By Karan Shah
I shot many big ad campaigns for brands like Pal Zileri, Ed Hardy and so on after graduating from Anupam Kher’s institute, Actor Prepares. Now, eight years down the line, I have done over 300 commercials, not only in India, but in Pakistan, UK and Dubai as well.
I was going through a very bad day when my agent approached me with an opportunity to audition for the role in Zid. I was in no mood to go for the screen test, because an actor has to be in the right frame of mind to emote on camera. Because of which I thought of heading home instead, fortunately, destiny had its own plans and I decided to go for the audition. Unlike other auditions, I had to speak about myself for two minutes, we were neither given a a script nor were we assigned to improvise situations. Then Nalini Rathnam, my casting director asked me to run through lines from the film while she recorded it on camera. The third time around I was asked to perform with both my actresses to ascertain the chemistry between us. The fourth and fifth round required me to sing and dance as they wanted a complete package. When I met Anubhav Sinha he told me that he sees the makings of ‘a star in me’. I hope to meet his expectations.
Being a Mumbaikar I did my schooling from Maneckji Cooper. After completing my graduation in Business Administration from MMK college, I learnt editing, cinematography, direction, story telling, screen writing and then acting followed. I followed my heart after I saw five films consecutively at Chandan Cinema, Mumbai. These included Cinema Paradiso, Life is Beautiful, Mediterraneo and Bicycle Thief. Without having any water or food the entire day, I was awe-struck by the impact these films had on me and realised that I wanted to be a part of the film industry. Bollywood films such as Deewar, Sholay, Khaki, Mission Kashmir and Munna Bhai were my favourites and they made me want to act. So I trained as a film-maker which has helped me become a better actor. Then finally after graduating from Anupam Kher’s acting school, my confidence increased and I pursued acting seriously.
The most difficult shot for any actor is when you have to do nothing, and just go from point A to B in a certain amount of time. It is also difficult to catch the light correctly, so that you are not shadowed by objects which are facing the camera. This was my first shot when my character Rohan Achrekar, a crime reporter shifts to his new house with a backpack, stroller and a dog. Although, I became very comfortable and familiar with the location where we were shooting, I had to act like I was visiting this place for the first time.
Zid has taught me to speak up when I have any doubts. I have also learnt to listen to my inner voice which will lead me to my destiny.
There were quite a few stumbling blocks that I faced during the making of Zid. Being hydrophobic, the biggest obstacle I overcame was learning to swim as my role required it. Also, standing on the edge of a lighthouse was a huge feat since I suffer from acrophobia. I have shot in extreme conditions in Rajasthan and in Poland, but when you shoot in the rain for eight hours in a day, your body temperature fluctuates which drains your energy.
I have many role-models. I actually take the best qualities from all the actors and utilise it while acting. For instance I take inspiration from the way Shah Rukh Khan and Rajesh Khanna romance on screen to the way Amitabh Bachchan modulates his voice. I also admire Hritik Roshan and Aamir Khan’s method of acting and Salman Khan’s persona. I’m inspired by the intensity Dilip Kumar and Rishi Kapoor lent to their characters and their amazing dialogue delivery.
I have no idea where the road will lead me post Zid. I will go with the flow and take it as it comes.