Zaheer Iqbal: Salman Khan said remove your t-shirt, make your body, I will make you a hero
Salman's latest protege Zaheer Iqbal on how star mentored him for five years before launching him in Notebook
It's not easy to impress Salman Khan, forewarns Zaheer Iqbal. However, the superstar's latest find is quick to add that if Khan notices potential, he is sure to give you the opportunity you deserve.
Making his debut with Notebook, Iqbal is aware that co-star Pranutan Bahl and he are among the privileged ones to have been mentored by the actor. "In the last six years, there must have barely been a day when I have not been with Bhai. He is the best thing that happened to me. I must have passed Galaxy Apartments every day, not realising that one day, I would be spending time with Salman Khan himself."
Though he comes from a non-filmi family, the youngster always aspired to find a footing in Bollywood. The dream turned into reality in 2013 when Khan - a friend of his father Iqbal Ratansi - spotted Iqbal at the latter's sister's wedding. "My friends and I had staged a skit, Latte With Lakhan, about my sister and her husband. After the skit, Bhai came up to me and told me to meet him in a few days. When I went to his place a few weeks later, he introduced me to his trainer and asked me to work out with him. A month later, he called me again. He told me, 'Remove your T-shirt. You make your body, I will make you a hero now."
Iqbal began his B-Town journey with Jai Ho (2014), where he served as an assistant director. It was only in 2016 that Khan zeroed in on the script of Notebook. "I would occasionally lose patience as it took over five years for the film to roll.
But Bhai told me the end result will be sweet." He adds that his mentor continues to look out for him even now. "Once, he called me at 2 am and asked me to come to his place immediately. I rushed out of bed and headed there to find Bhai sitting with a top producer."
From Bhai, to Bollywood
Warina Hussain, who forayed into B-Town with Loveyatri, is one of Khan's latest finds.
Given his friendship with Mohnish Bahl, it isn't surprising that the actor has taken his daughter Pranutan under his wing.
Soon after Arpita tied the knot with Aayush Sharma, there was chatter of his impending B-Town foray. The superstar launched his brother-in-law with Loveyatri last year.
Aditya Pancholi's son Sooraj and Suniel Shetty's daughter Athiya made their Bollywood debuts with Khan's production, Hero. The superstar went behind the mic for one of the songs.
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