Mahesh Manjrekar’s younger daughter Saiee is being launched opposite Salman Khan in the third instalment of his cop drama Dabangg.
The Dabangg franchise kicked off in 2010 with Abhinav Kashyap as the director. “When Abhinav narrated the script to me, I asked him why he wasn’t offering me the role of the Robin Hood cop. But more than Chulbul, he saw me as Makkhi, which was an extension of my role in Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na. He was looking to cast Randeep Hooda or Irrfan Khan as the lead then but neither of them had been finalised. I offered to produce the film for him and asked him what if we got Salman on board as Pandey ji. He was instantly excited and things quickly fell in place,” Arbaaz reveals. Seven years after the sequel, Dabangg 3rolled on April 1 this year, and Arbaaz points out that the moment Salman gets into uniform and glues on the moustache, he is Chulbul Pandey come to life. “The character fits him like a glove. Even Makkhi has evolved and is integral to the narrative, with different shades in the prequel and the present,” he says, refusing to divulge more. Arbaaz has been quietly shooting for Priya Varrier’s upcoming film, Sridevi Bungalow, in which he has a special appearance. His character is a lot like who he is in real life. “I play an actor who comes to Priya’s rescue with an action sequence unlike any I have done before, designed by a stunt team from Thailand,” he exults. Prod him on the wink sensation and he says that while he was aware the clip featuring Priya had gone viral, he met her for the first time on the film set and found her to be a hard-working, focused girl. “That wink was a magical moment which got her noticed, but to have a career in this industry, she will have to do some interesting work,” he observes.
Meanwhile Dabangg 3, directed by Prabhudheva, has been on the floors for almost 70 days now. “We are only 60 per cent through. Shooting will wrap up by September end leaving us with three months for post-production,” the maker informs. Quiz him on the surprise element this time and pat comes the answer, “Sudeep (the Kannada actor who plays the antagonist).”