Salman Khan’s Antim: The Final true is set to hit theaters on November 26. In the film, also starring Aayush Sharma’s brother-in-law, Salman plays a police officer, Rajveer Singh. In a recent interaction with the press, the Bollywood superstar talked about the creation of his own police universe and his experience of working with his friend, director Mahesh Manjrekar.
Antim: The Final Truth is the remake of the Marathi drama Mulshi Pattern. When did you decide to remake the movie?
Dabangg 3 Mahesh Limaye DOP (director of photography) told me the story as he made the original film (Mulshi Pattern). I saw the Marathi movie much later when I was at my farmhouse. There is a cop character in the movie and I really liked it. But I realized that they had left his character in the middle. I realized that there were two characters (a cop and a gangster) coming from a similar situation and following different paths. I felt that both characters had to have the same time. That’s when I decided to make this film from the cop’s point of view.
You have played the role of a police officer many times in the past, including Dabangg and Radhe. Are you trying to build your own police universe?
(Laughter) Seriously, I realized I had played cop several times, but I really liked it. At first, I was wondering if I should do it or not, but the idea stuck in my mind. I was told it was a small role but I refused to accept it. I was working on the script with Mahesh (Manjrekar) and I knew what we were doing. We have only got the basic plot from the original. The script has changed and it is a completely different film. It is luxuriously installed while the original was built on a limited budget.
Every police character you have played in the past is different. How did you decide to make this character?
I was on my farm. My hair and beard had grown. We were supposed to shoot the movie in Punjab, but we did not succeed due to the lockdown. I realized that the story can be placed in any village in our country. We have so many police officers here in Maharashtra. So we decided to shoot the movie here. Also, I could not go back for Tiger 3 and there were rumors that this is Aayush Sharma movie. It’s there in the movie but movie paaji ki hi hai (the movie belongs to me).
How was work with your brother-in-law Aayush Sharma? What has impressed you as a co-star?
When I’m on set, I work there. There is no sister, no brother. There is no family.
We made this movie earlier. We still have the script. It was for me but I was past that age. The title of the movie was My Punjabi Nikaah. So Sohail came to me saying that they were planning to look for someone else. Sohail then told me that he has seen this guy in the gym and thinks he is ideal for the character. So after two days, I told him to sign this guy and move on, but Sohail told me he would not come to the gym. Once he was regular and then suddenly we could not find him.
Then one day Arpita called. I live just one floor below her, but since she called us, we have all gone to meet her. And, we see this boy standing with Arpita, my father and mother. We had seen him before. And then Arpita said, “Dad, I want to marry him.” I asked her if she was the guy from the gym, she said yes. I asked Sohail if he was the same guy he thought about his film, he said yes. I told him, “ab toh main free mein film banaunga (I will make the movie for free with him)”.
How was the experience of working with Mahesh Manjrekar? He was diagnosed with cancer while shooting the film.
He is very good. He is a multi-talented personality. She is involved in acting, directing, choreography, singing, painting and also cooks food. He is an amazing cook. He fed me chicken and fish.
He is a real fighter. We shot when he had cancer and during the pandemic which is a big thing.
We generally see Sikh characters making comedies in movies. Were you clear that you did not want any of these in the movie?
When you have to make them look like gods, you make them look like that. When you see well-dressed sardines, they look like gods or warriors and that’s what I wanted to show in the movie.
Since the rise of OTT during the lockdown, has the magic of theaters faded?
No. I knew the theaters would be closed for a while, but once the vaccinations are done and it becomes like a common flu, people will come back and the shooting will start again as well. I do not think that cinema can take the place of OTT and OTT can take the place of cinema. Because it is not the same thing. One would sit at home with the family and watch it either on TV or on the laptop. It’s not fun to watch anything on your phone or iPad. It is best to watch TV, but this also does not match the theater screen.
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