Arbaaz Khan: Salman is the Best Brother One Could Have

Director's special
Direction was a natural progression. “I always nursed the ambition to become a director. I began as an assistant director to Mahesh Bhatt sahab on films like Zulm, Kabza and Aawargi during the ’80s. Then I got an opportunity to act and I took it up thinking direction was something which I could always pursue later,” says Arbaaz whose take as a psychotic wife abuser in Daraar (1996) won him the Filmfare Best Actor in a Negative Role Award. Incidentally, Dabangg 2 was slated to be directed by Abhinav Kashyap, who directed the blockbuster Dabangg. So when Arbaaz was asked to wield the baton, it triggered its fair share of controversies. “Abhinav chose to opt out. Probably, because he didn’t want to direct a sequel and wanted to move on to something else. As the producer of Dabangg, I was also creatively involved with the film. So I took up the challenge,” he explains.

Arbaaz says he wasn’t overwhelmed by the pressure. “You can’t buckle under stress. No matter who made the sequel, there would’ve been pressure on him. No matter how great a filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani is, he can’t avoid pressure either. I wasn’t competing with someone else, I was competing with my own film.” While public opinion on the sequel is divided, Arbaaz believes he’s raised the bar. “The first installment being excellent, paved the way for the sequel. I strove hard to create an identity for the sequel. Both Dabangg and Dabangg 2 are my babies. I can’t choose my favourite.” Arbaaz walked the tightrope and also featured in both the films as Makhanchand aka Makkhi Pandey, Chulbul Pandey’s (Salman Khan) brother. “As an actor I did whatever was required, but next time I’ll be cautious about handling both the roles. I may have compromised a little as a producer and left that department in the hands of close ones,” he confides.

Men at work
At work, Salman and Arbaaz related to each other as thorough professionals, without fear or favour. “I don’t believe Salman made any concessions for me. I was still a debutant director and he, a big star. Though I could put forth my views, there were arguments galore. Sometimes he fought to put across his point, sometimes I did. We agreed and we also disagreed over the creatives. Sometimes he relented, sometimes I had to. It depended on whose conviction was stronger. It felt nice to know that he trusted me on most counts. And even when we disagreed, we never packed up because of our differences like some people do.”
Acknowledging Salman’s charisma and skill he says, “He’s got huge experience behind him. He’s the reason why people would be watching the film, it’s his connect with the audience that’s absolute. There were times when he’d say, ‘I think this will work. It would be nice if you allowed me to do it. Trust me on that’. More often than not, his suggestions were right.” He analyses Salman further, “Salman has a certain way of working, which has now been accepted by people who work with him. They’ve found a way to work around him so that he can deliver his best. It may not be the ideal way for all.” Being his brother, Arbaaz understands Salman’s quirks. “He works at his own pace. He loves to engage himself on the set. Even though he’s read the script before, he likes to improvise while shooting. Also, he’s not a 6 am or a 7 am person. The lifestyle of stars is different. They don’t go to bed at 8 pm. They need to complete their sleep to look fresh on camera.”
As a brother, Salman is a different entity altogether, asserts Arbaaz. “He’s the best brother you could possibly have. He is always there for you, always caring, always loving. We share a great bond. There’s hardly an age difference between us but yet there’s a lot of respect. Though he’s older, he gives me a lot of respect. I never cross the line with him. We give each other space. In many ways we’re similar and yet different.”

The past act
He’s honest and realistic about his 16-year stint as an actor. “I don’t believe I did anything earth shattering as an actor. I had my ups and downs. I’ve done some significant and some insignificant films. I realised I was getting stagnant. It was evident that nothing extraordinary would happen to my acting career, except for odd roles here and there. There are 365 days in a year and I often had work for around 60 days. Yes, it was frustrating.” But the actor, whose notable films include Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, comedies like Hulchul, Malamaal Weekly, Bhagam Bhag and action film like Shootout At Lokhandwala, prefers to see the brighter side and says, “Though I may not have left a huge mark, I did create some ripples. People would recollect there was an actor called Arbaaz Khan.”

He doesn’t want to take his new identity as a successful director for granted. “I want to be amongst the top 10, if not top five filmmakers. Though I don’t think I’d stand even in the list of top 30 actors. But I don’t regret the time spent as an actor. It only enriched me. I’m complimented for the way I handle my actors. That I can only attribute to the fact that I’ve been an actor myself.”

Back home too it must not have been easy stepping out of the shadows of a superstar brother. “Salman became a superstar at the age of 23. But while we were growing up, it was Salman who was compared to me as I was the disciplined one. He used to be constantly pulled up for not matching up to me. He was often told, ‘Why aren’t you as well-behaved as Arbaaz? Why don’t you study like him?’ But destiny has its own plans and today he has made it this big,” smiles Arbaaz.

As father to young son Arhaan, Arbaaz says he’s demonstrative about his fondness, which his father Salim Khan was not. “My father, like most fathers of his times, never showed affection though he loved us a lot. He never really hugged or kissed us. Somewhere I missed that. He was not the sort who’d chill out with us or snuggle into our beds and watch a movie together. But I’m different with my son, much like fathers today. I can’t spend a single day without hugging Arhaan and telling him that I love him. It’s important for him to know that I love him and that I’m always there for him. I want him to feel reassured and secure.”

To wife and actor Malaika Arora Khan, Arbaaz’s been a generous husband. In fact, Malaika was once quoted saying that Arbaaz is the ‘sage’ in her life, given his wisdom and patience. “We’ve been married for 15 years. Before that we had a five-year courtship. As a boyfriend and as a husband I’ve never kept tabs on Malaika, landed up on her sets or kept calling her up insanely.

I believe in giving the other person the freedom to be,” shares Arbaaz. While Malaika continues to wow audiences with her sizzling looks, the ‘liberal’ Arbaaz imposes no restrictions on her career. “Very early in life I realised there’s no point in stopping the other person from doing what they like because they will do it anyway. Malaika knows me well and also what I like and dislike. We know we’ll never cross that line. We give each other space and freedom of choice.” After a pause he says, “The minute I stop her from doing something, she’ll also try to stop me. Like, if I tell her to stop being friends with someone, she too will turn around and tell me, ‘I don’t like that friend of yours.’ And the cycle continues.” We surely agree with Arbaaz’s philosophy of ‘live and let live’.
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Salman is The Blessed One:)

So many Stars with stark dazzle but still 1 Family:jsm ...something to learn from:dr

boht vadiya share:)