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Arbaaz Khan: Salman and I did have regular, normal fights

Last updated on: December 19, 2012 19:47 IST

Arbaaz Khan: Salman and I did have regular, normal fights

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Patcy N in Mumbai
"God forbid if something goes wrong, I don't think it will be will be the end of Arbaaz Khan. Arbaaz Khan will bounce back," Arbaaz Khan says boldly, during an interview about his directorial debut Dabangg 2, releasing on December 21.
 
In this candid conversation with Patcy N, Khan tells that he was never a successful actor but that his directorial venture holds much promise.
 
After the huge success of Dabangg what should the audience expect from Dabangg 2?
 
As you know, Dabangg 2 is the sequel to the earlier film. We will be taking the story forward so that people can come and enjoy the journey further. 

We have tried to create things that can be more exciting for people. Dabangg symbolises entertainment, drama, good music, actions and we have tried to give doses of all of that in the sequel too.
 
After Abhinav Kashyap (director, Dabangg) opted out of the sequel, why did you step in instead of looking for some accomplished director?
 
Honestly, I always had the silent ambition of being a director.
 
I have not just been a mere producer; I have been involved with Abhinav on various aspects of the film, so when this opportunity arose, we had a void as to who will direct the film. 

I felt nobody, at that point in time and in the given circumstances, would be better suited to step in and take charge than myself, so I did it.

Image: Arbaaz and Salman Khan on the sets of Dabangg


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'I didn't have a very successful stint as an actor'

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Your father has said he always thought you would make a better filmmaker than actor. Why did it take you so long to produce a film and now direct a film?
 
I didn't have a very successful stint as an actor. I pushed myself to see if I could be successful in acting and that took me longer to decide when I was going to take on direction. 

When I realised that I am chasing a career that I should have stopped a long way back and get into direction, which is what I wanted to do, that's when I got into production and now into direction.
 
I was not happy where I was. If after 15 years of acting I still have to look to when work will come next, or when my phone is going to ring, then I don't think I have done justice to my career. That insecurity was not a very happy feeling. I wanted to be in a profession where I make a mark and I feel secure too.
 
I knew I had a little more to offer. I knew there were avenues of my personality that I could explore as a producer and I found success, and now I am hoping as a director I get it too.
 
If you ask me which of the three I enjoyed the most, I would say my stint as a director. Even though it is the shortest stint, it has been the most fulfilling and satisfying. I think this what I always wanted to do and this is my calling.

Image: Arbaaz, Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Malaika Arora Khan on the sets of Dabangg

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'A lot of my understanding of my craft and my filmmaking experience comes from my father'

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How much of your understanding of your craft comes from your father Salim Khan, your elder brother Salman, and your own experience in cinema?
 
A lot of my understanding of my craft and my filmmaking experience, or just generally what I know about film, comes from my father in particular, and my elder brother who has made such a great name for himself and is such a big star. I have learnt so much from him, like his focus, his dedication, his talent and how he has used that.
 
I am an avid film watcher. I enjoy watching films and learning from them and being conscious of the fact that if I ever was to make a film in what direction would I want to go.
 
I have done the best that I could do. I had a big film to make, and I had a big star to work with, I had deadlines to meet -- it was a fantastic and challenging experience.
 
I am proud that I not only pulled it off but that I am happy with my film. When I look at my film now, I know it can go to an audience. I am satisfied.

Image: On the sets of Dabbang 2


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'I enjoyed this tug of war where I give in sometimes and Salman gives in sometimes'

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How much of Dabbang 2 is Arbaaz Khan's vision and how much of it is Salman Khan's? 
 
Difficult to say, both have contributed equally. Salman has constantly given his inputs on the scenes, the situation and the film and the characters.
 
Whatever the film could absorb or whatever was right for the film we have incorporated in the film. There were times when he suggested things, we discussed and argued about it. At times I had to relent because I felt that I should trust his experience and his comfort level.
 
At other times, I managed to convince him. I enjoyed this tug of war where I give in sometimes and he gives in sometimes. Finally, we are both happy with the outcome.
 
But there has to be an overview of the film, and that's where the director comes in and streamlines all the artistic people in the vision that he wants. I would say a director is jack of all trade and master of his vision.
 
Does Salman dominate because he is the older brother?
 
I don't think Salman dominates; he gives me lot of liberty.
 
The way we communicates one would say we are friends. There are no barriers between us.
 
As an actor with experience and a stake in the film, he has his say. He knows that the reason people will actually watch Dabangg 2 is because of him. 

So when you tell him something, you better be sure that it is going to work and he gives his consent.

Image: On the sets of Dabbang 2


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'Salman and I did have regular, normal fights'

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As a kid, did he ever try to bully you?
 
There is just about a year and half difference between us. We grew up like friends but we did have regular, normal fights. We still do, but they are creative arguments now, mainly about work, never a personal issue. 
 
Is the dinner table conversation all about films? 

We do talk about films but I don't think they are the most part of our conversation. We talk about people, life, our experiences in general but not so much about films.
 
We saw very little of Sonakshi in the first part. Will she have a big role in part two?
 
Sonakshi has a far more elaborate role than in the first one and she is fantastic in the film.

Image: On the sets of Dabbang 2

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'If we keep recreating the same thing, it would look boring'

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Malaika Arora Khan makes a special appearance in the song Pandeyji.  Why didn't you give her a full-fledged item song?
 
Because I felt once we did Munni (Munni Badnam Hui in Dabangg) which is an iconic song, I wanted to avoid areas that we had done earlier.
 
As this was a sequel we had X number of characters already -- Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan), Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha), Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna), Makhanchand Pandey (Arbaaz Khan), Tiwariji and Chaubeyji (two policemen who work with him) all theses from the first one were already moving.
 
We had to add certain amount of freshness, so we got a new actor (Prakash Raj) to play the villain in the film. There is a police commissioner's character played by a new person. 

So for the item song also it became mandatory that we get a new actor to do it. If we keep on recreating the same thing it would look boring, I felt. Next time maybe if we have her it will look fresh.

So there will be a third part?
 
I am hoping if this film does well we will make the third one.
 
Is it true that the climax was shot just a few days ago? Why so late?
 
The climax was shot a month back but just a small portion was shot a few days back. We had packed up our schedule a day earlier for some reason and we had to shoot that portion again.

Image: On the sets of Dabbang 2


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'God forbid if something goes wrong, but it won't be the end of Arbaaz Khan'

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In his interview Salman said: 'Arbaaz's career depends on this movie'. What do you have to say to that?
 
In many ways I would say it is true, because when you come with a franchise like Dabangg there is sometimes little more to lose than to gain. Because if it does well everybody will say it was because it was Dabangg's sequel, it was a hit franchise, it was Salman Khan so it had to do well.
 
But it is not so simple. If a film works it works because overall the film is good. The audience doesn't lap up anything dished out to them. I knew just putting 2 to Dabangg won't make the film work, so I worked hard on every aspect of the film. 
 
Salman said if my film doesn't do well it will affect my career, and may be to a certain extent yes. But I have the capacity to bounce back. We are survivors by instinct. God forbid if something goes wrong, but it won't be the end of Arbaaz Khan. Arbaaz Khan will bounce back again
 
We have had failed actors becoming big directors like Rakesh Roshan and Subhash Ghai....
 
So, am I the failed actor doing that? May be, yes. I think you pointed out something very nice. Direction is something that I enjoyed the most of everything that I did. It was far more fulfilling, exciting, and enriching. I hope to continue. 

Image: On the sets of Dabbang 2


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