At the age of 50, Arbaaz Khan has gained more prominence behind the camera than in front of it. And having spent so many years behind the camera, the actor is flattered that he is still getting romantic roles to play. He has played mainly grey characters, or serious ones, but Arbaaz will now be seen trying to get a chemistry going with Sunny Leone in Tera Intezaar. We talk to him about this new phase in his career, plans for the upcoming Dabangg 3 and more. Excerpts:
In the past, several actors have turned down a film with Sunny since they thought it won’t be fit for family audiences. Did you have any such reservations?
I had none. I wouldn’t have done the film if I was not okay with any other aspect of the movie, rather than worry about her. I was okay, and for me, my reasons are different. I have not done romantic roles in a long time, so that was exciting for me. Sunny is a wonderful person, and I had a great time working with her. I think we will be friends for long.
Did you have any apprehensions about the bold scenes?
Look, Tera Intezaar is pretty much a family film. I think even Sunny knows how she wants her audience to be, as do I. So, I may have had a small kiss here and there with actresses in a few films. And that’s okay. As an actor, I too draw a line over how much I would be comfortable doing. And that’s fair enough, I think. I’m not a particular type of actor or person, and everything is acceptable. As an actor, I have my limitations too; I make my own assessments.
Do you think you have been typecast in Bollywood?
People tend to typecast you in a certain way, depending on the kind of work you have been doing till then. Films like Daraar, Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, and Maa Tujhe Salaam put you in a bracket, as the characters in them have slightly serious, grey shades. And then there’s the other problem — very few people actually want to experiment with you.
I was excited about my role in Tera Intezaar, because I got to play a romantic character at this age and stage in my career. I’m no young actor, though I have a life as an actor.
Is money a driving factor for you to sign up for a film?
Sometimes, the money is exciting. You want to buy a house, or a car, and then you jump into it. So, there are a lot of things that come into consideration, and that’s fair enough. There may or may not solely be one reason why you do films. People do say that the only reason they do a movie is because it offers them a good role, and a character. While some people like to stick to that line of thought, I’m not of the same opinion. These are not the only driving forces to do a film.
At the age of 50, you’re playing a romantic hero. Is there a sense of fear that comes up as one ages?
Maybe, with my age, this may not suit me, because Hindi films are not just about song and dance. No matter who you are, you can try to look as young as possible but people will also have a screen image in mind. They also want to see younger people. However, in my case, that was not a concern. I have my own life, and I’m not going to be worried about all this. In fact, my age is just going to help me. It’s also about older actors now. Look at Bachchan saab (Amitabh Bachchan). He still gets work, doesn’t he?
Word is that Sunny will also be doing an item number in Dabangg 3…
All I can say is that we will make films with her. I kind of know that if she does a film, it will help her. Like when Malaika (Arora) did the original Dabangg, it helped her. Despite being such a big star, even Kareena (Kapoor Khan) got recognition for Dabangg 2. So no matter who has done the films, these have only helped them. I need to see what the requirement of Dabangg 3 is first. If Sunny fits the bill, I am just going to go with her.
You come from a close-knit family. Do you tend to take advice from your family before signing up for a movie?
My family doesn’t interfere in my professional decisions at all. They don’t have a say in this. All of us in the family have the liberty to take our own professional calls. We have all been here for so long that we’ve learnt to take our own decisions. My father (Salim Khan) has always wanted us to take all of our big decisions by ourselves. He gives us advice only when we ask for it.