A. Let's be fair. Jannat was an out and out Emran film. I am quite happy to have such a meaty role. As for publicity, the producers have every right to plan their own marketing strategies. It does hurt a bit, but then I take such things with a pinch of salt.
Q. You are also anchoring IPL matches…
A. Cricket and entertainment are the two main religions of India and the Indian Premier League is the fusion of both. I did lots of research on the sports before joining in. Having said that I didn’t mean I am a cricket expert, my job is to lay people's questions before the experts’ panel.
Q. What about purist allegation that celebs should not be a part of cricket?
A. This is a world wide sports phenomenon. Some of the major NBA club owners are film stars. Similarly in Europe, well known football stars have celeb wives.
Q. Your take on match fixing which also was the theme of Jannat.
A. Such people should be shot dead for they play with sentiments of millions of fans. But I have no issues with betting. The government should legalize this practice and put limits on the amount so that people can bet according to their income levels.
Q. Your future TV projects?
A. I have has no qualms about doing more TV. But I will never do a saas bahu.
Q. What went wrong with your debut show Virrudh?
A. I was never happy with Virrudh. This Smriti Iraani show's TRPs never rocked and it soon wound up. As an actor, I need to get into the character skin. In dailies you don't even get time to learn your dialogues. Such working conditions are not for me.
Q. So what kind of stuff would you want to do on the idiot box?
A. I would love to act in Indian adaptations of hit international shows such as 24 and Lost. As for reality shows I have already taken part in Sab TV's Paise Bhari Padege. I will not mind doing more such shows, provided they don't insult my intelligence.
Q. In hind sight do you regret doing Ek Se Mera Kya Hoga and Bold?
A. Yes, but you got to understand that I was very new in tinsel town then and did not know what is what. Please, let's look ahead rather than talking about the past.
Q. What’s next in Bollywood?
A. I am looking forward to Mumbai Cutting and Shaadi Ke Side Effects. The former is a festival type film, something like Dus Kahaniyan. On the other hand, I have a interesting cameo in Shaadi Ke Side Effects, which is based on the 7 year itch.
I am looking for performance oriented roles. My ultimate aim is to play a lead role. This is not easy in an industry which thrives on family connections. Since I hail from an academic background, I am prepared for the long haul.
Anil Merani (SAMPURN)