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I don’t claim copyright over Salman

Saturday, January 10, 2015
By Sandeep Hattangadi

Handsome Arbaaz Khan is not only known as Salman Khan’s brother but also as an actor in films like ‘Malamaal Weekly’, ‘Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa’ , ‘Daraar’, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’, etc, also as producer of the super-hit ‘Dabaang’ and director of its sequel. Now he is all set to wow audiences with his latest romantic con-comedy ‘Dolly Ki Doli’ (‘DKD’) which releases soon. We had a brief chat session with the Khan scion at his plush suburban office

Did you make ‘Dolly Ki Doli’ as an interim film because Salman is totally busy with his own pre-committed projects?
Not at all. I don’t claim copyright over Salman. He is free to do films as he likes. I was interested in doing a small film and was looking out for subjects when director Abhishek Dogra, erstwhile assistant to R Balki, chased me with his subject laboriously. When he gave me a narration of ‘Dolly Ki Doli’, I was hooked. I immediately decided to produce the film and backed Dogra wholeheartedly.

What is the film ‘DKD’ all about?
The film is about a feisty girl played by Sonam Kapoor who woos young men into marriage and then ‘cons’ them into giving up their wealth and money. She takes the fortune and leaves them high and dry. The character is based on a con-crime news-item which came in the papers. Pulkit Samrat who plays a cop, Raj Kumar Rao, Varun Sharma and Pulkit Samrat play the three conned husbands.

Isn’t the film’s plot very similar to ‘Ladies vs Ricky Behl’?
Look, there are many film stories which have similar plots. Like a man going against the system and fighting the criminals to their end might all be ‘Dabaang’ and ‘Singham’. But that doesn’t mean it’s a similar story. A boy falling in love and getting married against the wishes of his parents is a common plot, but then such films are not photocopies of each other. We had registered the film ‘DKD’ script with the Film Writers Association way back in 2012.

How did you go about casting for ‘DKD’ ?
The first thing was we shortlisted a few leading ladies and looked for their availability and interest in our project. Sonam Kapoor who fitted the bill came on board and then we had already penciled in Rajkumar Rao for one of the three main characters, and later Pulkit Samrat and Varun Sharma also were signed for the film.

You have made a serious actor like Rajkumar Rao sing and dance in the film.
Yes. He is known for his serious portrayals in films like ‘Shahid’ and ‘Citylights’. But he has shed his serious image and has done a fabulous job in a different role where he has sung and danced like a regular Hindi mainstream commercial film.

Wasn’t casting Malaika Arora for an ‘item number’ your idea?
Well, yes. Not only because she is my wife, but she has a mega-hit number like ‘Munni Badnaam Hui’. After item songs like 'Sheela Ki Jawani', An item number is required to attract the masses from the interior regions and Malaika has done a swell job. Her song is one of the major highlights of the film.

Your film ‘DKD’ is releasing with a biggie like Akshay Kumar’s ‘Baby’. Won’t it be ‘suicidal’ for your film?
The genre of my film and that of ‘Baby’ is completely different. My film is a con movie with a dash of romance whereas ‘Baby’ is an action thriller. Both will have their own separate target audiences. We can’t wait to see a big film not come our way because every week there are so many releases. We also wanted a holiday weekend and we are happy with a small release in 1,000 screens, rather than 2,500 screens for ‘Baby’. Our film will grow through word-of-mouth publicity, and it will definitely work at the box office.

Tell us something about the music of the film.
Sajid  Wajid have given us a fabulous score with five tuneful songs and a hit score goes a long way in making a hit film like ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ or ‘Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’. We will be promoting the film’s music in a big way.

Why aren’t you a part of the film's cast?
I was not required for any character as every character was already cast perfectly. Since it’s my film, it doesn’t mean that I should be cast in the film. There was a cameo which I could have done, but when Saif Ali Khan agreed to do it I was more than happy to pass on the baton to Saif.  

Will there be any surprise guest appearance by Salman in the ‘DKD’ film?
No, not at all.

What’s the latest on a 'Dabaang' prequel?
The scripting is on and we might start the film after Salmaan completes his present films. He has to say yes to films for my sake or the family’s sake. But this time around I have decided to wait for him to clear his backlog.

There are reports which suggest you re-shot the ‘DKD’ climax...
Not at all. It’s all humbug. My father Salim Khan saw the final copy and was appreciative, except for a dialogue he suggested which was incorporated in the film. This definitely can’t be considered as re-shooting the film.

We hear you are coming back to acting.
Yes. My mentors Abbas-Mustaan who gave me my debut film ‘Daraar’ have given me a comedy role as a deaf don in their film with Kapil Sharma called ‘Kisko Pyaar Karoon’. It's great fun to work with Kapil, Abbasbhai and Mustaan bhai.

Nice to hear from Arbaaz about ‘Dolly Ki Doli’ and his other ventures!

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