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August 24, 2000
Once again... with attitude!
Shadows dog his every footstep.
Shadows he is desperately trying to come out of.
But a larger-than-life actor for a father, a not-so-illustrious past and a failure are easier read than shed.
His debut film,
He rates himself a six on a scale of 10 in acting. Don't believe it? He suggests you watch
Shadows he is desperately trying to come out of.
But a larger-than-life actor for a father, a not-so-illustrious past and a failure are easier read than shed.Puru Raaj Kumar will vouch for it. Quite vehemently.
His debut film,Baal Bramhachari, opposite Karisma Kapoor was a washout. He might have been mentioned by dint of the fact that he was a star son. Then he was involved in an accident that he would rather not talk about.
Then cameHamara Dil Aap Ke Paas Hai. And Puru Raaj Kumar seized the chance to shut his critics up, with a negative role against bigwigs like Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Sonali Bendre. He also has a prominent role in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir along with Hrithik Roshan and Sunjay Dutt.
He rates himself a six on a scale of 10 in acting. Don't believe it? He suggests you watchHamara Dil Aap Ke Paas Hai when it releases tomorrow. rediff.com's Nidhi Taparia realised, as she spoke to Puru, that he's not one for calling a spade a bulldozer! Excerpts:
Why the long gap between Bal Brahmachari and HDAKPH?
After my father's death, it was more important for me to hold my family together. I was too busy looking after them to act or even run around trees. So my career took a backseat. It was too high a price, and I refused to pay it. Ya, there have been movies that were meant to take off, which didn't. But, luckily, things have now taken a turn for the better.
Aren't you worried that playing a villain in HDAKPH is going to slot you in a negative image?
I am here to act. So what if I was launched as a hero? I am willing to experiment. I'm not worried about being slotted.
Actually, what excited me was the premise of the character. I like the fact that he is doing what he thinks is right. He does what he does out of love for his brother. And he has a nut loose somewhere -- he's a kharkhopdi...! That's exciting.
I've had time to get used to the basic idea of the person that Satish Kaushik wanted me to play. Also, it's different from my role in Mission Kashmir, in terms of the look, the persona, the dialogues, the character... So I think it's good that I'm getting to do different kind of roles.
How was it working in a Boney Kapoor movie? Didn't the fact that Anil Kapoor might walk away with the honours bother you?
I was apprehensive, yes. But I had faith in my director.
Besides, Anil Kapoor is a great guy. And, I think, very misunderstood. Likewise with Satish Kaushik. People say he is arrogant, he has an attitude. But I think he is very sensitive. It's been fun working with the two of them.
This movie was wrapped up in one schedule -- start to finish in a couple of months.
What about Sonali and Aishwarya?
Nice, nice! *Smiles*
Are we supposed to read between the lines?
It's just one word. If you want to read into it, go ahead!
You said you had to get used to the character. Did you have to work hard?
I play a Haryanvi Chowdhry who will do anything for his brother. Dubbing was a major pain. The dialect, the intonation had to be just right, because I had to speak very fast. That required working on.
There were times I'd get stressed out -- when I couldn't the emotion right for a particular scene, for instance. I would be harsh with myself. Satish helped me there. He'd ask me to relax and let my creative abilities take over instead of pressurising myself.
So I'm working on not pressurising myself, too!
What do you want the audience to feel for you when they walk out of the movie?
If they sympathise with my character, great. If not, it's fine. But I sure hope they think that I am a good actor.
How do you deal with comparisons with your father?
It's bound to happen. I don't let it bother me.
I don't like complicating my own life and adding unnecessary pressure into it. It's going to be tough, I realise that.
My take is, I don't let people who say complimentary or uncomplimentary things bother me.
Besides, there aren't any roles like the ones in my father's time anymore. No dialogues written for that style of delivery. And I don't harbour any illusions of stepping into his shoes. I totally understand and sympathise with what Abhishek is going through, with all those comparisons with Amitabh Bachchan.
If your father were around, would things have been different?
Yes, definitely. Having him would be a sort of protection. I'd also have him to turn to, ask for help and advice, like which movies should I sign? Am I taking the right decision or not?
It's taken me this long to get comfortable with people around me, to get used to being my own self. I'm also working on developing a thick skin. Also, I am not someone who will go out of my way to be humble or nice to people.
I have a certain attitude...What's wrong with having an attitude?
I do want work, but not at any cost. I've always maintained that. I don't delude myself -- if Vidhu Vinod Chopra does not sign me up in a lead role, it's not because of the person I am, it's what the box office demands. It's not about me. It's about the film.
What kind of roles are you looking forward to doing?
As an actor, I want to do everything. Act with all my peers and contemporaries. I want to be part of interesting movies with different directors, whether it is a David Dhawan, a Subhash Ghai or a Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
My friends tell me I'd make a good, hard-hitting police officer and that I have a flair for comedy. Sure, I'd like to experiment.
Right now, I have Desh with Mamta Kulkarni, Aap Jaisa Koi with Sharbani Mukherjee and Eent Ka Jawab Pathar on the floors where I am playing leading roles.
Do Fridays give you sleepless nights?
Sure, I get butterflies in my stomach!
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