I cannot thank my stars enough, that I’m being launched by someone from whom I also took my first lessons as an assistant director. I was assisting Atul bhai (Atul Agnihotri) when he directed his first film, Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa and I’ve been with him since then. I realise that I am not good looking, and I don’t think that I can pull off the heroic characters. However, in O Teri, I could relate to my character, that of a media intern.
In order to experience the realities of life and learn from my mistakes, I needed to break away from the protective and comfortable environment in which I was brought up. So, I decided to move away from home and go to Los Angeles to do a crash course in acting. My relationship with Atul bhai is not limited to this film, but dates back to several years. I call his wife ‘baby maa’. She’s my mom’s best friend’s sister. It came as big shock to me, when I was told that I would be acting in O Teri, instead of assisting. It’s a completely different experience facing the camera. Initially, I found it quite jarring, but we had extensive workshops in Delhi. Pulkit (Samrat) was of great help since, he’s from Delhi, and has played a Delhi boy in two films.
According to me, the norm in our industry, is that newcomers should learn from their seniors. The film set is the playground, and having worked as an assistant director helped me immensely. Before I assisted Atul bhai in Dil Ne Jise Apna Kahaa, I was assisting JP Dutta sir in LOC Kargil, where I had the privilege to witness the performance of 32 actors. That experience really helps me.
It was a kissing scene. I requested my director Umesh Bisht, not to give me dialogues in my first shot. However, he gave me a Russian dialogue, because I have a Russian air hostess girlfriend in the film, who leaves me. So, my first shot was telling her, ‘I love you baby’ in Russian and giving her a goodbye kiss.
Although it may sound cliched, it has been a great learning experience. For instance, I cannot dance— I have two left feet— so while training, Remo sir (D’Souza) who is my godfather when it comes to dance taught me my moves. I figured out that ‘one two three four’ is not my cup of tea, what I need to understand is the lyrics and then just follow the beats. So, I guess, I’ve learnt acting through the course of this film.
I’d just say it was the wait. I’ve had my fair share of waiting, before I could face the camera.
Definitely, Salman Khan! I strongly believe that even if I end up being a cheap imitation of Salman Khan, it will be a victory for me. He’s quite a stalwart!