WELL DONE ABBA gets its commercial release on 26th March. How do you feel before a film comes out?
At the moment I’m feeling very anxious and excited! Every time your film’s releasing you feel the same way. You have a clear two point agenda. A) You hope the critics like it and B) You hope audiences come out having enjoyed your film. That whole gamut of feelings is the same with every film. You focus on the Friday opening and then after that whether it will sustain on Monday and Tuesday. Every film you have the same thoughts, the same problems the same confusions in your head.
What is your ritual on the Friday the film hits the box office?
I go out and watch the film with the audience and try to sit back and enjoy the whole process. I try to disconnect from the film as my job is done by then. And after the film comes out your friends, family, people you haven’t spoken to in
‘My character in WELL DONE ABBA is a symbolic take on the youth of India today’
Tell us about your role in the film?
In the words of Shyam Benegal, he wanted my character Aarif to be a symbolic take on the youth of India today. He is a young village boy from Andra Pradesh who speaks in Dakani, a certain dialect used in that region. He’s a progressive Muslim boy working on two jobs as a garage mechanic and a typist at the high court. He’s actually an orphan so he’s always trying to fit in and win people over with his enthusiasm as he doesn’t know where he belongs. This is what happens with Abba (Boman Irani) when my character falls in love with his daughter Muskan (Minissha Lamba), and tries to decide what he has to do to convince Abba to give the hand of his daughter. He also comes up with some of the solutions to the problems in the film, using his knowledge and education to fight for justice.
You have two major releases with Shyam Benegal’s WELL DONE ABBA, to be followed by I HATE LUV STORIES from Dharma Productions. Is your career about to sky rocket with such films?
WELL DONE ABBA has already started to do that as we’ve gone round some of the international film festivals. Looking at Karan Johar’s past record, his films do become box office successes, as they excite the audiences. As an actor I feel my work has gone to another level already from just working with Shyam Benegal or in a Dharma Productions film. So I feel my career is already moving on to greener pastures, and the outcome is just a small aspect I guess.
(Steven Baker is a Hindi film journalist and a post graduate in Indian cinema)