- Advertisement -
Hi Aanaahad, congratulations on your growing collection of trophies…
(Laughs) Thanks. It’s still pretty hard to believe actually (laughs). It was very inspiring and encouraging. Of course the real award is when people appreciate the film.
To start off a career with something different: how was it?
It was a very good experience working on the film. I got to learn a new sport – kickboxing. I think it was a great place to start off my career.
What’s your character in the movie?
I play the Indian kickboxer in the movie – Veerender Singh aka Veeru. For the first time a contact sport has shown in an Indian movie with such authenticity.
Your role clearly demanded a lot work. What sort of preparations did you take for the film?
They needed someone who was an athlete. I had played some badminton in school. I also played some cricket at the state level. I learnt kickboxing for the film, did lots of physical training in other martial arts. I gave it my best shot…no stone unturned. Suffered plenty of bruises (laughs).
Your performance is being appreciated by a lot by the people…
Well it was due to a lot of help from the people in the movie. Sanjay-ji (director
“Respect for sports is short-lived in India…”
And winning so many awards and accolades right in your first film. How does success feel?
I’m pretty much same the Aanaahad I was before the movie was made and the thing that I’ll try do best is to have my integrity and honesty in place. Faaroq (Sheikh) saab once told me “Bete Aanaahad, imandar rehna” (Stay honest Aannaahad). It was a small thing for him to say but it made a huge impact on me.
Do you think that this movie will be able to strike a chord with the masses?
Even though it’s not a stereotypical Hindi masala film I think it’s very entertaining. Lots of people are under the perception that just because it’s getting so many awards at international festivals, it is an arty film. It’s definitely not an arty film. It’s a very slickly directed action movie where something totally new in terms of the authenticity of the action has been tried out. It’s a full family movie. There’s nothing that’d make you feel uncomfortable while watching it with your mom and dad or kids.
I don’t have a godfather in the industry, but I do come from a filmy background; we have been religious film-goers in our family for generations (laughs). I grew up in Delhi. And by the time I reached my higher secondary years I had decided I wanted to be an actor. I did some acting workshops with students of the National School of Drama and also some theatre.
What do you think of sports in India?
I think the respect for sports in India is very short-lived. Someone wins a medal, he becomes the hero. The next day he is forgotten. Also I think we seriously need to invest more in our sports infrastructure. I mean I had to go to China for my training, despite the fact that there’s so much talent here, just because of the lack of infrastructure it doesn’t get the grooming it deserves.
A lot of part of LAHORE was shot in the Lahore city. But it’s been denied a release in Pakistan. Your thoughts…
Yes it’s a sad thing. Whenever India Pakistan face-off in a sport it becomes a war zone like situation. I think we need to change that. When the Indian cricket team went to play in Pakistan after 14 years, the kind of hospitality that they received and similarly the way we showed our geniality to them – I think that should go on. We need to change our perceptions.
CHECK OUT: LAHORE – Movie Review
In the film industry, an actor you look up to…
I’m not saying because I did the film with him or because I’m in Kolkata. But I really like Sabyasachi-ji’s (Chakraborty) acting very much. He brings certain ruggedness to the role which I like a lot.
If it was totally up to you, what kind of a movie would you want to do next?
Uhm…I think I’d love to do a proper science fiction movie. In India we haven’t had many science fiction movies and maybe due to budget constraints or some other reason, the ones that have been made weren’t very great. Someday I’d like to do a science fiction movie that really amazes people.
So what’s next?
I am doing movie in Hong Kong with Tony Leung. But I didn’t sign anything else because I wanted LAHORE to be my first film. It’s a very special movie to me and always will be.