Your relationship with Helen really shined on your talk show. Have you always been comfortable with her, given your family dynamics?
We have been together for a long time and we are very close to Helen Aunty. In fact, it’s been so many years with Helen Aunty, but we still call her Helen Aunty because that’s how it is. But of course, it’s our mother. Now it is an integral part of our lives and when it all started we were very young. So we were kept out of some of the drama that must have happened in my parents’ life. But very quickly, we kind of realized, before we became adults, that she was introduced to our family. And my father only asked us for one thing. He said, “Dekho, I know you might be on your mother’s side. You may love your mother more than anything. You will probably never be able to love her (Helen) as much as you love your mother. But one thing I expect of you is that you respect her. Show her the same respect, because you have to accept that she is part of my life. And if you have love and consideration for me, you should accept that this is the reality now”.
Over the years, how has your relationship with Helen evolved?
She was wonderful. She never tried to do anything that would upset our family in that way. She had her own time with my father. My father spent his time with her. He never neglected us or he never abandoned us because he had another person in his life or another woman in his life. And it was not easy for my mother and for us either. But it’s very hard to put your finger on how things worked or why they worked.
Do famous families learn to deal with their problems because of public or image glare?
It has nothing to do with someone being a popular person or a wealthy person. We experienced our own baptism of fire. We had our own struggles. We had our own problems. But we found a way to get through it. Now we have accepted it and embraced it. It’s a different scenario right now. Helen Aunty is someone who is part of everything we do as a family. She has equal space, just like our mother. We give her the same amount of love and respect. And she does the same to us. It’s a nice equation.
How have your family dynamics affected your views on relationships and marriage?
In my father’s day, fathers could still struggle to survive while they were getting married. My father’s career had not started, but he already had three children. My parents didn’t own a house, we children faced problems knowing how and where we went to school. Imagine that you are marrying such a person right now. Today, individuals are concerned about owning a house, having a stable income, knowing the school infrastructure before giving birth to a child. Couples now know which school their child will be enrolled in, even before the child is born.
Today, no one is going to get involved or get married until they realize what they are getting into. People did things blindly out of love. Back then, fathers never had time to spend with their families or children because they were still pursuing careers. Today, there is no way that a man who is not yet settled in his career will ever think about getting married, let alone whether the girl wants to marry him or not. No girl will marry a man unless he has an idea of what he is doing in his life, if he does not have a stable income.
Are you saying love alone isn’t enough these days?
Love is on one side, but you also have to know that you are going to live with a person and that you are going to have a future with them. So, you know, love is going to go out the window if the man is not focused in his life or he is not responsible in life. Before, people took risks. In fact, people used to make a wish to say “I love this person”. Whatever happens, I will fight with him, I will make my life with him, I will raise my children with him. We’ll see what happens’. But things are very different in modern relationships.
You and Malaika Arora often get a lot of love on social media for co-parenting your son Arhaan.
The basic thing is that when two married people separate, they take different paths for their own personal differences, right? It doesn’t matter why they broke up. They may have separated or they may not be contributing to each other’s lives in the way they expect. I’m not talking about Malaika and me. I’m talking about relationships in general. When a married couple has a child, regardless of whether the two adults have countless problems with each other, they will never have a problem with their children. Am I right? Different couples may have different issues, there’s always water under the bridge.
Malaika and I bypassed all of that as well. We forgot the past and realized that our whole life is waiting for us. She evolved, I evolved. Where is the animosity or the anger or the frustration or something like that? Let’s go. For the sake of your child at least, you can come together and create a scenario that is indispensable. He is our child. We brought him into this world. It is our responsibility to take care of him.
For all hosannas, there are also always brickbats. How do you feel when you and Malaika are sometimes trolled?
It doesn’t matter what the world says. People say – they do a number, they do this, do that. Honestly, we don’t have to deal with these people. People talk based on what they see us doing outside, in front of cameras. These people are not present with us in our house, to see what we are doing there. It’s not like we behave a certain way when we’re in public. We celebrate Arhaan’s birthday together. I am constantly talking to Malaika regarding my son’s work, career or responsibilities and needs. I am in constant contact with her. And why not? Why should anyone be surprised if I tell my ex-wife about my son’s life in college to monitor his needs. If his phone is busy, the next person I will call is his mother, my ex-wife.
People are really naive if they think Malaika and I have separated and we will only watch out for ourselves. It doesn’t happen that way. If parents who are separated stop talking to each other, it could end up traumatizing the child, perhaps to some degree. Fortunately, our family does not have this fear. Arhaan accepted that his father had moved on, that his mother had left. He’s fine too.
Are you comfortable with the co-parenting process?
It’s pretty obvious that co-parenting is happening, since Malaika and I are in the limelight. As I said before, we are doing all of this for our child. It is undeniable that Malaika and I have separated. We are very cordial to each other. We are on very good terms. But above all, we are still together for our son. And we will continue to do so. We only have one child.
Coming to your talk show, what was the idea behind staging these conversations with movie icons?
I have always been very fascinated by my father. We have so many people like my dad who are legends, who have had such great contributions and work. But if you see over the years, unfortunately some of them have passed away. A lot of these legends haven’t really been documented in the right way. We had people like Raj Kapoorji, Dev saab, Guru Dutt ji, Dilip saab, RD Burman, Lata ji and I can name hundreds of people who were great legends, from whom we would have learned so much. But nobody really went ahead and documented them, recorded their conversations. There are so many of them who had to deal with personal problems, financial problems, public humiliations, being sad, left out, dealing with failure and all these stories were worth telling. be narrated on video. I felt the need to do it now. That’s why we did the show.
What is the update on Dabangg 4?
Inshallah it will happen soon. Everyone asks this question. But yeah, it’s a big project and it’s coming soon.