The 49th International Film Festival of India honoured veteran screenwriter Salim Khan with a Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to Indian cinema.
Khan, 83, could not make it for the event. Second son and actor-producer-director Arbaaz Khan received the award on his behalf.
Before calling Arbaaz Khan on stage, veteran actor Kabir Khan narrated a story of a young man coming to Mumbai to become an actor. Bedi stated that the young man met a producer and told him his ambition. The producer told the young man he would have to wait for at least three years. During this period, he would suffer a lot, may have to even sleep on the pavement, wear shabby clothes, and sometimes survive on limited food.
When the aspiring actor asked what would happen after three years, the producer said, “After three years, you will get used to all this pain and suffering. It won’t hurt much anymore.”
Bedi then revealed that the aspiring actor was none other than Salim Khan.
He got a few small roles but Salim Khan truly found his feet in the industry as a screenwriter. He collaborated with Javed Akhtar and the duo gave several hits in succession over the span of a decade.
Arbaaz Khan called it a proud moment for the family for such a prestigious award being bestowed upon his father. The veteran sent his thanks through a text message which his son read out.
“I want to thank IFFI, the information and broadcasting ministry, and the government of India for honouring me with the Indian Personality – Lifetime Contribution to Indian Cinema award. I dedicate this award to Indore, my birthplace, Mumbai, my workplace, the film industry which has given me everything. I would also like to thank Javed Akhtar without whose contribution this would not be possible,” Arbaaz Khan read out the SMS.
“My father is an amazing man,” he said. “[Credit for] a lot of what we have achieved in our lives pretty much goes to him, because we just try to follow his life and his footsteps.”
The Dabangg (2010) and Dabangg 2 (2012) actor also gave a reminder to the audience of his father’s sense of humour.
“Apart from being an amazing writer and a great father, his wit has been amazing,” he said. “I’ll give you once instance. I was about 12 or 13, I was learning to sing and I was also going to Khar Gymkhana to play cricket. After a few days of practice, singing and playing cricket both, I went up to him and asked, what do you think I should become, a cricketer or a singer?“
The veteran screenwriter bowled a googly at his son.
“He said I think you should become a cricketer. I asked whether he had seen me play. He said no, but I have heard you sing,” said Arbaaz Khan, drawing a huge cheer and applause from the audience.