‘Bigg Boss 14’ contestant Eijaz Khan gets candid about the reality show, host Salman Khan, and more...

Actor Eijaz Khan’s exit from the Salman Khan-hosted reality show, Bigg Boss, came as a shock for his fans. The actor, who spent over 100 days in the house, had to put a brake to his dream of lifting the trophy for his prior work commitment. Currently, he is busy filming the second season of director Nagesh Kukunoor’s web series ‘City of Dreams’. During a break from the shoot, we caught up with the actor for a quick chat about the new project, Bigg Boss experience, and more. Excerpts from the interview:

You walked out of Bigg Boss for Nagesh Kukunoor’s web series. Couldn’t the shoot for the latter be postponed?

Nagesh Kukunoor is very particular about being realistic. Actually, we started shooting last January, and had to stall it in February. After that we kept postponing the shoot to next month. But, then I got a call for Bigg Boss, and I discussed it with the makers. They were very kind, so I said yes to the show, which was, sort of, a rebirth for me. Walking out was a hard choice to make, but I want my name to align with professionalism and integrity.

So what made you yes to show this time? Did the money part or fame that comes with the show play a role in decision-making?

I said yes this time, because I realised all the boundaries drawn to define me needed to be broken. I forced myself and said, ‘Eijaz, do it. Your limitations are not going to define you, break them’. And, this is what Bigg Boss also taught me. During the first week I couldn’t argue with a woman, because I never had the opportunity to do so in my family. But, here, I learned to respect them and still hold my own and put forth my opinion respectfully, and fight for it. This was my comeback moment to some extent.

Money is an important factor. I make money according to my need, and if the need increases then I have to make more money. Barkat usi mein rehti hai jitni jarurat hai...agar jarurat se jyada hota hai toh woh zaya jata hai. In these trying times if I am getting a lump sum, which could help me set up my family, why would I say no? These are not normal circumstances...

How will you sum up your Bigg Boss journey?

Let’s hope my journey is not over yet. I shall finish the shooting for ‘City of Dreams’ and go back to Bigg Boss. The makers can actually accommodate me. This is the first time in history someone has come out for professional reasons as these are extraordinary circumstances because of Covid pandemic. My journey was a roller coaster ride full of self-realisation. I will say whoever gets an opportunity to go inside the house, they should grab it. Honestly, I was getting calls for Bigg Boss for the last 10 years, but always said no because I felt I was not cut out for it.

Now that you are out, what do you miss most about the house?

There are so many things: The early morning wake-up call, making tea for everyone, completing daily chores and the peace. I also miss the challenges we had to meet and overcome. I miss almost all the contestants, we shared the same energy, even though we had different opinions.

Do you think Salman Khan has a soft corner for you?

I don’t know... You tell me. I hope he does. Twenty years back when I used to be a dancer, he was very sweet to me even then. When I was inside the house, he never went out of the way to praise me. He was always fair. I have immense respect for him. Even If I wasn’t in Bigg Boss house, and he would advise me on something, I would give equal importance to that. There is certain familiarity between us.

Television or OTT, what do you choose?

OTT has opened up a lot of new avenues with scope for a lot of work. There is good stuff on television too. But, I’m not drawing lines. I want to let life take its own course. I believe in god, and working hard so whatever happens will be for the best.

Do you think the show will open up new vistas on the work front?

Bigg Boss has indeed given me good exposure. I am sure makers have seen my personality through the show. Whatever I put in my acting job I superimposed it in this reality show and a lot of filmmakers have witnessed the varied colours of my personality. I hope, and pray to God, I get good offers now. I don’t mind doing negative roles. I don’t mind doing parallel roles. I don’t even mind doing one scene, but it has to be a powerful one and one that changes the show.

So, what exactly is happening at the work front?

Right now, ‘City of Dreams’ is my focus. We are filming for it in Mumbai in real locations. There are offers pouring in, but I can’t divulge details. I want to finish shooting for ‘City of Dreams’, and go back in the house.

In your long acting career, you also did films. But that part didn’t take off. What do you feel went wrong?

Nothing went wrong. I stayed out because I was going through personal issues. I had crossed 40, and realised I need to rectify the mistakes I made. I didn’t want to use work as an escape route. Instead, I wanted solutions for my problems, and focus on being happy. I didn’t want to wallow in self-pity. I didn’t want to think ‘Oh, I had a terrible childhood and everything is because of that’. I wanted solution, and hence took time off to step forward. The lockdown messed me up a bit, and Bigg Boss was in a way therapy for me.

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