Actor Ayub Khan has said that despite being born into a family of Bollywood veterans, he doesn’t really want to get into the movies. However, this happened out of necessity. Khan, who eventually made films like Apaharan, LOC: Kargil, Mrityudand, Salaami, and Dil Chahta Hai, has now been in the industry for three decades.
The son of old actors Begum Para and Nasir Khan, and the nephew of thespian Dilip Kumar, Khan has also established himself as a popular face on Indian television with shows such as Shakti, Ek Hasina Thi, Uttran and more. He is currently seen in Ranju Ki Betiyaan on Dangal TV.
Ayub Khan looks back at how it all started and what it was like to face the camera as the leader for the first time.
Here’s what he shared:
What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?
My first film was Mashooq (1992) by Mirza Brothers. After school, I did little things in the commercials, then I walked away from it all. I thought I would become an air force pilot. Then I thought I would go to Jaipur to find out more about jewelry. But my mom kept pestering me to pursue a career in filmmaking and I thought I wasn’t cut out for it because I couldn’t understand. Soon my wallet decided my future. It told me I was hungry. I thought that maybe I am not qualified for a lot of the positions that I want to fill. Then my mother put a note and out of the blue I received this offer from Mirza Brothers. The 90s were the time when they threw industry players left to right and center. I was lucky to live in this phase. With me there was Kamal Sadanah, Saif Ali Khan and others who were launched at that time. Anyway, they called me and I became one of the ones that got started back then.
It was the 1990s. And I signed the film in 1989. So I was 21-22 years old. He was some kind of flamboyant, boastful character who is in love with this very skinny woman who rejects him. So he tries to woo her. It was the typical movie of that time.
What do you remember from your first day on the set?
The film was based on The Taming of the Shrew. It was also inspired by the movie Aan because my producers and directors were avid fans of my uncle (Dilip Kumar). They were probably hoping that when I got to the screen, I would do the same magic as my uncle (laughs). They supported and encouraged me a lot. I told them I was a little uncomfortable with it all, so they helped me get into Daisy Irani’s acting class. She helped me a lot. I remember when my producers were making a movie and I was helping them on sets because they wanted me to understand how things are done. Then a day after I packed up they said they wanted to take my screen test. I’m so scared. Anyway, I gathered my strength and decided to put my mind on the scene. I remember the lines were so weird, something like “I love you so much I’m going to break the stars…”
The moment I walked over to the heroine and looked up at her to say my lines, we both burst out laughing. I kind of got that back and continued with my lines. My producers were impressed and said it was a nice angle that I took, laughing in the middle of your lines. I was actually laughing at the dialogue. They thought it was my talent and I remained silent. This is how I got out of it.
Were you nervous? How many times have you taken?
Of course, I was nervous. And that’s how it stayed for a long time. It took me a number of years to get comfortable in front of the camera. This camera noise was very disconcerting. It’s not something I grew up with, we weren’t exposed to film sets. So I had no idea of this world. It wasn’t something I wanted to do either. It just came out of necessity.
The first take was accepted and I was blown away by the fact that “is that it?” Then I remember we were shooting the Mahurat scene from my movie in Pali Hills and my uncle Dilip Kumar came over to applaud. There were a host of other luminaries present there. This time again I had Ayesha to walk to, let’s say a few lines and we had to kiss. I remember I was doing fine, talking to my uncle who gave me some advice on breathing and calming my mind. By the time he said “action” I must have taken four steps towards Ayesha and they felt like four miles. They really need to teach actors how to handle their legs. By the time I met her, I was panting. So instead of finishing my lines and hugging her, I hugged her, put all my weight on her and said my lines. Today I can laugh about it, but this time it was very embarrassing. This time, I didn’t want anyone to know about it.
And who were your co-stars? How did you relate to them when you got to meet them or work with them again later?
It had Ayesha Jhulka, Pran, Kiran Kumar and other actors. Ayesha is a great person who makes you feel comfortable. This time, she had already made a film with Salman Khan. She was extremely confident and knew what she was doing. So that was a big help. A good reaction can give you a good deed. She is a great friend and we share a fantastic report. We didn’t discuss the work, but she kept the light on and it made it easy for me to romanticize her onscreen. Otherwise you don’t know how to touch, is it ok or not. She made it very easy for me.
If you are lucky enough to return to your starring role, what is that one thing that you would like to change or do better?
I would really like to be more confident. If I could have handled it better, surely I could have done better.
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A movie or a role that inspired you to become an actor?
By the time I entered my mind it was the 70s. And we didn’t have a lot of great movies in the 70s and 80s. We had some nice movies but they were with tiles, bells. , wigs, big glasses and all that. As a child, I couldn’t even identify with this kind of bandage. So I wasn’t really interested in movies. Of course, there was Sholay, Ram Aur Shyam, etc. I was obviously in awe of my uncle and Amitabh Bachchan. His films dominated the roaster at the time, but not the industry in general.
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