By Eye TV India Bureau
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Excerpts of his interview:
Please tell us about your new film 'Lahore' and your role in the movie?
'Lahore' is based on sports. It is on kick-boxing. There are matches between two champions of India and Pakistan. And I play the Pakistani Champion in the movie. The character I am playing in the story suits my age and my looks as I have a sports background and am a sportsman.
Do you have a negative role in the movie?
No, it is not a negative role. The story is within the limits of games.
Have you been into sports?
Yes, I used to play cricket in my government college in Chandigarh. I had been the Vice Captain of my college team. At the college level, I was in sports a lot. I have not done kick-boxing so I had to do make extra effort to learn kickboxing. Since I know karate, it helped me a lot as both are almost similar.
Tell us about your other movies.
What do you like to play - the negative or positive character?
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How has the response in the South?
It is wonderful. I am about four to five years old in south and I have done a lot of movies there. Some of them have done good business. I have worked with top stars of the south. They have a very wonderful system and it suits me; they like me and I like working with them.
Do you need to prepare for your roles?
For the character in 'Lahore', the subject was such that one automatically starts preparing in one's mind and start picking up anything that will help him in the role. This type of exercise goes on for all kind of roles. This doesn't happen in films, though. But if one is working with a senior actor like Naseerudin Shah, one needs to be alert and prepared.
How was working with Naseerudin Shah?
Oh, it was wonderful. When we learnt acting, we used to practice Naseer's dialogues and here we worked with him. It was a very big moment for me.
Any dream role that you would like to play?
Well, I am still too far away from my dream role and have lot to do before. I am just getting some satisfaction from my roles in 'Lahore ','Warris Shah' and other regional movies.
Any role that is close to your heart from your previous movies?
I personally like my roles in Gardish, Sarfarosh, Indian and Hamara dil aapke paas. I have also done Indian in tamil also.
How did you get into films?
I was modeling in New Zealand. After some shows, I realized that acting is my first love. Since I had a house in Mumbai as my brother is here, I got the necessary lessons in acting classes to try my luck in movies.
Any memorable mome'LAHORE'?nt or any interesting incident during the making of
The interesting part is yet to be shot. But during the shooting in Lonavala, we normally don't get time to see the place. We just stay in the hotel, finish the shooting and come back. This time, we went inside 40-50 km and we found that Lonavala is certainly a big place. The experience of working in such a wonderful place was a memorable moment for me. That area is still in my mind.
What do you do in your free time?
I exercise during free time. I love to work out. In case I can stay home I love to spend time with my two kids.
How do your children react to your negative character in movies?
Well, they are grown up now and they understand everything. But, they used to feel very bad during their childhood. Anyway, I am doing some soft roles now, and they love my work.
Tell me about your next project.
After 'Lahore', " It Could Be You', 'Hote Hote Pyar Ho Gaya'. In fact, I am doing three-four movies in Hindi and three to four in the South. I believe in having six-seven movies at a time so that I have time to relax and also concentrate on every project.
Are you open to comedy roles?
I am very much interested and waiting for such a meaty role to come. I know I can handle it very well as I had very soft character to play in 'Run'.
How has been your journey in Bollywood?
Well, I had never been a cent per cent actor. When I came here I was very new. I hail from a transporter family. I have learnt a lot from my experiences and my mistakes. I believe I have a lot more to do to add to my work. With every new film and good work, I am doing better.
Where do you see Bollywood going five years hence?
We have already reached international standards. Technology- wise we can compare well with any country. Today, we have good directors, and with our movies like 'Krishna', 'Eklavya' 'Munna Bhai', we can say that we are not far behind.