Salman Khan was tired. The legendary actor was scheduled to spend an hour with special-needs children, but he stayed for three hours of talking, dancing, creating art and playing cricket with the young people. From there, interview after interview after interview with media people from a bunch of countries to talk about his Being Human clothing line. All profits from the collection, which just debuted in Splash across the GCC, go to provide healthcare and education for people in need.
We got a little time – squeezed in for five minutes max – with the man who’s made some 80 movies in 24 years. The 46-year-old was relaxed in a big chair in a tucked-away corner of a Dubai hotel. He went way beyond 300 seconds, though, to talk with a soft-spoken intensity about the children and teachers he’d met, the Being Human Foundation, the need for all of us to care about people and about how he feels as he gets ever closer to being 50.
“The kids were so full of love and the teachers were incredible”, he said, his voice deep, words thoughtful. Somebody who can do that kind of work with special-needs children can do anything.
“The compassion those people have for other people, it’s very rare. One small act of compassion is supposed to be this act of greatness, but it shouldn’t be like that. We should all be compassionate”.
Such was his thinking in starting the Being Human Foundation, which includes the clothing line and several other facets. Like the man himself, Being Human clothes emerged from humble origins.
“It started really small with one little shops selling shirts with my artwork”, Khan recalled, but unauthorized versions promptly appeared all over the place. He was and is disgusted, but he realized that Being Human clothes had serious potential.
Now he’s working with Splash and the mostly casual clothes for men and women are in Splash stores, which are fast approaching 150 in number.
“It’s amazing to work with such a big company and get our message out”, emphasising that all profits go to the Being Human Foundation. “People should understand that no money from this is going into our pockets. It’s going straight to the charity”.
Helping people’s at the heart of it, but crafting clothing’s a fresh, change-of-pace creative outlet, said the immensely popular actor – he has more than 4.3 million likes on Facebook, almost 2.3 million followers on Twitter – whose latest film, Ek Tha Tiger, opens on 15 August.
“The next season, we’ll do more types of clothes and we’ll do things with my artwork on it,” promised Khan. “It’s something I like to do, to be creative this way. Usually people follow the same styles and designers. Why not do something you feel like doing”?
Khan has much to do in a life that’s about as uncommon and common as it gets. Like a lot of people in their 40s, he listens to music on his iPad and uses it to play Angry Birds with his nephews, keeps in touch with people via two Blackberries and ties, with a success rate that’s less than 100%, he admitted, to stick with a healthy diet.”
The diet is pretty good nowadays – nowadays,” he spent three days on the go in Dubai. It’s strange. It’s difficult to be older. When you’re young and grow older, you expect to run faster and kick higher, eat less, look better. It’s a difficult task now.
“Interviews make me tired now”, he said with a small, sly grin.
Point taken. Our five minutes had become 20 and the man had been talking non-stop for almost three hours.
Making it clear that a moment’s light teasing was over, Khan looked up with one of those deep, serious expressions that have attracted millions of fans for decades and spoke of what really matters.
“Look; life is so good, but what I say to people is that you don’t have to start a charity or make movies or anything like that to have an amazing life and a good life, and you shouldn’t feel guilty when you live your life. Just help other people.”