Model and television actor Prashant Chawla on making an unconventional debut as an unapologetic,suave homosexual in Jhootha Hi Sahi.
I play an unapologetic,suave gay Uday in Jhootha Hi Sahi,who is looking for a partner. He owns a gay club in London and dates guys. Every week,he takes a new man to meet his friends and seeks their approval. Most of these guys end up creating havoc in Udays and his friends lives. What I like about my character is that hes not a stereotypical gay as shown in Hindi films. Hes not a pansy or cheap but very confident and clear about the fact that he wants to move in with a guy.
I was acting in a serial,Waaris,wherein director Abbas Tyrewalas mother-in-law was playing my grandmother. She told me that Abbas was auditioning for a role in his forthcoming project and suggested that I should go for it. After the auditions,I asked for the screenplay so that I could study the character.
Im a chartered accountant from Delhi and worked with Ernst & Young for some time. Since I was keen to do modelling,I came down to Mumbai and got selected as a finalist in the Grasim Mr. India 2004 contest where I won the Best Smile award. Later I was selected by the Sahara Group to complete an acting course with a professor from the National School of Drama,Rita Ganguly. Finally I shifted base to Mumbai in early 2005 and started doing a lot of ad campaigns. I have appeared in around 50 ads for Sony,Amway,LG,Airtel,ING Vyasa,ABN Amro Bank,Horlicks and Parachute amongst others. Later I acted in television soaps like Teen Bahuraniyan,Waaris and Tumhari Disha.
It was with John Abraham and Pakhi in a bookstore where his friends support his lies. I had a few dialogues in the scene but was quite nervous. However,Abbas worked a lot with me on those lines. His consistency and clarity really helped me a lot to get into my character.
Initially,I was very apprehensive about making my debut with a gay role. But I took it up mainly because I was confident that Abbas wont portray my character as a typical gay.
Jhootha Hi Sahi has a strong script so I knew that eventually people would come and watch the film and I would get noticed. Before shooting for the film,I made a life history of my character and focussed on every single detail of his personality. I showed it to Abbas,he loved it and that enabled me to play the role naturally. I also visited a lot of gay bars in London to observe people.
Jhootha Hi Sahi was a great learning experience. I had earlier worked in serials where we shoot for 12-14 hours at a stretch,work on many scenes and function like machines. But for this film,we got a script a month before the shoot. We were working on it continuously and focussed on every detail. I also realised that everyone was very honest about their work. Despite being a huge star, John was extremely grounded and all of us bonded very well. All of us would read our lines together,go shopping,clubbing and even when we were not shooting,we would be on the sets and hang out with everyone. We were like a huge family and this off-screen camaraderie has translated on-screen too.
Im really inspired by filmmakers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali,Ashutosh Gowariker and Rajkumar Hirani. I have realised that the director is the real hero of a film. Hes the one who actually makes actors look like they do on-screen. I also look up to Amitabh Bachchan,Aamir Khan,Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan for setting such high standards.
I have two films in the pipeline. But since talks are still on,I cant divulge further details.