Tom who? Salman Khan hits Cruise control in Dubai

The actor calls the emirate his second home

Attending a Salman Khan press conference is a riveting test in patience and intellect, with the production unspooling like a taut thriller, complete with suspenseful twists and turns that can sometimes leave members of the audience scratching their head in complete disbelief.

The Indian actor didn’t disappoint once again, appearing 100 minutes late for the media event to promote his UAE National Day stage show, ‘Ahlan Bollywood’, which saw Salman apparently running a high fever and battle technical difficulties that hindered him from understanding most of the media queries of the night.

Or so he said.

Meanwhile, the remaining stars on the podium, including brother Sohail Khan, actress Priyanka Chopra, Zarine Khan, Sophie Chaudhary, Pakistan’s Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and noted comedian, Omar Sharif, managed to piece together the questions they were asked.

When quizzed about the content of the show itself, Salman appeared unable to respond to the query, along with being clueless that a dance competition was held in Dubai earlier with the promise that the winner would dance alongside the superstar on stage.

In fact, brother Sohail selected the winning performer a night earlier and had to explain to Salman what was required of him on stage at the December 2 event, which incidentally has been scripted and conceptualised by his production company.

Meanwhile, both brothers at least appeared to be on the same page when gushing about how much they loved Dubai.
“In our family, we all love Dubai,” said Salman. He added: “If I wasn’t living in Mumbai, then this is where I would permanently stay.”

But the actor added that he has yet to look into purchasing property here.

“Maybe some time later in the future,” was his evasive response.

The actor, who turns 48 later this month, also said that their love for Dubai is what has brought the family to shoot sequences from their hit home production, “Dabangg” and its upcoming sequel, in this very city.

So was it this shared love that also saw the two Khans stage a show here for the UAE’s National Day?

“I simply liked the day,” was the reply.

Salman’s upcoming ‘Dabangg 2’ sees the actor reprise his daredevil, yet lovable character, Chulbul Pandey in the action-comedy that is currently being valued at Rs1.8 billion.

We wondered if the franchise continues in the coming years, would Chulbul be averse to performing a stunt atop Burj Khalifa ala
Hollywood’s Tom Cruise, in ‘Dabangg 3’. To which, the actor replied:

“Tom who? I don’t know who this man is.”

When Priyanka and Sophie tried to explain the gravity defying stunt in ‘Mission Impossible 4’ that saw the American star swing from Burj Khalifa’s spiral, Salman simply said: “I still don’t know who this man is. And I don’t know if we will have a ‘Dabangg 3’. It depends how well the upcoming one does.”

The second instalment of the film is expected to release in UAE cinemas on December 21, 2012, the same day of the Mayan prophecy, which foretells the end of the world.

“Arbaaz is going to be very mad I tell you, if the world does end on the day,” said Salman, when asked what is the one thing he would want to do if such a doomsday scenario were to occur.

Quizzed if would ever consider working in a joint Arab-Bollywood film production, Salman must have misheard or needs to consult an atlas, because his response was a simple: “I love Africa. Many of my films have been shot there.

“Even ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ (not even his film, but starred Akshay Kumar) was to be filmed there.”Right.

Despite the confusion with headliner Salman, Priyanka at least appeared to be quite excited to perform in Dubai after a gap of a few years, saying: “I can promise the audience will not be disappointed.”

But those who are expecting the actress turned singer to croon her hit single, ‘In My City’ at the stage event will have to eat humble pie, as she has pointedly refused to do so.

“No singing this time, no,” she said. “I haven’t done a live stage show as yet for my tracks, maybe next time when I come to Dubai.”

Veteran singers, Rahat and Sophie, both gushed about Priyanka’s singing prowess, with the former saying: “I have heard only a brief of her track, but she sounds good.”

Meanwhile, Sophie added: “Priyanka is an old friend and all I can say
is that we are very proud of what she has achieved.”

Asked if she wouldn’t be averse to filming an item song in Salman’s next home production, which roped in Kareena Kapoor for the anticipated ‘Fevicol Se’ track, Priyanka said: “Let the world not end first this December.”

Organisers are anticipating a packed out show at the Dubai Festival City concert arena, with tickets ranging from Dh180 to Dh4,000.

When asked if Salman was planning to stay back in Dubai post the concert for his pre birthday celebrations, much like last year, the actor said: “Yes, I love Dubai. And I am excited to perform here.”

Err, that was not the question.

Attempt three elicited a reply that said: “This year, I will be in India, celebrating with my family.”

The rest of the response, like every other query or comment at this press event, was lost in translation.

Let’s hope everyone manages to put their best foot forward at the concert itself.


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