July 17, 2010 9:50:53 am
Americas most wanted terrorist,Osama Bin Laden,had quite a colourful and sporty childhood. An average student,he dabbled in theatre,was fond of tennis and swimming and was often scolded by his father for his love for cricket. Oh,and he didnt grown up in the hilly terrain of Afghanistan,but in Arjan Vihar in the heart of Delhi and later,in the cosy suburb of Noidas Sector-25 .
Sounds bizarre? Well,thats actor Pradhuman Singh for you,who plays the part of Osama Bin Ladens look-alike in Abhishek Sharmas directorial debut Tere Bin Laden,which released on Friday. Its a situational comedy,not a biopic on Osama, says the 25-year-old debutant,whose identity was kept under wraps ahead of the films release.
The much-anticipated film,which is a humorous take on discrimination against South Asians,particularly Pakistanis,has Singh playing the role of a look-alike of the Al-Qaeda terrorist Laden,who is roped in by a Pakistani journalist to help him immigrate to the US by making fake Osama videos and selling it to news channels. Unfortunately it also puts him on the security radar of the White House.
In the film Singh speaks fluent Pakistani Punjabi,which is quite distinct from his usual North Indian dialect. I know Punjabi well because I studied in Patiala,but this particular accent required work. I watched Pakistani theatre videos online for over 10 months and Ali Zafar,who plays the role of the journalist and the assistant dialogue writer,Mohammad Ahmed helped me with the pronunciations, says Singh.
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Besides Singh,the film also marks the debut of Pakistani pop icon Ali Zafar and features veteran theatre actor Barry John in it.
Singh,who quit his job with Wipro to pursue acting,finished his schooling from Naval Public School and Yadavindra Public School,Patiala and went on to pursue hotel management from the Institute of Hotel Management,Pusa. He followed it up with a correspondence course in commerce,dabbling in theatre along the way.
Abhishek and I were neighbours and I would act in his plays. I also assisted him in his various projects including documentaries and plays. We lost touch when he moved to Mumbai, says Singh.
It was in 2007 that the two got back together. Abhishek said he was making a film and wanted me to be a part of it. I thought he wanted me to assist him as usual, he chuckles. Over a dinner at Sharmas house,the two discussed the project. My jaw dropped when I heard about the role. I didnt want to get in to a controversy,but it was such a funny script that after a screen test I gave in. We began shooting in 2008, he says.
Singh says he kept his family in the dark about the project till the promos released. The concept was so different,I was sceptical about their reaction. It was only when the trailers hit the screen in January that I told them about it. Surprisingly,despite the initial shock they were quite happy, he says.
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