Arbaaz Khan, who celebrates his 48th birthday tomorrow (August 4), is in a zone of his own. The stress of donning the grease paint is a thing of the past, so is the monotony of waiting endlessly in the vanity van for the ‘Director’s Call’.
Today, his typical day begins with scanning scripts, hitting the gym (a discipline he has imbibed from his elder brother) and spending time with his son Arhaan and wife Malaika. Not necessarily in that order, though. There’s also quality time spent with his in-laws, Joyce and Anil Arora and at his parent’s home in Galaxy.
In between he is hoping Salman will ‘commit’ himself for DABANGG 3. Surprised at not yet getting his commitment, I repeat bhai’s dialogue on commitment. Arbaaz has a hearty laugh saying, “He committed for DABANGG and DABANGG 2 and fulfilled it. He has yet to commit for DABANGG 3.” So when does he plan to start shooting for the film? “Salman has other commitments. Who knows, we might start shooting in 2016 or 2017. Discussions are on,” reveals Arbaaz. “I’m sure once he commits, he will not listen to himself too,” he adds, with a hearty laugh.
I remind the actor-turned-producer-turned-director about the year 2006, when in one of my conversations with him he had mentioned, “How long will I put on make-up and wait for the director’s call? I want to do something different.” Now that he has achieved success as a producer and director, does he feel satisfied?
“This is just the beginning. I have just about started. I have been in this profession since 1996. I got early success as a producer and director and I wish to continue to make good commercial films. I want to make bigger and better films,” he says with the enthusiasm of a teenager.
“I came into my own as a director. As an actor I have under-achieved. I know I could have done much more. I am still open to roles. I have that passion,” he adds opening doors on his acting career as well.
And what type of films is he looking at making? He shoots off without stopping to pause. He knows what he is looking for, unlike when he was an actor. “I believe in making films for a larger audience. I believe films should have a wider reach. I will never make films for a niche audience.”
And is he by any chance looking to do a children’s film? “Yes why not? I will do a children’s film only if the subject excites me, not because I have a 12-year-old son. Whenever it comes, I will do it. I go by my gut feeling.”
Here’s rewinding on Arbaaz and his conversations with me down the years…
On which category he is best suited – comedy, intense roles or the negative shade:
I would like to try my hand at comedy, though I have never attempted it. As far as negative or the intense roles are concerned, I do them in any case. But what I am not confident of is the regular singing, dancing hero. I will not be confident doing that. I am confident about the other genres and am OK with that. By now even the audiences know that I do not fit into the typical romantic hero. I want to work hard at where I am accepted rather than try to do something I am not comfortable with. (This was in the year 2003).
On Arhaan and the change within:
He has brought about a tremendous change. There is a new sense of responsibility. Overnight I have matured. Now, we are no more a couple. We are a family. I’m not a guy who thinks too much about the future but Arhaan has got me to think ahead. I am conscious that he is helpless and dependent on us. (This was in the year 2004).
On wanting to direct a movie:
Four years from now yes; I would like to wield the microphone and call the shots, because there is that dormant director in me. I would like to make the movies I want to make. (This was in the year 2007).
On Salman’s success:
I’m proud of the fact that Salman has got recognition for working so hard. There is a lot of hard work, dedication and focus that has gone in the 18 years he has been in the industry. So, one has to respect that; you have to give the man credit. There is a strategy behind it. I have to get that into my life. (This was in the year 2007).
Salim Khan on Arbaaz and his strengths:
Arbaaz has a laidback, easy-going attitude. He is not ambitious. He is hard-working only when he is near his goals. Talent and discipline is a rare combination. Very rarely will you see this combination. As a scriptwriter, we don’t deal with people but their images. I was the one who discouraged Arbaaz from playing romantic leads. I told him he could do what Vinod Khanna did; a character role which is a show stealer! He should work hard on himself, and not wait for things to come.
Well, Arbaaz has certainly heeded his father’s advice: he has steered away from romantic roles, worked hard and the result is there for all to see. The best part is that his hunger is now huge. “I have a long way to go. It’s not that I achieved it all. I have a lot of expectations,” he says signing off.
This will certainly have his father smiling… Talent and discipline is finally falling in place!