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'I am not an angry young man off-screen'

Courtesy: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

Here the actor talks about the denigration in today's politics, Aamir Khan and his character in Rang De Basanti

Your role was tailormade. Any other role you would have liked to have done in RDB?
Yes, DJ's role (played by Aamir Khan) simply because I would've loved to portray that playfulness and character that comes across in the role.

How convinced were you about the film?
The story and script convinced me totally. It was talking about the youth of today, the active participation and awakening of the youth and the parallels drawn between the past and present - a very important statement being made in a realistic but not preachy way.

I liked Laxman Pandey from the first narration as he's a very strong character. He makes an impact and is a force to reckon with in every scene. I could see the transformation he goes through including his ideologies and that's what struck me the most.

What is your favourite scene in the film?
It's the scene between Aamir and Sue where they are eating parathas and he breaks down. It's one example of excellent acting. No scene is serious for the sake of it, the lighter side is always maintained, we don't talk like 50 yr olds which is really the language of the youth of today. I love the India gate police lathi charge scene, where Pandey takes the first practical step towards a good cause and has the guts to go into the party office and confront him.

What reactions have you been getting?
I remember Raveena's reaction as she was the first to call. It was at 12 am and she was so over-whelmed. The excitement and appreciation that she had in her voice about me and the film will stay with me for a long time.

What 's making Rang De Basanti work?
You tend to create unreal characters in a patriotic film but Rang De Basanti the characters are very real and honest. It's because of people like Rakeysh (Mehra) and Aamir. It's an honour to work with Aamir. He's a very down to earth, good and honest human being. It requires courage to sign such a film. I wonder how many stars would do that at the peak of their career. I respect his honesty, integrity, intelligence and courage. He's not afraid to say what he thinks.

How did you prepare for the role?
Yes. Rakesh had sent the biography and autobiography of Ram Prasad Bismil and a CD with beautiful photos from that era. The process of acting is abstract and many small things go into the making of a character. I wear a kada in Rang De Basanti in the past and present.It's made of five metals. The moment I saw it I knew it was Laxman's kada. Wearing it all the time keeps reminding you about the character and the film. For a role you have to create a space in your brain about the character that you do. The kada helped me a lot.

You play characters with angst. Are you like that?
I don't think so. I am not an angry young man off-screen (smiles) though I certainly don't like going to parties. I spend time with my close group of friends.

Been associated with anything political?
When I feel strongly about certain issues I write letters voicing my opinions to Marathi newspapers. My generation was influenced by the period of emergency. I was in class 8 then. I too was certainly influenced. Since then I read newspapers every day finding out what's going on in politics.

A complacency has crept into the middle class and that's frightening. I am from Goregaon and I don't want Govinda as my leader in Lok Sabha. Ram Naik comes with so much experience. Ram Naik is a better politician than Govinda. He might have his baggage of not being clean but then as Chanakya has written, 'Politics is not without corruption.'

One role in recent times you liked to have done?
The role of Irrfan Khan in Maqbool, even though I thought he was excellent. I told Vishal jokingly that he had given away my role to someone else.

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