MUMBAI : Bollywood superstar Salman Khan says the "neighbouring (neighbourly) culture" and the traditional camaraderie and bonding between neighbours in India is now sadly a thing of the past. The star is back as the host of the 11th edition of the controversial reality TV show "Bigg Boss", which is themed around neighbours.
Remembering his childhood neighbours, Salman told IANS in an interview here: "When I was growing up, not here in Galaxy (apartments), but before that... there was an exchange of warmth between 'padosis' (neighbours)."
"Around 60 families used to stay in that area and people had a connection. Doors were never shut, we used to play around and in the evening, men of the house sat together and conversed. Women of the house used to talk about 'What is cooked in your house?' There was an exchange of food... the environment was quite different then," added the 51-year-old.
Still, the "Dabangg" actor feels fortunate.
"I think I am very lucky because when we shifted to Galaxy, we had the same kind of atmosphere. You know, behind my house, there is a colony called Virendra Colony, where all the boys were growing up together, had the same bonding.
"Though all of them are now working abroad, whenever they come back for festivals or vacation, they come back together. And you know, it's like that cheerfulness comes along," he added.
Salman, fondly known as "Bhaijaan", has inspired many, whether to stay fit or to contribute to society, the way he gets involved in charitable acts.
Asked if such immense popularity brings added advantage to the show "Bigg Boss", Salman said: "Yes, that definitely works for the show, and Colors (channel) as well. Yes, there is a connection from both sides (fans and Salman) that I cannot deny.
"But I cannot describe what it is. You know, especially among children; I have been observing kids who are maybe not well... or disabled kids, they have a huge affinity towards me. When they wave their hands saying 'Salman...' I feel the connection. I love them."
"Bigg Boss" is one of the reality television shows that have been going on air for long. It's Salman's seventh year as its host.
As a host, what are the changes that he has observed so far?
"I think in the last few seasons, people watched the show before participating in it, thinking they know the format of the show. But what they do not understand is whatever strategy they come up with does not work in the house (Bigg Boss House)," said Salman, who has also hosted "Dus Ka Dum".