Actor Zayed Khan turns 42 on Tuesday. He’s looking forward to a fresh start with the upcoming announcement of his comeback project. During an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, the actor revealed the secret of his body transformation, thoughts before his comeback, lessons from the past and his equation with Hrithik Roshan, Sussanne Khan and Arslan Goni.
Will you count calories on your birthday too?
Instead of counting calories, I count hard work. It’s very important to realize that counting calories and dieting can take a toll on you. Your body is your temple. I train 3 ½ hours a day. I get some of my best ideas while working out. I enjoy life and am healthy. I enjoyed eating out and going out with friends to have a good time, but sometimes you reach a saturation point. I have children, they are my biggest project, I enjoy spending time with them.
Honestly, I’ll have to take care of my body when you get old. You can’t have butter chicken and biryani every day. It’s all about balance. I’m on a strict diet. I follow the intermediate fast with two meals a day – from 8:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. In between I eat nothing but coffee or juice. I train on an empty stomach. I eat healthy food and on the weekends I can eat pizza and still have my six pack abs.
When will you announce your comeback project?
All I can tell you is that I just finished a film. It’s all done and many OTT platforms are in talks to finish it. It won’t be in cinemas, but unfortunately I can’t say much about the film yet. I had a great time doing it.
Is it Sanjay Khan’s project?
No it is not. I am grateful to my friend Aseem Merchant for the film. He came to my house and said, ‘Man, why don’t you do films?’ I was just saying that I would like to spend some time with my children.
I was reading Amitabh Bachchan’s autobiography in which he wrote about how he came home from work and apparently Abhishek Bachchan couldn’t recognize him because he wasn’t at home enough. It made me feel like it was real. If I’m not there when my children are starting up, what does that say about me? I realized that I just need to spend more time with my family. Now that they’re all grown up I think it’s time I got back into business. Is it a good move or a bad move? I do not know. I love movies and my family. If I have to choose between them, all I can say is that you will have your children for life and movies will always be there. If you are with the right people, your film career will take off again.
In most cases, female actors are seen choosing family over careers…
Between my wife and me, sometimes I’m the mom and sometimes she’s the dad. I see no difference. It’s a partnership. Honestly, a lot of people stigmatize it and call it a girl’s job, but I grew up with three sisters. I know that there is no difference between man and woman when it comes to the pursuit of happiness and success. All of these things are man-made, no pun intended.
Has anything changed for you over the years?
Overburdening yourself with things like how much stuff you have in your closet, cars you own, or calling yourself the best won’t do any good. I’ve lost attachment to materialistic things I think. My mother always told me: “Love something that loves you back”. I grew up with a perception that I don’t necessarily believe that you have to be in shark-like attack mode and kill people with your performances.
You refer to Hrithik Roshan as your mentor. Do you exchange tips with each other?
Always! We are human beings who do not constantly publicize what we are talking about. I’ve known Hrithik since I was 10 years old. When you know people for so long, you know them by heart. Whether you speak or not every day, when you meet you know exactly where to pick it up. I love him from the bottom of my heart. He is one of the most generous and disciplined people I have ever met. He was always the kind of brother I can speak my heart to. He gives the best advice a brother can give. He is honest, critical and sincere. You just can’t ask for more. My trainer Satya also helped me on my journey. My wife Malaika is like the wind beneath my wings. It doesn’t take much to take off.
Age is only a number. How valid is it when it comes to making a comeback in the industry?
Everyone has regrets. People might say they see potential in me, but I don’t have all the answers. I’ve done everything, either for my family or for the people I love. I have never hurt anyone but myself. Have I grown up and learned my lesson? Yes, of course. No one is nice to you unless you’re for sale, that’s the nature of the jungle. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be nice to others and obnoxious. I must pick myself up and dust myself off, carry on with dignity. I am here like everyone else. Money talks and wealth whispers. Success is like an accident that you have to survive. Just because you have it doesn’t mean it’s yours. You have to grow a thick skin.
(Also read: Zayed Khan Recalls When He ‘Didn’t Have Any Money’
How would you describe Fardeen Khan’s body transformation?
I’m so proud of him. Fardeen has been through a lot in life. Coming out in this way and accepting himself and daring to face life speaks volumes about his character. I am deeply moved to see how he humbled himself that I think only life can teach you.
You were recently spotted partying Susanne Khan and Arslan Goni in Goa. what do you think about her
At my age, I find it most important to let people be and live. Whether the person is your brother, sister, or friend, just let them be who they want. It’s also important to be there when they need you. As for Arslan, I think he’s a lovely boy. He has a sweet nature. And if that makes both of them happy, who am I to say anything? At the end of the day, it’s all about what makes you happy. While we judge very quickly, many people speak the talk but don’t walk the path.