Salman Khan gets Lucky with schoolgirl
Salman Khan has gone back to school for a lesson in love. While insisting that Sneha Ullal's resemblance to Aishwarya Rai is incidental, Salman admits she's the main selling point of his new film Lucky - No Time for Love.
According to Bollywood's enfant terrible the title is not without reason: "There's is so much action happening in the film that there's actually no time left for love and romance."
Lucky is the story of a young girl (Sneha) and Aditya Segal (Salman) who is the son of an Indian ambassador in East Europe. Shot extensively in St Petersburg, Russia, the film is about a 17-year-old local schoolgirl Lucky and her fascination for Aditya. Oblivious of her fascination, Aditya comes in contact with the girl when a civil war breaks out in the country. He is Lucky's only hope of escape and none other than veteran Mithun Chakraborty, who plays an intelligence officer named Colonel Pinididas Kapoor in the film, arranges their flight to safety. The journey is also a voyage of discovery for both and they eventually fall in love. Their respective families object to the relationship because Aditya is much older to Lucky.
Salman however has no such compunctions. The difference in age doesn't amount to cradle snatching, he says. "It's not as if she's in the fourth standard. She studies in 12th and nowadays girls have boyfriends from ninth class onwards. In fact I have gone two classes above - they have boyfriends from sixth or seventh standard," he quips.
"It's a a beautiful story. I play a guy who is the centre of attraction for a bunch of schoolgirls. One of them, Lucky, has a crush on me but she does not know who I am. Interestingly, when we do meet everything unlucky happens in our lives. A civil war breaks out in the country, I have to take care of her and nothing seems to work. We are in big trouble until Mithunji helps us out," he adds.
The theme of 'mismatched' love is a constant refrain through the film, says Salman: "For instance, there's this dialogue where Lucky tells me 'mera koi boyfriend nahi hai' (I don't have a boyfriend). Phir kyun ro rahi ho? (Then why are you crying?), I ask."
Although Salman is close to 40 in real life and his pretty co-star is just out of her teens, that doesn't mean she was intimidated, the actor claims. According to him: "I don't think she was scared of me. I don't think anyone is scared of me."
Sallu baba also denies going out of his way to find someone who looks exactly like Aishwarya after their acrimonious split. "It's not right to say that Sneha resembles someone and that she is my sister's friend. She happens to study in my sister Arpita's college. Aripta met her somewhere and that's how we discovered Sneha," he explains.
But Salman acknowledges that the student from Mumbai's National College has become the main talking point of Lucky. "Sneha belongs to a nice, decent family and has done an outstanding job in the film. In fact she is our USP. She's not only sweet and innocent, but a terrific performer as well!" he says.
While the temperamental actor is even more effusive in his praise for Mithun, he can't resist taking a dig at the Bengali babu: "He's a big star. He's simply mind-blowing. When I started shooting for the film, I used to get visits from the odd girl or two with a flower in her hand. But the day Mithunji landed, fifty - sixty bouquets went past me with people singing Jimmy Jimmy Aja Aja. Such a warm reception made Mithunji change his mind about the cold. Although he's not comfortable working in sub-zero temperatures, we suddenly found him charged up and more than willing to go shoot in the freezing cold!"
The weather certainly wasn't kind to Salman either. "I don't like cold climate and here we were shooting in minus 8 to minus 18 degree Celsius. But by the time I left the country it was minus 3 degrees Celsius that was pretty warm by their standards. It was actually party time! I have beautiful memories of shooting underwater in minus 16 degree Celsius. Only it was not water, but ice!" he grins.
The language proved to be a barrier too. According to Salman: "None of us knew Russian, so we had an interpreter on the sets. Unfortunately they didn't know how to translate technical stuff like EMI laga or baby aur Pota leke aa (types of lights used in shootings). To make matters worse, most of the unit didn't know English. So people were at a loss about what to translate and for whom. It was difficult trying to communicate and we ended up gesticulating most of the time when we wanted something."
Salman, who turns producer with Lucky, admits he was impressed with the homework director duo Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru had done before they approached him for the film. "They (Radhika and Vinay) had made a DVD of all the research they had done on their script. When I saw it I was impressed. They spent their own money to go to Russia and shot extensively the country's scenic beauty, its beautiful palaces and buildings. I was thoroughly convinced about the subject and decided to produce the film," he says.
Lucky - a Sohail Khan production in association with Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar - is slated for release in April this year.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times