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Khan of love...

By RANA SIDDIQUI

They never tire of singing each other's praises. Managing their careers, looking after their child, Arbaaz and Malaika Khan do all this and more with a smile.



UNITED WE STAND: Arbaaz Khan with his wife Malaika Khan. Photo: Kamal Narang.

`IF YOU get a good saas (mother-in-law) like mine, nothing like it," winks Arbaaz Khan. "And if you get a perfect hubby like Arbaaz, nothing like it," Malaika Arora Khan responds.

This is the much talked about pair of Bollywood, Malaika and Arbaaz. Now added with one more bundle of joy; their son Arhaan who has not only brought both families closer but also added spice to their usual interviews.

Arbaaz is "more close to my family than I am. When he comes home, it is like a festival. My mom cooks special dishes for him," says Malaika. "I am like a real, royal son-in-law in her family. Now I can visualise how sons-in-law in earlier days would have been lavishly treated. Whenever I want to eat something delicious, I just ring up my mother-in-law, and you know Malaika capitalised on this trait of her mother to charm me," he laughs recalling the days of his courtship. "She invited me to her place to introduce me to her parents. Her mother told me that Malaika had cooked chicken specially for me.

I thought, wow, she would cook for me at home too. So there was no going back on my choice for her. I loved the chicken, only to know after marriage that it was actually cooked by her mother!"

Malaika had several other ways to charm her already smitten hubby-to-be. "What attracted me to her was her least expectation and most giving nature. She understands when I am busy and does not force me to make time for the family when I can't," says Arbaaz.

Priorities right

Malaika says, "When he is busy shooting abroad, we go and join him there and that's how he stays near the family too," says Malaika, who divides her time between profession and personal life.

"It is all about balancing time by prioritising what is more important for you. People keep asking me how I extract time for family and career. I tell them that once you learn to give quality time to both, you will never regret having no time," she philosophises. And their son is one who keeps all engaged. "He is the apple of all eyes. Since he is the youngest at home, he keeps bullying everyone. All at home want to spend time with him, so wherever he is, the family naturally arrives," laughs the beaming mother.

The father chimes in. "Arhaan for me is a lesson in patience and safety. Now I never try to carry the baggage of work at home.

For instance, if my role in a film is too depressing, or if a film proves a failure at the box office, I never let it affect my personal life.

Suddenly my wife and child have become so important to me that I don't want them to suffer because of my mental condition," Arbaaz says, concern showing on this man of few words, especially when it comes to sharing facts about his personal life.

Entry of Malaika

The induction of Malaika in the Khan family, was "not much of a problem" when viewed from religion point of view.

"My father (writer Saleem of the Saleem-Javed duo) told me when I shared the topic with him, `Bring a woman who can be a good mother to your children, respect our family members and help in further uniting the family.' And Malaika has proved to be good bahu to them. She is a very important part of my family especially when it comes to lending emotional support," reveals a proud Arbaaz.

"Arbaaz could have been a frowning hubby if he wanted to, for sometimes I end up spending lot of time to fulfil professional commitments. But what makes him special is his capacity to give space and not behave like a typical husband. Also, before marriage we were in agreement about respecting each other's professional commitments," says Malaika.

And what are the plans for Arhaan, less than two years old?

"We will give him freedom to choose his profession, but one thing is sure, high education will remain my priority. I have seen everywhere that it helps and brings tremendous respect," Arbaaz states.

For now, their toddler is showing signs of becoming an engineer.

"He breaks open every toy handed over to him and examines its tiny equipment like a seasoned engineer," laughs the father.

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