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"I felt that I had arrived as far as my skills as an actor were concerned" - Ashmit Patel

Courtesy: IndiaFM

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

When Ashmit Patel stepped into Bollywood, his only claim to fame was that he is Amisha Patel's younger brother. However, over the past couple of years, he has managed to create an identity of his own. Fresh out of Fight Club, where he played the bad guy, he is ready with his next release, Banaras, in which his character is the closest you can get to God! IndiaFM presents a tete-a-tete with Ashmit Patel, on the eve of his next release.

You were just seen in Fight Club. And now with Banaras, we will see you in a completely new role. Tell us something about Banaras.

The roles in both these films are diametrically opposite. While my character in Fight Club was completely black, that in Banaras is completely white. My character in Banaras is as ethereal and close to God as it can be. It was quite a challenge because I was shooting for both the films simultaneously. It was exciting for me to explore the dark side as well as the pure side of two characters. 

How was it working with Urmila Matondkar?
It was spectacular. She is such an accomplished actress. There were some nerves at times. But ultimately I think, the chemistry has worked. And considering that Banaras is essentially a love story, the chemistry was very important.

There are a lot of veteran actors as well. Tell us your experience.
Oh yes. The film is full of veteran actors. There is Naseerudin Shah, Dimple Kapadia and Raj Babbar. They are all living legends. I was probably the only baby on the sets. It felt good to be part of such a stellar star cast. I felt that I had arrived as far as my skills as an actor were concerned. I feel that my talent has been appreciated. I have picked up a lot of tips from them while filming. Hopefully, I will be able to imbibe them in my future projects.

How was it working with the director, Pankaj Parasher?
He has given many hits like Jalwa and Chaalbaaz. He has been in the industry since years. But he is such a youngster at heart, that I call him rockstar! We are more like friends than director and actor. It is a great rapport. Of course, I have a lot of respect for him. Sometimes I have to call him sir! But most of the times its rockstar! For some reason, he singled me out during the filming. He is a huge prankster. I was the bakra of all the pranks. I guess that just shows how much he likes me!

Can you tell us any particular incident?
On the last day of our shooting in Banaras, we were shooting for a holi song. The shot was of me drinking thandai, with a bunch of dancers. It was okayed by Saroj Khan, the choreographer and the camera man. Everyone was fine with it except for Pankaj ji, who kept on asking for retakes. I was wondering what was going on. After 7-8 takes, my stomach was really bulging! Soon I found out that he had gotten the thandai spiked with bhang. The idea was to get me high. Unfortunately, it didn't work either because the bhang was too weak or the resistance of my immune system was just too good! I guess he thought that I would be the easiest target because I was the youngest and the most innocent on the sets.

L.C.Singh says that you were chosen for this film because of your soft eyes. Do you think that was the reason?
I have been told that my eyes speak a lot. Now I don't know if they are soft or no! As an actor, it is very important that you have very expressive eyes. They say that eyes are the mirror to the soul. If you don't speak through your eyes, you are not feeling the moment. I guess my USP is my eyes.

The music is very important in a love film. This film has music by Himesh Reshammiya who is on a high. Tell us about the music.
The music of Banaras is completely different from Himesh's work of the past couple of months. The music he composed for this film was done about a year ago. It is a genuinely unique sound. His work of the past few months has been more in tune with the club culture. On the other hand, the sound of this film is very different. Keeping in mind the script and the city of Banaras, the music of the film is spectacular. There is a lot of variety. There is a holi song, a beautiful love song and a sargam. It's not the typical Himesh Reshammiya that we have been seeing and hearing on television. I think this album is going to be one of his best. Of late people are saying that his sound is becoming stagnant. But this album will surprise people.

Which is your favorite song?
My favorite is the love song between Urmila and me. It is called Ishq main dil ko. It is a beautiful song with a lot of pathos. It really beings out the romance between Urmila and me. It is just so deep and has so much emotion. I think it is the best. It runs neck in neck with the holi song!

In one line, tell the audience why they should watch Banaras.
It is very difficult to put it in one line. But I would say that Banaras is the oldest city in the world. We shot there for 40 days. Trust me when I say that it is a magical place. I experienced the magic while shooting there. I think the magic has filtered in on this film.

What are your future projects?
Right after Banaras, I will have a release called Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamaana. It stars Rekha, Mahima Chaudhary and Kim Sharma. That should release in June. Right after that, there is a film with Emraan Hashmi, directed by Aditya Dutt. At the end of the year, there is a film called Friends Forever. There is a new girl called Shweta in it. But the most interesting character is a 3D animated character called Zampano. It will be a very interesting film.

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