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Plenty on platter...



Not without reason... Arbaaz Khan at his revealing best in City Park Hotel in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan.

THOUGH HE might not have delightful films to boast of in six years of attendance in Hindi filmdom, he does have some taste for varied culinary delights. It is because Arbaaz Khan believes in that age-old adage, `the way to man's heart is through his stomach'. That in different times his mother, his wife, and even the friendly local restaurant chef have undertaken this route is immaterial. "I am a great food lover and I experiment with all kinds of food. It is only because of weight and digestion reason now that I avoid eating fried food and sweets too often," admits Arbaaz, sitting pretty at Delhi's City Park Hotel's Yellow Chilly restaurant in Pitampura. Interestingly, the chef is ready to serve him aloo nazakat and sham-savera.

Not that Arbaaz is one who thinks it's a lady who should cook for him. He himself wants to try his hand at cooking. "I know I can't cook so I don't dare to try. But I always wished to do a course in cooking and then see how much I have followed that," he confesses. But then he has a hitch too. "I am a little buggy that way. If I cook, I must have all raw materials ready in front of me. I just can't go on locating them, mixing and preparing them." But he promises, "One day I will cook on my own, I am sure it will be quite therapeutic for me."

Many shades

And one day, he can make it to a "better position than Salman and Shah Rukh Khan for they are not the only benchmark in the film world". "I am just 10 films old in Bollywood and in this short span of time, I have done so many shades which is helping me explore what is my USP and where I need to improve." Wajahh, the reason to kill is one such experiment. "Its script is so intriguing. Moreover, I knew Adhikari brothers were not handling the subject for the first time. In fact they have a mastery over it. So decision making was not difficult." In the film Arbaaz plays a married doctor to whose wife, an astrologer predicts that her husband would kill her one day. So she starts getting hallucinations about it. "Some negative shades mingled with a dash of romance and ambiguity" is what helped him discover himself more as an actor.

Arbaaz is all now geared up to have a bite at Yellow Chilly which gives one a homely feeling as it does not boast of gorgeous dιcor and awesome grandeur. It has small pictures, wooden floor, simple furniture and food with home cooked recipes. As he soaks in the ambience, the restaurant's signature dish moosa dal arrives. For Arbaaz, it is a reason to smile for he loves home cooked Indian food such as dal, rajma-chawal and chicken followed by Italian and Chinese food. To please him Maliaka also cooks now. Her cooking potential was exposed once. "During my courtship with her, Malaika invited me to her home saying she had cooked kadai chicken for me. She knew my weakness for home-cooked food. It was very tasty. I kept on praising for long time until one day after marriage I got to know that her mother had prepared it! I still tease her for winning me over with that food and pull her leg saying she can't cook! Now she has started cooking and I have my way," Arbaaz laughs mischievously.

And this "homely man" wants to cook "nice food for the whole family some day". Meanwhile, on the film front there is plenty cooking: on the anvil are Taj Mahal and Hulchul.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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