On a pleasant winter noon in Mumbai, I get ru-ba-ru with the hot Salman Khan. Its one of the beautiful days when Salman decides to not live by his larger than life star image but play a simple being instead.
Sitting in his turf, surrounded by lovely sister Alvira, gorgeous sister-in-law Malaika, and their cute-naughty-hyperactive kids, Salman Khan seems a happy man. He’s known to keep aloof when media is around, but today is different. The dude doesn’t seem to care about the world and resolves to have a great time, cycling with his nephews and playing with his dog - a 2 month old French Mastiff, whom he lovingly calls Veer.
Salman finally takes a break from all the running around and soon after its time for lunch. Yummilicious aroma of home-cooked food fills the air as the tiffins and casseroles are opened one by one. Salman gestures me to come and grab a bite and that’s when we get talking over some delicious daal-chawal.
Being a fitness conscious person, Salman prefers carrying ghar ka khana to his sets. While he savours the mom-made food, I ask him if there is one dish that he would not like to share with anyone. Salman takes a pause and replies, “I like to eat everything, but there is nothing that I won’t share with others.”
While tales of his sharing his dabba with his co-stars and film crew while shooting are famous, there’s one thing that Salman secretly tells me. “I used to cook too. But I haven’t done it since long. I guess I should cook something again. I will cook and paint now. Yes,” he lets me in.
The beefy Khan prefers non-veg but is extremely fond of veg food too. Being a complete foodie and a great fan of his mom’s cooking, Salman does have his days of indulgence in high-calorie favourites. But what follows is an extra one hour strenuous workout session in the gym. “Khao aur ghatao. Fir kuch farak nahi padta,” says the Khan who is loved and admired for his perfect physique.
A fitness freak, Salman is also a regular cyclist and loves to pedal his way from home to the sets and back. Cycling is one thing that he wants the youth to take up seriously. Salman says, “There is more than one reason why people should take up cycling. In Mumbai’s traffic, you will reach your destination faster by a cycle than in a car. People go to office by bus, autos and taxi and end up spending money. Why not cycle to work and save that money?
“Cycling saves your time, money and very importantly our depleting resources - petrol and diesel,” says Salman and adds after a brief pause, “It also makes for a great cardio exercise and keeps you fit. Not to forget, there’s zero pollution!”
A great thought and a cause, no wonder then Salman Khan’s NGO, Being Human has partnered with Sport 18 and ID Sports to organize the first ever Cyclothon in Mumbai. The event will be held on February 21st 2010, and the money raised through it will go to the NGO.
Salman also plans to introduce Being Human biking gear and t-shirts around the cyclothon and with that I just can’t help but ask him about Being Human clothesline and accessories. Salman’s reply surprises me, “I request my fans to not buy Being Human t-shirts available in the market. They are a copy and not the original Being Human stuff,” Salman further explains, “What happened is that when I started wearing the t-shrits and media clicked pictures, someone copied the design. The money you are spending on buying those t-shirts and watches sold on the streets thinking them as a Being Human brand is not going to the needy, but is landing in the pockets of some con artist.”
Now, if such a thing happened with an apparel giant, it would have raised an alarm over its losses, but Salman is calm about it all and has a plan in place already, “Now I will introduce a whole new Being Human collection. It will take three to four months.”
I ask him if seeing the copy of Being Human clothes being sold on Mumbai streets angered him. Salman flashes his sweet smile at me and shares an experience that gave him the inspiration to tackle such problems and situations in life. It was while shooting for ‘Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ video with little kids. “I learnt a very beautiful lesson from those kids. They couldn’t hear or speak, but still they were happy in life. Aur hum chotti chotti batoon se pareshan ho jaate hain... Headache, fever, minor bruises and just simple difficulties and challenges in day to day life perturb us, sadden us. Life is about positive attitude. End mein sab theekh ho jaata hai...,” Salman bids me goodbye with a wonderful thought.