Power couple

After having spent 14 years in the film industry,my acting career was not going the way I envisioned. I realised that I had to explore other alternatives.”

Written by DIPTI NAGPAUL D’SOUZA | Published:August 20, 2010 1:31 am

After having spent 14 years in the film industry,my acting career was not going the way I envisioned. I realised that I had to explore other alternatives.” In an industry where mincing words and the yearning for visibility are often the driving force,Arbaaz Khan comes across as impressively candid. The actor who—along with wife Malaika Arora Khan—turns producer with Dabangg,is forthcoming as he talks about the circumstances that made him take up production. He adds,“When director Abhinav Kashyap approached me to play a role in the film and told me that he is yet to find a producer,I knew it was the opportunity I was looking for.”

Seated in the living room of his Bandra residence,Arbaaz looks confident about his debut production,with good reason. The few on-air promos of Dabangg,which stars Salman Khan with debutante Sonakshi Sinha,have already made it one of the most-awaited films of the year. Malaika,seated by her husband,is quick to add,“I was the first person he informed about his decision to turn producer. He was very excited and was sure that the film will do well. Though he told me very little about the storyline,his enthusiasm was so infectious that he convinced me immediately.”

Despite being part of a clique that includes the toplining stars of the industry,Arbaaz put his faith in fresh talent—right from the director to the heroine and playback singers. “Most of the crew was under 30 and our aim was to not compromise on anything. If any one from the crew came up with a suggestion to better the film and could convince us,we would adopt the idea,” explains Arbaaz. This is also the reason why the film overshot the budget and the shooting schedule but after a point,he didn’t fret over it since the business proposition had turned into a passion. Malaika’s role as a producer,however,was limited to lending moral support and playing sounding board to her husband. “I’m not technically sound on production but Arbaaz would seek my opinion whenever he was confused,” she smiles.

She is playing down her contribution to the pre-release buzz for the film. The item track Munni Badnaam,picturised on her with Salman and choreographed by Farah Khan,is already topping the charts. Arbaaz brightens up as he says,“I’m glad I could give her one of the biggest hits of her career.” Malaika laughs as she explains that the song needed a glamourous face and Arbaaz didn’t even bother exploring other options. Arbaaz explains,“While I could’ve approached a Kareena Kapoor or Shilpa Shetty,I didn’t want it to look gimmicky. The song had to blend in and while Malaika has a figure to die for,she isn’t too visually distracting in the scene.”

He may have given more than what Kashyap asked for by producing his directorial debut,but Arbaaz took him up on his acting offer as well. He plays Salman’s brother Makhanchand Pandey (a.k.a Makhi) and,like most male characters in the movie sports a moustache in the film. However,the actor-producer clarifies that the role is a minor one which he took up not in order to propel his career but because no other star would have done it. “I am not turning producer so I can cast myself in key roles and I won’t necessarily want to feature in my future productions.”

The couple is now readying for the promotional tours for Dabangg in London and New York,and a possible premiere in Dubai. As the producer duo discusses their plans,their son Arhaan walks into the room and breaks it to them that their brand new plasma television has suffered damage while he was playing with his friends. Both are evidently anxious but Malaika cools off the situation as she laughs,“We are so excited by the audience response to Dabangg that we’re almost breaking TVs!”

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