Launching TBD Legends was a long nurtured vision and it was truly an honour to start off the series with a guest of Salimsaab’s stature. The prolific writer, who has written some of the biggest hits in cinema, shared his experience, anecdotes and valuable insights with an audience that was hanging on to his every word. Salim Khan talked about the process of writing, his dream of creating a idyllic screenwriter’s space, his love for books and even spoke candidly about his children.
Most striking was his unabashed sense of humour and the ability to look at life with an unerring clarity of vision. Having known Indu Mirani for decades, the camaraderie was evident and the resultant dialogue free of inhibitions.
It started off on a light note when Indu asked him how he spends his free time now. He joked, “Main itni fursat mein hoon ke aadhe ghante wrong number pe baat karta hoon. I thought I will be able to drink, travel, party and enjoy myself now, but my five kids come to me for everything. Petrol khatam ho gaya, daddy ke paas jao. Gaadi kharab ho gayi, daddy ke paas jao. And that’s the reason why I have stopped writing. When I used to write, I did it so passionately and with such inaamdaari as a professional. Javed (Akhtar) and I were to only people who handed in a complete script with treatment.”
And that inevitably led to talk about why he hasn’t made a film with Salman Khan. The legend quipped, “The risk of making a film with Salman Khan is that, if it’s a hit, they will say it’s because of Salman. If it’s a flop, they’ll say it’s because of his daddy.”
He also spoke about writing being mistakenly thought of as a lonely process. “It’s team work with the entire crew,” he pointed out. He also touched on how young people aren’t reading enough these days. “A writer puts all his life’s experience and learning in the four-five books that he can produce in a lifetime. How can we not take advantage of his knowledge? I can’t really complain though as my kids don’t read either.”
Talking about his kids, it was hard to resist the question about when Salman Khan would get married. “Yeh sawaal ka jawaab toh Allah mian bhi nahin de sakte,” he said, provoking much laughter.
On a more contemplative note, he spoke about Salman evolving and learning with his mistakes. “”Akbar mein news aa jati hai. Toh Salman apni mummy se poochta hai, “Daddy nein padha hai kya?” If she says yes, do-chaar din ke liye saamne nahin aata hai, nikal jaata hai, dodge karta rahta hai,” Salimsaab said with a smile, “But he is learning from his mistakes and improving as a person.”
And finally, he spoke about the only dream he wants to accomplish now. “I have a final goal – that I have a cafe with books on films and screenplay writing from my collection and where people come, drink coffee and talk about cinema.”
We sincerely hope that his vision finds itself turning into reality soon.