Q. Which genre will Mission Istanbul be fitting the most?
A. If you have seen Shootout At Lokhandwala then I would say that it has much more action than that film. Appu has really made a beautiful film and has put in a lot of hard work in it. I hope audiences love this film. I have a lot of expectations with this movie.
Q. Did Apoorva approached you for the film or vice-versa?
A. I was shooting for the climax of Jodha Akhbar in Rajasthan and the film’s action director Ravi Diwan is very close to Suniel Shetty. Ravi came to know that Suniel and Apoorva are on the look out for some young guy and recommended me for the character. At that time I had grown beard according to the need to Sharifuddin’s character and they were having difficulty seeing my young face. Luckily I had some of my photos without the beard. After seeing those pics they immediately selected me for the role. They were also impressed seeing my action certificate. The happiest thing for me is that
Q. Tell us about your character in the film.
A. I am playing the character of a Turkey business tycoon named Gajni Hakkan. At a very young age Gajni gets millions worth ancestral property and he, too, adds to this property a lot. He runs a news channel. According to him with money and power it’s possible to get anything in this world. He maybe a silent character but at the same time he is very shrewd and arrogant.
Q. How was it working with Apoorva?
A. He is a very nice person by heart and I treat him like my big brother. Whenever I am in need of any type of guidance I always consult him and he also gives me the right solution for it. He never considered me to be an amateur actor in front of other actors. And this is one characteristic which earns any person respect. I don’t know whether we would work together again or not in the future but my respect towards him will always be the same. From my side, I would love to work again with him. Every scene he shot was mind blowing. I think his type of directors can bring out the best in any actor.
Q. How was it working with other actors of the film?
A. It was nice working with everyone especially I became very good friend to Zaida and Shabbir. On our off days, too, we have to be together. We had a lot of fun on the sets as luckily we had a lot of scenes together in the film.
Q. Like in Jodha Akhbar here, too, you would be seen in a negative character…
A. The fact is I always wanted to be launched as a solo hero and Ashutosh, too, realized it. He was a little hesitant before offering me Shariffudin’s character. But my dad made me understand the way as so many new actors are entering Bollywood, it would be difficult for me to prove myself. Dad further explained that due to big names like Hrithik and Aishwarya associated with Jodha Akhbar at least viewers would come to theatre and henceforth be able to see your work. This is why I chose to do that character. But a lot of my scenes were been edited in the film as the film was too long. Unfortunately the reason behind my character been negative also got cut while editing.
Q. Tell us about your look in Mission Istanbul…
A. If you have seen the promo then you would know that I have been given a look of a clean-shaved man with short hairs. The style of all the actors has been planned by Falguni Thakur. But I would like to give all the credit to Appu. Even before film went on the floors Appu had sketched the look of the characters in his mind. I am very thankful to Appu for thinking such a look for me as even I wouldn’t have thought of such a brilliant look.
Q. Did you have gone through any homework for your character?
A. No. I didn’t do any homework for this character. But, yeah, since in Jodha Akhbar I was to look like a Moghul, I had to put on some weight. Again for this character I needed to look slim and I sweated out 15 kilos for it in two months. So, before taking on the script I worked on my physical features. After reading the script I realized that there’s a lot of difference between Shariffudin and Gajni’s character. Shariffudin neither had money and power but Gajni has everything.
Q. Jodha Akhbar was called to be Hrithik and Aishwarya’s film while Mission Istanbul is believed to be Vivek Oberoi’s movie. Don’t you feel yourself side-lined?
A. See, everyone wants to be in the centre of attraction. Through Mission Istanbul I got the opportunity to display my acting talent and that’s the reason I consider this film to be my career starter. Apoorva belongs to those kinds of directors who give equal coverage to stars as well as other characters of his film. Now everyone isn’t lucky to have a dream launch but I believe a door is present for everyone and each has to walk through their respective doors.
Q. In Bollywood, description of a hero is something different and people feel that you don’t fit into it…
A. I don’t know about the present scenario but I am sure after five years from now things are going to be changed. There have been many actors in the past who with their own different style succeeded in proving their acting talent and also earned a huge fan following. I am sure one day I would prove those people wrong who don’t consider me as having a hero material.