Indo-Asian News Service
The talented actor was first noticed as an exuberant hero in â€˜Tere Mere Sapneâ€™. But he has finally found success in two well-appreciated films this year.
â€œI had to wait over three years to get the right films. It was tough. I reached a point when I was about to sign any film that came my way. I stopped myself just in time. I couldnâ€™t go on the sets and move around like a zombie. I couldnâ€™t live with that,â€ Arshad said.
Now, after so many years of an enforced hiatus, he is back in the reckoning. He has been noticed for his two wonderful performances in two unusually titled films, Shashank Ghoshâ€™s â€˜Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2â€™ and Raj Kumar Hiraniâ€™s â€˜Munnabhai M.B.B.Sâ€™.
â€œAfter â€˜Tere Mere Sapneâ€™ I was flooded with offers from wannabe David Dhawans who wanted to cast me as another Govinda. I decided to wait. My last release was Prakash Mehraâ€™s â€˜Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachaoâ€™. The script was good. But I donâ€™t think the director was comfortable with comedy,â€ Arshad shrugs.
â€œIâ€™m going broke and still turning down roles by tonnes...,â€ he says. Thatâ€™s the story of Arshadâ€™s career. Heâ€™s acknowledged as a good actor. But stardom is still a distant dream.
â€œCompliments are very important for someone whoâ€™s still to find his level. I enjoyed both â€˜Waisa Bhi...â€™ and â€˜Munnabhai...â€™ as much as people enjoyed watching me.â€
While signing â€˜Munnabhai...â€™, the first thing Arshad wanted to know was who would play the title role. â€œWhen they told me it was Sanjay Dutt I was all right. Any other actor wouldâ€™ve tried to cut my role. Nothing of mine in â€˜Munnbahi...â€™ was cut. I wanted to make sure the audience wouldnâ€™t forget me.
â€œDirector Raj Kumar Hirani gave me the freedom to interpret my character the way I wanted. Earlier they wanted my character to be a six-foot silent right-hand man for Sanjay Dutt. Then when the role finally came to me I made it something else.â€
Arshad is bracing for â€œtonnes of offers to play the gangster... I know theyâ€™ll come. But I wonâ€™t do them.â€
â€œMy next film that I start in March is â€˜Kabul Expressâ€™. Itâ€™s going to be directed by Kabir Khan, a documentary filmmaker with tonnes of experience in Afghanistan. Itâ€™s about two journalists who travel to Afghanistan to interview a guy in the Taliban.
â€œWeâ€™ll shoot the film at a stretch in 40 days. Naseeruddin Shah plays a Taliban. Roshan Seth plays a Pakistani general. Weâ€™re looking for the guy who will co-star with me. Producers are telling my director to name someone who doesnâ€™t have to be a good actor because Naseer and I can do all the acting!â€
â€œIâ€™m now completing a long-pending project called â€˜Zamaanatâ€™ with Amitabh Bachchan and Karisma Kapoor, whoâ€™s also my co-star in the TV serial â€˜Karishma: The Miracle Of Destinyâ€™.â€
He hates the quality of software on television. â€œAll this mother-in-law-daughter-in-law stuff makes me sick.â€
The years have been tough for Arshad. â€œIt feels bad to have less talented guys race ahead. Being an actor from a non-film family means youâ€™ve to prove yourself constantly. If youâ€™re a star-son you can afford to give 15 flops and learn on the job. I donâ€™t understand this logic. But I accept life as it comes, no point fighting the inevitable.
â€œThank god for my wife Maria (Goretti). If she didnâ€™t have a job, weâ€™d be in big trouble.â€
Arshad brightens up as he talks of his better-half. â€œSheâ€™s my anchor. We arenâ€™t having kids now because it would be unfair to her career. But she wonâ€™t be doing any more movies after her brief appearance in â€˜Waisa Bhi Hota Haiâ€™. She does exactly what her heart pleases. No one can force her to do otherwise.â€