In the action-drama ‘Desi Kattey’, I am playing one of the two boys, whose name is Pali. The two kids start working in a pistol factory and learn shooting skills. Suniel Shetty’s character, Major Rathore, spots a spark of potential in the duo and gives them training to become sharp shooters. But during the course, Jay’s (Bhanushali) character walks the right path, while I choose to become a gangster in Kanpur, where the film is set. That’s where the rift is created between the two friends. My character, Pali, is extremely passionate about the relationships in his life – be it love or friendship among others.
I have known our director, Anand Kumar, since quite sometime now. He knew that I am a lot into martial arts and action. So when he was working on his last project, ‘Zilla Ghaziabad’, he called me over and said that he has heard about my action skills. He called me to his office one day and discussed a romantic script, which I wasn’t very keen to do. I don’t want to play a lover boy on screen. I want to be seen as a hardcore guy, which can give me a chance to show off my martial art skills.
Later, he said that there is another script, which was reserved for established actors, but he narrated it to me anyway. After a few hours, he suddenly said that I was the right person to play Pali and that I am on board. I gave a few screen and look tests for the project at a later stage. What really interested me the most about this character was the fact that it had several layers and shades to it and was extremely complex.
I was born and brought up in Dubai. My parents were based there and post school studies, I shifted to New York, where I studied for three and a half years. My initial choice of studies was sports physiotherapy, since I was a professional athlete. But while studying, I felt like opting for a three month film-making course and a one month acting course. And I liked it so much, that I later opted for degree courses in both. I came to Mumbai in 2005 and started assisting on films like ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd’, ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’, ‘Gandhi My Father’ among others.
For the first scene, I had to smoke a beedi with Jay. More than the first day jitters, it was a hilarious moment, because it was a crane shot and my pants tore (laughs). That broke the ice for me and there was no nervousness in front of the camera any longer. I also got along well with Sashey Agha and Suniel sir.
The biggest thing I have learnt is that homework is extremely important. For any new actor, preparation is necessary, at least for your personal satisfaction as an artist. You need to get everything right before facing the camera for the final shot. Another important thing for me was perseverance.
For someone who has been living in Dubai and later lived a life in South Mumbai, playing a rough character didn’t come easy. Working on getting the character traits right was a challenge and that is exactly what excited me the most.
There are several of them, which includes my uncle (Vinod Khanna) who has been a huge source of inspiration, especially because of his work in films like ‘Dayavaan’, ‘Mera Gaon Mera Desh’ among others. Personally, I also look up to Bruce Lee, Sylvester Stallone and Shah Rukh Khan, because of their respective life journeys have been very inspiring.
I am in the process of listening to a few scripts and have already confirmed one, which is a solo hero project. It’s a fast-paced, out-and-out international action avatar. You will see me do some insane stunts and the project starts rolling by the end of this year.
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