Actor Salman Khan has a reputation. Or maybe not, because he’s so unpredictable that you don’t know which of his elements will shine through when. He could be cracking jokes or telling you off. However, what remains constant about him is that he is blunt, and honest in expressing his opinion. For instance, he makes no bones in admitting that his father, veteran writer Salim Khan, never suggested his name to producers when he wanted to become an actor, and that he had to look for work himself.
“When I was growing up, my father would recommend Sunny Deol’s, Sanjay Dutt’s or Kumar Gaurav’s name to the filmmakers who came to our house. But not mine. So I asked him why he did not recommend my name. And he asked me, ‘all these producers come to our house, did anyone ever ask me why don’t you recommend Salman? No. The biggest thing is that the producer or director should themselves see it in you… they should say, ‘arey, ye ladka hai, isko lete hain…’. For me, it never happened. So I had to go out and ask for work,” says the actor, who has helped many star kids kickstart their career. In his next production, he’s launching actor Aditya Pancholi’s son Sooraj, and actor Suniel Shetty’s daughter Athiya.
The 49-year-old says that it is not a cakewalk for star kids to get a break in the industry. “It’s more difficult for them to get work. And that’s because people think what if he/she doesn’t rise to the expectations of the audience set by his or her parents. Or (the makers may think that) there is a romantic scene in the film… ya phir koi chilla diya.. sometimes directors tend to lose their cool.. so inki beti, bete ko kaise bolenge… It’s a big headache for them,” says Khan, adding, “People in the industry also think ki writer ka beta hai, baap lega picture mein… or producer ki beti hai, father will launch them… Hum (producer and directors) kaise bolein ki hum lenge film mein.. that’s how most of them miss out… lots of kids don’t get approached.”
Khan gives another example. “Tiger (Shroff) didn’t get approached … Jackie (Shroff; Tiger’s father) used to ask us to launch him. And it was clear that when Tiger comes of age, we’d launch him as his dad had made it known that Tiger was interested in acting,” he says.