A.R. Murugadoss' "Holiday - A Soldier Is Never Off Duty", a film on counter-terrorism, gives a brand new and exciting face to evil - Farhad, aka Freddy Daruwala, the winner of the Mr India World pageant and a well known fashion model. But he says he was hesitant in accepting the negative role and wants to play a "dashing man-of-the-world kind of hero".
Directed by A.R. Murugadoss and produced by Vipul Shah, the film starring Akshay in the lead role of an army officer came out last Friday. It earned about Rs.50 crore in four days of its release.
"'Holiday' was god-sent. It's a terrorist's role. And I must admit I was hesitant to do it. I didn't want to start on a negative note," said Freddy.
"But when Murugadoss sir and Vipul sir told me about the role of the terror mastermind, I was blown. The guy was an absolute normal working class type. Looking at him, you'd think he worked in a multi-national firm or as a computer engineer. They wanted to show how terrorism is nurtured in an absolutely normal working class atmosphere. I liked that. I decided to take it on. Not that I had much of a choice," he said.
Farhad is very clear on where he intends to position himself in the film industry.
"No more negative roles after 'Holiday'... My next role would be that of the leading man. I want to position myself as a good looking dashing man-of-the-world kind of hero.
"I want to be the regular guy who hangs out with friends on Saturday nights and is yet every woman's fantasy," said the actor who is married to Crystal, an American. She's a doctor and lives in the US.
"So ours is a long distance marriage. We met through our fathers who are friends and fell in love. We've been married for three years," he said.
Farhad says the distance serves his purpose well at the moment.
"Right now, I need to focus completely on my acting career. If she was here I wouldn't be able to give her the attention I want to. But she's coming here this week .We'll watch Holiday together. I am eager to know her opinion on my performance."
He feels that filmdom is not an easy place to survive for outsiders.
"When the role of terrorist was offered to me, I wasn't exactly spoilt for choices. Out here no one takes you seriously until you are from a film family, or you have big hits. I didn't qualify on either count," he said.
"I was nervous. Because I've gone through my period of false starts when I was knocking on producers' doors. They don't open doors or even a window for you out here just because you are a known face in the modelling world. I had to start from scratch," he added.
"I did an embarrassing little film which I don't want to name. I got roped into it because I had no choice. By the time the long delayed film got completed and released I had a certain name in the modelling world. They tried to cash in on my name by projecting me as a prominent part of the cast when, in fact, I had a cameo role. Luckily, the film came and went."
Farhad was also part of the ill-fated "Sher".
He trained hard to be prepared for the hand-to-hand combat with Akshay in the climax, but he is not into athletic acting at all.
"I know I won't be able to be as agile with my stunts as Vidyut Jamwal or Tiger Shroff. Besides, I am not keen on stunts and hardcore action scenes. I had to work very hard to prepare for my climactic fight in 'Holiday'," he said.