By twilight, as he drives in his silver Land Cruiser into Mehboob Studios, Bandra to promote Yuvvraaj, there is a rustle of excitement around. Hushed whispers of “Bhai aa gaye!” rise from all directions. The reclusive Khan has changed these days. He is prepared to take on any queries from the media - from karma to Katrina - he’s game. For a change he also covers up his honed torso in a snug full-sleeved vest. He gathers his hair into a tiny pony behind and talks about adab, tameez and masti - the three elements that maketh Khan.
You have signed Arbaaz’s debut production. Will it feature the three Khan brothers?
The film is called Dabang. Arbaaz and I play cousins in it. I play a corrupt cop who uses all the wrong means to do the right things.
How well do you identify with that Robin Hood role? Buzz is that your role in London Dreams is also a great extension of your real self?
Yes my character in London Dreams is mostly like me - responsible yet full of masti.
Yuvvraaj is the story of three brothers just like you three- Arbaaz, Sohail and you. How close is it to reality?
Yuvvraaj is about three brothers brought up in the absence of their parents. It’s about sibling rivalry and bonding between these three brothers. I play the mean, frustrated, funny, angry middle brother while Zayed is the youngest and the worst of the lot. Anil Kapoor is the elder brother whom we both discover and bond with. Eventually begin to love him.
How did you get along with Zayed and Anil?
It was amazing with the three of us working out together in the gym, having dinner and throwing parties - we had a blast while shooting Yuvvraaj, and giving Anil wake-up calls at 9.30pm! There was an emotional connect between us. It was almost as good as doing a film with Arbaaz and Sohail.
Yuvvraaj uses western classical music as a backdrop to the plot and Katrina learnt to play the cello for it. Did you learn to play any musical instrument for the film?
I am sorry I couldn’t ! I play a vocalist in the film, a chorus singer who thinks he’s a superstar.
It is the first time that you come together as a couple with Katrina...
Oh yes, in the film Katrina’s father asks me to raise enough money before allowing me to marry his daughter. In order to get the money I go back home.
So what is your idea of romance?
Jo hai so hai...I am what I am...no pretense. No candlelight dinners for me please, I will be bored. Right from day one of my romantic relationship I do not promise the moon. You get what you see. But if you are in trouble, I will be there for you.
Why don’t you openly admit your personal relationships ?
Look, my bedroom is my bedroom, and my living room is the whole world. I come from a family where we are taught to respect our elders. There are certain sets of do’s and don’ts that I follow. I will not kiss on-screen - even in Maine Pyar Kiya the symbolic kiss was done with a glass pane in-between.
Baccha baccha janta hai...that we are friends, why talk about it? Our seniors are watching us and it is not our culture to discuss these things. It is considered badtameezi - bad manners.
Has your dad laid down these rules for you?
Oh, only the other day and I found my father fuming. He had just been watching one of my interviews on TV and he didn’t like the way I was slouching on the sofa then,” I wanted to smash the TV when I saw you sprawled like that,” he thundered, “You are not that kind of a person, but people will think how ill-mannered these film folks are,” he scolded me. Through that interview I was talking to millions of viewers and really I shouldn’t be offending them. He teaches us adab and tameez.
Do you still jog around Bandra Bandstand and have a coffee at Barista?
I cycle around Bandstand and also take a rickshaw occasionally. Life hasn’t changed much for me.
On 10 Ka Dum, you were most popular with mummies and aunties; can you give a percentage of your popularity with older women?
99.9 per cent mothers love me the problem arises only when I get close to their daughters (smiles cheekily)!
With elections around the corner, will you either contest or campaign for it?
I have no political ambitions. I also do not support any particular party. If I like the person I will go all out for him - it doesn’t matter whether he’s from Congress or the BJP.
Any more seasons of Dus Ka Dum?
Of course you will see me on TV again, I’m sorry! (mockingly) 10 Ka Dum did really well.It was a hit show for the channel.
Your forthcoming ventures?
London Dreams, Veer, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, Boney Kapoor’s Wanted and Arbaaz’s Dabang.
Where did you find your Veer co-star, the Katrina look-alike Zarine Khan?
Zarine doesn’t resemble Katrina at all, and neither is she like Amrit who’s picture was being flashed on telly as my Veer co-star; I spotted her at Subhash Ghai’s film school Whistling Woods when she came there for casting. She was taken because she looks the character - the sweet princess she is playing in Veer.
While Katrina is dancing at JW Marriot on the New Year’s Eve, is it true that you three brothers will be dancing at Sahara Star?
Nothing has been finalised yet, we are still in talks. Wherever we perform, it will be a fund-raiser for my charity Being Human.