release of ‘Boom’, you’ll had to sell off your furniture. You are the champion who fought to put everything back on track for the family. It must have been a lot of hard work…
Yes, it was. I have worked hard. But then, it’s not harder than the work that the people who are making the roads or highways or climbing mountains, and trying to stop the rocks from falling on Lonavala doing. That’s real hard work. I had a lot of fun. I definitely worked hard. But if you look around the streets, you’ll find hard work in the absolute sense.