The person who is credited for creating iconic characters not to mention, unforgettable dialogues for Bollywood of the ’70s, Salim Khan comes across as way too modest. No surprise that he has also consciously stayed away from the limelight, despite being Salman Khan’s father. Popular for his outspokenness, we caught up with Salim saab for a freewheeling chat to know more about him and what he’s up to.
Would you call yourself a retired writer now?
(Pauses) Writers don’t retire. On the contrary, they get better with age. I just don’t feel the need to join the race of words and imagination but having said that, I might write a film story tomorrow if I feel like doing so.
Is it a deliberate decision to stay away from media glare?
Yes. Because I always envisioned a life where I’d be having a farmhouse and the time to spend with my family. I’m fulfilling that so I can’t complain about anything.
So that explains your conspicuous absence at Big B’s birthday bash?
Like I said, I don’t like unnecessary publicity. He turned 70 and like million others, I wish him well too but what’s the big deal about that number? It’s the media that wants you to act in a particular manner and be present at events. Well, I’m not the one to follow norms.
You recently penned the foreword for your friend Jay Prakash Chowksey’s book?
(Laughs) Yes, I’ve known Jay for long now. It’s not like somebody pointed a gun to my head and made me write it. He’s from Indore too like me and there are things you do for friends. What touched me about his book was the fact that he explored Gandhiji’s contribution to Indian cinema. Don’t you think that’s interesting?
It is but it’s nicer to know that the creator of the Angry Young Man admires Gandhiji...
As an Indian, it is an honour to be associated with him and connecting him with our films sounded amazing. I believe in the power of cinema. I even remember watching Attenborough’s Gandhi at Eros and I think the Salim who came out of the theatre was a better human than the one who went in.
Any tip for today’s writers?
Keep your dialogues as short as possible. They should be like a telegram where every single word not only counts but also costs!