"I would like to experiment, though it is very early in my career"
With the same people being splashed across the channels, portals and tabloids and to make the torture worse, repeating almost the same things (sprinkled with an overdose of holier-than-thou attitude), we thought of having a nice one-to-one with someone not heard of much.
Much to our relief, we heard about this newcomer from SWAMI, who held his own against a seasoned actor of the caliber of Manoj Bajpai. Yes, we are talking about Maninder, the ideal son 'Anand' from ace choreographer Ganesh Acharya’s debut film as a director, SWAMI. So here is the unassuming Maninder, unplugged!
Hi Maninder. First of all congratulations on across-the-board universal acclaim for SWAMI, even from the harshest critics. How does it feel?
Thank you. It feels great.
Unlike most newcomers, you were launched without much fanfare, any reasons for that?
See that was my issue. I wanted the sun to come out and let people / audience decide for themselves. I am very happy that it has been like that.
Any reason as to why the top choreographer of India, Ganesh Acharya, chose you from out of the blue?
When I met Ganeshji, we had a good conversation. He told me that most of the newcomers that he talked to wanted a commercial kind of a role. But he was looking for the boy-next–door kind of person, the face of simplicity that should suit the Marathi character in the movie. Maybe I resembled the character he had in mind!
Please go on…
After selecting me Ganeshji said, 'Now that I have decided on you, prove my choice right with your acting!'
Maninder, tell me, how do you rate your performance in SWAMI?
That is a difficult one! See I am a self critical person. I don't want to give you the stereotype response, but I feel there is always room for improvement.
Ok lets change tracks, tell me something about your background.
See I am from Agra (the Taj city) and was brought up there. We are from a middle class family. My father was into financing.
So what made you get into acting?
I’ll tell you. My father wanted to become a director. He came to Mumbai and went around searching for an opening. Unfortunately, due to family compulsions, he had to go back and look after the business that my grandfather had set up.
Getting back to SWAMI again, does your character in the movie, 'Anand', resemble you in any way in real life?
Abid, to tell you the truth. It was my father’s wish that I should become an actor. He wanted me to accomplish his unfulfilled dreams, something that he could not achieve. If you have seen SWAMI, you will realize that 'Anand' did the same for his parents!
Did you have any prior background in acting?
I was with Barry John for a year in Delhi, around 2001. I also did some theatre.
I was one of the winners at the Zee Cinestar Ki Khoj 2004 and apart from that I also won the Sahara Mr. Bollywood crown the same year.
But as such you had no exposure to the Mumbai film industry?
That is not the case. I assisted Mr. Harry Baweja for a few of his movies like, KARZ- THE BURDEN OF TRUTH and QAYAMAT, and that really helped me. It was great to be amongst big stars like Sunny Deol, Ajay Devgan, Suneil Shetty, etc.
What kind of characters are you looking for now?
I would like to experiment, though it is very early in my career but I would love to do a flamboyant character.
Are you into negotiation with anyone for future projects after SWAMI?
Talks are on with a few makers but nothing has been finalized as such.
It was indeed a nice feeling to talk to an unassuming and simple person, specially after having watched his heart warming performance in SWAMI.
- By Glamsham Editorial