He has donned the garb of an honest police officer in Hindi films like "Garv" and "Wanted". Now Salman Khan once again endorses the khaki uniform to entertain his fans, but this time as a corrupt one in "Dabangg", releasing Friday.
Too many firsts are attached with the movie, set in the dusty, rugged, rural milieu of Uttar Pradesh. This Abhinav Kashyap directorial debut presents Bollwyood's heartthrob in a completely desi avatar. In fact the director has chosen his character's name as Chulbul Pandey - quite common in the hinterland.
The film happens to be Salman's younger brother Arbaaz Khan's first production venture and it is also the launch vehicle of Sonakshi Sinha, 22, the daughter of veteran actor and politician Shatrughan Sinha. She plays the love interest of Salman, who is double her age, in the action drama.
"I took the movie in an attempt to prove it to myself and earn credibility for myself," said Arbaaz.
Set in Lalganj, Uttar Pradesh, "Dabangg" tells the story of Chulbul Pandey (Salman), a totally fearless but corrupt police officer with unorthodox working methods, and this is so because of his turbulent childhood. Chulbul's father passed away when he was very young after which his mother, Naini (Dimple Kapadia) married Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna). They have a son, Makhanchand (Arbaaz).
Prajapati favours Makhanchand, which does not go down well with Chulbul. He decides to take control of his destiny. The only person he could connect with in the family was his mother, but after her demise and an unsuccessful attempt to mend wounds, Chulbul snaps all ties with his stepfather and half-brother.
However, his life takes a turn when Rajo (Sonakshi) enters his world. Chulbul starts to see life more positively and also gets sensitized to the values of a family. But his detractors, especially Cheddi Singh (Sonu Sood) has his own vested interests and tries to pit one brother against the other.
Known for his beefed up look, the actor said he had to lose a lot of weight for his role in "Dabangg".
"I lost a lot of weight and then it looked weird. You are playing a cop who is totally ribbed. I really wanted to look ribbed in the film," Salman told IANS.
He will also be seen sporting a moustache in the film, which he says is inspired by Shatrughan Sinha.
"Five-six months before the film, Arbaaz used to come with different kinds of moustaches every week. I said I'm shooting for a film, can I grow a moustache... Somewhere Sonakshi also had this thing for her dad's moustache. If you see my moustache, it's somewhat like his," said Salman.
The film's soundtrack has given chartbusters like "Tere mast mast do nain" or the item number "Munni badnam hui", which is picturised on Malaika Arora.
The film tries to be a full entertainment and 'paisa vasool'. Salman has shed his usual dancing style and endorsed different dance steps, which he says have been copied by everyone who can't dance.
"Actually in the film, I copied everyone who can't dance. There is a (rural) nightclub-dancing style, there is one dancing style when you are in a function, and one dance is when you are drunk and enjoying yourself. This film is dedicated especially to those people who can't dance," Salman said.
Most of the newcomers foray into movies with glam and gloss, but Sonakshi, who always wanted a more glamorous debut role, has no complaints now.
"I did want a glamorous debut. Who doesn't? But then these days who knows what will work and what won't. The film has turned out well; it has an actor as popular as Salman and I feel it's a nice project to start off with. I think I made a good decision," she added.
A lot is riding on "Dabangg" and with so many big budgets turning turtle at the box office, all eyes are set on Salman to hit the bull's eye as a corrupt cop.