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SHAAPIT is about to release…what are your feelings?
Oh, definitely the jitters have begun. I signed this film on 6th August 2008 and have been a part of it from the past one and a half years. My entire 2009 was dedicated for this film only. Everybody has worked very hard for the film. I don’t know about Vikram Bhatt and Shwetha Aggrawal but I am surely very anxious. At the same time, I am very confident about the film.
Tell us something about your role in the film.
I play the character of Aman Bhargav and Shwetha – the female lead in the film – plays the character of Kaya. Aman and Kaya are in love since their childhood days. They have spent their school and college days together. Finally, when Aman proposes Kaya for marriage they both get to know that Kaya’s family is ‘shaapit’ and that the daughter of the family cannot get married. The story of the film revolves around the journey of Aman and Kaya and how they deal with the curse which Kaya has and will they succeed in ridding her of this curse.
Why did you choose a rather unconventional role for your debut instead of doing a romantic hero role?
“Vikram Bhatt is chilled out and funny”
What kind of preparations went into doing this kind of a role?
I actually slogged a lot mentally as well as physically for the role. When I went for my first look test, I was 20 years old and was supposed to look heroic. So I had to meet that challenge. Vikram also asked me to work on my body and look fit for the role. There are two looks of Aman in the movie. Mentally also I had to work hard as I was put into a lot of challenges in my first film itself. The film has a lot of action scenes; we dealt with a lot of cables, lot of tables and chairs were thrown on me. So physically, in that way, it was quite challenging.
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How much do you relate yourself to the character of Aman?
Aman is very different from Aditya. Aman is a very serious kind of guy whereas I am very energetic and chirpy. Aman is very quiet and unlike me, he is very stable and to get that stability in me I took a lot of time and I had to work really hard.
How was it working with Vikram Bhatt, who is known to have mastered the horror genre?
I think I am very lucky not just because I got to work with Vikram but also because I got to work with him in my very first film. It was a great learning experience and I had a lot of fun working. I was aware of the fact that it was going to be a very exciting film and it will be a great learning experience. But what I did not expect was that I will enjoy so much while working on the film. I had no idea that Vikram is so chilled out and funny. When we started working on the sets, we used to interact a lot and I learned a lot from him. Gradually we became very good friends. He is very good with newcomers as he has worked with so many newcomers as well as so many established actors like Amitji, Aamir, Akshay. He has a lot of patience, considering that in this film he was dealing with three newcomers – me, Shwetha and Shubh Joshi.
Why did you choose SHAAPIT as your debut movie?
I was getting a lot of offers. I got very confused and finally I questioned myself as to what I wanted to do next. I was already doing television at that time and I knew that films were ultimately going to be my next step. Because I am a cinema lover myself, I wanted to be a part of a film that would excite me, a film for which I shoot for as many days but each day I should look forward to something new and exciting. SHAAPIT is exactly that kind of a film. Everyday it was a new experience. We all know how good Vikram is in scaring his audience. We all had fun in getting scared in films like 1920, RAAZ etc. I would also like to mention one thing that Vikram has surpassed all his horror films. I think this is his scariest movie. I think this is the scariest Hindi movie of all time with a great script. So that is why when I heard the script for the first time I decided that this will be my first film.
You were supposed to make your debut with a film titled HAMARI JAAN HO TUM opposite Soni Razdan’s daughter. What happened to that film?
That was long time ago when I was 16 or 17. They just met me and discussed everything but nothing materialized. But I think I am fortunate that they thought of doing a film with me and in future also I would love to work with them.
It’s been fantastic. I sang my first song when I was 5 for the film AKELE HUM AKELE TUM. Now I am 22 years old and I have been working continuously for seventeen long years. Music was my first interest because both my dad and mom belong to this field. I used to accompany my dad for the recordings and my parents knew that I was inclined towards music. I started my musical training with Kalyanji Anandji. I used to perform with them and through their show ‘Little Wonders’, I performed at Filmfare awards where Subhash Ghai noticed me and he signed me for PARDES. And then there came a phase when my parents decided that I should lead a normal life. I decided to continue with my studies and then went to London where I studied music. I was offered ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ when I was 19. I did all the three seasons for them and we had a lot of fun. The show increased my fan following and from the second season onwards I started getting phone calls for acting in films. Surprisingly I was offered more acting roles than singing. It was very ironic as I was doing a musical show. Then finally SHAAPIT happened and the rest is history.
Right since your ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ days, you have been quite an eye candy amongst the girls. How do you react to it?
I am very fortunate that I have a fan following. At this age when people appreciate, you get a lot of encouragement to do even better. I am lucky that people have accepted me and when you are accepted you get creative freedom to perform independently. So I think whatever I am and whatever I will become in future, all the credit goes to my fans.
I am reading scripts but I have not zeroed in on anything. I am doing Vikram Bhatt’s next film which is going on the floors from May or June. I was getting many offers from television but television audience is completely different from films’ and I didn’t want to mingle the two. I would not say I am not getting the right scripts; I am just not getting too many scripts, which I think is good.
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How was it working with Shwetha?
I had a lot of fun working with her and she has become a very good friend of mine. Our film was more like a picnic. After working seriously for eight to nine hours, we used to have fun.
Any incident that you remember from the film?
The first incident which I remember is the library sequence where for the first time we dealt with cables. Is film mein mujhe bahut maar padi hai, maine bahut pita hua debut kiya hai. I was beaten with chairs, tables?that was our first proper horror sequence. The climax of our film was shot over 17 days which required me to look bad, beaten up and stinky. So, for that particular sequence, I did not take bath for nearly 17 days. It wasn’t something that one would like to repeat again and again though. When I saw the climax, I thought that this whole effort gave that added touch to the entire thing. So, I am very happy that I did not bathe for 17 days. Proud not to have bathed (laughs).
Do you think it was easier for you to get the film being a celebrity son?
No. See there are different kinds of celebrities such as singers, musicians and actors. There are some who are very famous and have loads of money and then there are others who are moderately rich. My father has worked really hard to reach the stage of life where he is right now and I am very proud of that fact. I am very sure that if I wanted to pursue music as a career then he would have been a lot of help. But I don’t think that being from the music fraternity would make everything so easy. Like they say if you are a doctor and your son is a doctor then if you go to an operation theatre and they will give you a knife and say ‘operation kijiye’. You have to learn a lot and I think you do get a chance to do what you believe in. It is what you do of that one chance. And that chance does not come with a pre-warning, it just comes anytime. My parents’ help has been very instrumental, their support and trust and encouragement has really helped me in life.