As expected the latest Salman Khan-starrer had a dream opening at the box-office. But more than Salman it’s brother and actor-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan who feels like he has passed the test. "Of course the pressure was immense. Right from Dabangg being the sequel of a superhit film to Salman keeping up his success run. But the biggest test was to do justice to brand Dabangg and the stature of Salman Khan. As much as I felt responsible to prove myself as a director, I also did not want to let down Salman’s name," says the dabangg filmmaker.
Arbaaz, however, admits that though the week up to the film’s release had been full of anxiety and excitement, he was confident of the product. "If I wasn’t happy with the film, I wouldn’t have okayed it in the first place," Arbaaz says. Ask him about Salman being pro-active on the sets about the direction and Arbaaz insists that he had the same freedom as any other actor on the sets. "Why only Salman, I am open to suggestions even from spotboys. But with Salman’s suggestions come experiences, so yes, his advice is taken very seriously. But at the end of the day, he’s an actor and knows the space to be given to the director. And when it came to that, he never let me forget that I was the one calling the shots," he shares.
Now that the film’s crossed the Rs100-crore mark, does he feel that he’s finally out of Salman’s shadow. "Why Salman’s shadow? We are all under our father’s (veteran writer Salim Khan) shadow and despite our achievements we are all proud of being where we are. But if I am happy to find respect as a filmmaker, then yes, that I definitely am since I made the first Dabangg. I feel like with this I have found my calling, though I will never stop being an actor," says Arbaaz.
So will all his films star Salman? "We took time to roll out Dabangg 2 after the first one, but I want to make more films in a year. And Salman may not be available all the time. Besides, I want to cast him only if the story’s worth him." And what about directing outside his banner? "If something interesting comes up, why not?" quips Arbaaz.