He's young, smart and raring to go. We're talking about the spirited Tanuj Virwani, who's all set to star in PURANI JEANS. In this candid chat with Glamsham.com, he talks about working with mother Rati Agnihotri, being a star son, his bent for creative things other than acting and his plans to turn a director.
"Working with Kareena Kapoor is my ultimate dream"
How did you decide to get into acting?
I have always harboured an interest towards acting since a pretty young age. It's just that I was kind of overweight. I had glasses, used to stammer and couldn't speak properly. So there were a lot of things you don't necessarily look for in an actor. I took the path where I started assisting. I assisted on a couple of films. Once I got done with that, I worked on myself for about a year. I tried to turn a lot of my problems into positive things. And then when I was confident, I went and told my mom and dad that this is what I want to do. I knew that it was a very tough line to be in and required a lot of hard work, patience and determination. I wanted to pursue it and was prepared for everything.
Was it easy for you to become an actor considering your mother Rati Agnihotri is an actress?
No. A lot of people have this misconception. The only advantage I have is that my mom can pick up the phone and out of respect for her, someone will meet me and entertain me. But after that I still have to go through screen tests, auditions and the entire procedure, wait for a call back and then get chosen for a role. Even for PURANI JEANS, I gave three auditions before I was selected. So it's not simpler. In fact, I think it's more difficult for us. There are a lot of expectations that come. One thing I have in my favour is that if I were a girl, it would be a direct comparison with my mom. But still, there'll be comparisons made. 'Oh his mother was such a fine actress, she did so many wonderful films. What does he have?' It's very difficult for me to be as good as my mom, especially in my first or second film. I think it's a healthy challenge because you're always chasing that one sort of perfection.
You'll be seen with your mom in the PURANI JEANS. How was it working with her?
"Being a star son is a double-edged sword."
It was a superb experience. I was not conscience or nervous. I thought I would be but I wasn't because she was really chilled. We started shooting our scenes together. She even gave the clap for the first shot. So it was good. It set the ball rolling in a nice auspicious note.
Is she a very strict mother?
No, she's not. She's a very chilled-out mom. Both my dad and mom have raised me with discipline and have made sure that stay away from bad habits. But they are both pretty chilled-out otherwise.
What are the advantages of being a star son?
See, I don't know what the advantages are because I've never not been a star son. So I have no one to make a comparison. It's difficult for me to say. It's a double-edged sword. If you're good then you'll be raised to the sky and if you're not up to power, they'll throw you out. But if you have that fear of failure, then there's no way that you can succeed. You should give it your best shot. Sometimes, it'll work, sometimes it won't.
Apart from acting, what are your other interests?
I love playing a lot of outdoor sports. I am a huge cricket fan like most people in our country. I collect a lot of artifacts, figures and props for movies. I like playing the piano. Basically I like anything which lets you express yourself in a creative manner.
You say you like doing creative things. So do you plan to take up direction at a future stage in your career?
Not in the foreseeable future but at some point I would definitely like to try my hand at direction. I am happy running around trees for now.
We've heard that you have also made some short films? How did that come along?
I have actually made 14 short films. I've had an interest towards films and filmmaking since a very young age. I remember when I had my first video camera when I was eight or nine. I used to experiment a lot with it. We used to have this
toy car which used to run on remote control. I used to strap my camera onto that and just go around driving around the house. I've made models out of thermocol and blown them up and captured them on camera because I just thought it'll look cool. So I've had an interest towards this since a very young age. I also believe that if you are technically sound and if you understand lenses, camera angles and lighting, it makes your job as an actor a lot easier.
"I like the kind of work Alia is doing."
Was it awkward working with your alleged ex-girlfriend Izabelle Leite in PURANI JEANS?
Number one, I want to clear this once and for all that she's not my ex-girlfriend. The first time I met her was a month prior to the shoot. You tell me, how can I woo a girl, date her in a span of a month? That would be like a world record. Hence there was no awkwardness because we never dated.
Finally, which are the actresses you want to work with?
From the younger lot, I like the kind of work Alia is doing. I saw HIGHWAY and thought she was really wonderful in that film. I like Parineeti Chopra's spunk. I don't know if I will ever get the chance to, but I am a die-hard Kareena Kapoor fan since I first saw the promos of REFUGEE back in 2000. Working with Kareena Kapoor is my ultimate dream.
- By Pankaj Sabnani, Glamsham Editorial