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Tanaav actor Arbaaz Khan on Bollywood hate campaigns, how actors are often misjudged: ‘You never see the entire story’

Actor-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan is all set for the release of his OTT project, Tanaav, a web series adapted from the Israeli hit web show Fauda. Set to release on November 11 on SonyLIV, the series is based in Kashmir and explores the socio-political scenario of the Valley. The actor, who believes that the team of Tanaav has done a good job with the source material, wants the audience to first watch it, before making up their mind about it. He also spoke at length about the cancel culture and #BoycottBollywood trend which has been prevalent on social media lately.

Recalling an incident from a promotional event of the Sudhir Mishra directorial Tanaav, Arbaaz shared how someone objected to the poster of the web series since it featured actor Manav Vij, who plays the lead role of Kabir, in the front and the women characters were placed in the backdrop.

The actor, annoyed with the objection, explained, “Films are made with a hierarchy, and on the poster, you show that you are coming to watch this person as the captain of that film. Toh ab aap uska bhi issue banaoge (Now, you will make an issue out of that too)?”

Arbaaz reckons people are ‘too sensitive’ these days. But he wants everyone to be a little forgiving towards people in the film industry, as they are humans too and do make mistakes.

“We all are fallible, we all make mistakes, we all get carried away, we all get emotional, and we all say things sometimes that we regret, that’s how life is. That’s how growth is. In all our religious texts, it is said one should learn to forgive. But we are not ready to forgive,” he said while adding that today everyone waits for the other person to make a mistake to bring them down. “We just wait for you to make a mistake and we rub your nose in the ground, we just want to shame you and ultimately destroy you. Isme kya pleasure hai? (What is the pleasure in this?) There’s nobility in helping someone improve, rather than punishing them,” added Arbaaz.

Exasperated with the trolls and hate campaigns on the internet, the actor said the people who are initiating these issues have no strength to confront someone in person. “It’s not like you are confronting a real person, you are doing it sitting, sorry for my language, on a bathroom pot and starting a campaign. Things you are punishing people for are ridiculous,” he said.

As a filmmaker, Arbaaz fails to understand what a filmmaker is supposed to do after being constantly told, “Iss community ko aisa mat dikhao, iss aadmi ko waise mat dikhaao..toh fir karein kya… (Don’t show this community like this, don’t show this man like that, then what are we supposed to do?)” He pointed out, “In earlier days, there was a song ‘Jiski biwi moti..’. You cannot have that song in today’s time.”

Arbaaz suggests that before assessing someone’s actions, one must look at the intentions of the person. He cited the example of the drama that ensues when an actor gets rude with the fans. He says no one wants to know the reason behind the rude behaviour.

“If an actor pushes someone, the headline is ‘Actor ne dhakka maara‘. But nobody sees ‘dhakka kab aur kyun maara (why and when did the actor push someone)’. It was probably after requesting the fan multiple times to maintain distance. It was after maybe my bag fell, my glasses fell, my wallet fell, aur fir gusse mein aa kar maine bol diya, ‘arre tu hatt..’ (after ignoring everything for a long time, I told the person to get away from me). Now, someone just cut the part where I shouted and put it out on the internet. And then people say, ‘See this actor is so rude, he misbehaved with fans.’ But you never saw the entire story,” Arbaaz vented.

However, Arbaaz feels actors today have no solution but to just keep defending themselves and explain, ‘why they said this or why they did that’. “Life is now only about defending yourself. The whole concept of silence is old now. Now you cannot stay silent, you will have to give your clarification to the world. It’s unfortunate because you are made to talk about something you hate to talk about,” the disappointed actor said.

The actor said he is excited about the release of Tanaav. He shared how he was waiting for a long time for the right project to come along. So much so that this was the first time he auditioned for a role.

“I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra’s office asking if I can do an audition for one of the interesting parts in the series and I was like ‘Why not!’ In my career of 20-25 years, I had never been asked to give an audition for any of my characters. So, I found this to be a challenging thing. I called a friend and we shot a very amateurish video on an iPhone. I sent it to them and waited in anticipation as to what will happen,” he shared.

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