Weeks after Khan announced their next, Barjatya on how superstar enjoys playing mellow characters in his family dramas despite his bad-boy image
Salman Khan and Sooraj Barjatya
Two things are constant in Sooraj Barjatya movies — family values, and Salman Khan aka Prem. His last directorial venture Uunchai, however, did not feature his favourite character. At the film’s premiere earlier this month, much to the delight of fans, Khan announced that he would reprise his much-loved character Prem in Barjatya’s next. “I will begin working on the script after my son Avnish’s directorial debut is [wrapped up],” begins the filmmaker.
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Barjatya is arguably the only one who brings Khan’s mellow side to the screen. In his universe, the superstar’s Prem is an obedient, soft-spoken and family-loving man — a persona that is at odds with the actor’s controversial, bad-boy image off screen. “Simplicity and goodness are [qualities] I would connect with Salman. He keeps telling me, ‘Sooraj babu, bahar toh main sab roles karta hoon. Yahan wohi karte hai, jo humne pehle kiya hai.’ With me, he wants to do films that reflect simple lives where you sit with family and friends, and chat. Salman is easily the most family-oriented person I know.”
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Over the past four decades, the two have given us many family dramas — from Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) to Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994), from Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999) to Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015). Their next will be a family entertainer with a difference, promises the director, agreeing that there has been a shift in his perspective since Uunchai. “I have made only seven films so far. Now, it’s time to offer movies that [come] from my soul, rather than trying to make what sells.”
Interestingly, Barjatya, in the capacity of a friend, had bounced Uunchai’s idea off Khan. “Salman said he’d put on some weight, and play the role. [But] I told him that with him, comes his image. Everyone knows that he is so fit, he can climb Mount Everest [easily]. I wanted older actors for the film. With Salman, it has never been that we cannot work with other people. It’s all about wishing well for each other.”