[Earlier editions of Let's Talk About here.]
I meant to do a selective rewatch of Wanted this one evening, but enjoyed the movie so much I ended up watching it the whole way through. I'd be hard-pressed to name more than three Salman Khan films as good as this one, which is why I really truly cherish this film, despite the fact that the Southie film fan inside me feels betrayed.
And the next morning I found myself watching Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005) and was going to write this totally tortured metaphor about Salman's filmography based on these two films and one of the worst films I've ever seen, Marigold (2007) but decided to scrap that in favor of this more general post about the man.
The thing I found out quite early on in my Hindi film obsession is that Salman Khan really splits people. Unlike the other Khans, who have their haters, their lovers, and their more casual fans, it seemed like whether you liked or disliked Salman was a touchy topic for some. The lovers are more vehement, but even more so are the haters.
Eventually I found myself positioned more in the "like" column than the "dislike" one when it came to Salman. I liked him a lot in roles he seemed to excel - Andaz Apna Apna, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, Salaam-e-Ishq, Maine Pyaar Kiya - but wasn't particularly interested to see the mediocre or the bad films of his career. I read his interviews and found him to be really entertaining, down-to-earth and his world views generally simple but honest.
In a nutshell - I grew fond of him. And I became very forgiving and understanding, but not in a super-fanatic manner. It's just that I began to sort of place him in a category of his own.
Like I always say, Salman is as Salman does and what Salman does is not traditionally classified as acting. But strangely enough, that's one of the appealling things about him. I wouldn't say Salman defies definition -- it's more like, he doesn't benefit from definitions.
But so there I was, watching Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, a film from that poor David Dhawan "ha ha fake cheating is the funniest thing ever" school of comedy, and it's got a constantly hysteric Katrina Kaif, a mildly amusing Sohail Khan, and the too-good-for-this-movie Sushmita Sen (seriously, she was the best thing about this movie). And I suppose I could ask myself why I'm watching this movie, as I know it's not exactly favourite material.
In my heart of hearts, I know why, though.
Because I like Salman Khan. I don't love him, I certainly don't enjoy him unconditionally, but the fact remains I do like him.
As much as I sometimes find myself defending that fact, to myself, or to the haters, it's true.
Even if it's a little guilty pleasure, even if I recognize all the flaws others see in him (like the fact he looks eternally tired nowadays, he's involved in more scandals than the Catholic Church, he sometimes only employes one dance move..), the fact simply remains that I like him and I really, really love him in Wanted, which just might be his best movie last decade (no, seriously).
And as far as previous decades go, I've got one word for you: Prem. That about sums it up, no?