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Romit Raj comes back with Yatra

 
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By: Praveen Lance Fernandes, IndiaFM

Thursday, August 31, 2006

He made a promising debut in Kushan Nandy's Hum Dum but since the film went unnoticed, he couldn't gain much prominence. Now he is back with another film Yatra directed by the 13 time National Award winning director Goutam Ghose.

So how come we didn't see much of him after his debut? 'As an outsider, you don't know how big or small your film is going to be. So once Hum Dum released I decided that the films I would sign would only be better than that.

Brave but intelligent words from this new-comer. A difficult Yatra. Yatra - a film having stalwarts like Nana Patekar, Rekha and Deepti Naval. 'I went to Calcutta and met director Goutam Ghose at a party there. We hit it off well and he said that he would like me in his next film which would be in Hindi. So the next day I met the producer of Yatra, Bipin Vora and he said that this role would suit me well. I am not the main lead but am there throughout the film.'

Judging by the poster, it seems like you really had to work hard for you look. 'Oh! You're telling me. I did a lot for this role. First and foremost I play Nana Patekar's son in the film. Nana is a bit wheatish while I being Punabi am fair. So I had to get tanned for the role. Along with that I grew stubble as well.'

Tan and stubble? Yawn!! So what's new? 'Well apart from that I also learnt how to play the drums. Goutam Ghose's son learnt the drums from the best teacher in Calcutta. He used to come to Goutam's house because he is his big fan and so he finally ended up with an extra student.' Now that is dedication. Bollywood creates another musician.

Go on about Yatra... 'Yatra is about Nana Patekar, a writer by profession who goes to Delhi to receive the prestigious 'Elegant Sahitya Samman' award. Deepti Naval is his wife and Goutham Ghosh's daughter Anandi is his daughter while I am playing his son. Rekha is a mujrawali in the film. As the title suggests it is about a journey. The film is about how fiction meets the facts.

My character is of a son who doesn't like to read his father's works but because of the twists and turns in the movie he finally takes interest in them.'

Art films can be misunderstood or not understood at all... 'There was a trial show of Yatra recently and people like Kundan Shah, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani attended it. All of them liked the film and complimented Goutam. Some complimented me on my looks as well. So the movie is great according to these people.'

Hum Dum to Yatra... An interesting change... 'That is why I want to do different stuff as I feel it is really challenging. Having an art film as your second release is really exciting.'

Daring to share the screen with the best... 'You won't believe it when I tell you this but everybody was very sweet to me. No one knew about my first film and everyone thought that I was a new-comer entirely and helped me out wherever they could. I never told anyone about my first film because then nothing was expected out of me. Nana went out of the way and said encouraging things to me. He said that I should just concentrate on good work and I will have a bright future. Deepti Naval is a very sweet person as well.'

There is a saying or well... I just made it up - Art film directors tend to be scary at times but pretty much most of the times... Now nothing against Goutam Ghose but one doesn't win 13 National awards by partying all the time. Ha ha! When you think of an art film director one had the tendency to judge him to be as a serious person. And when you look at him, he looks very strict and like a disciplinarian. So you always have to be on your toes when around him out of respect and the fact that he had won 13 National awards. But on day 1, Goutam Ghose came to me and hugged me and said that this will be fun. It was fun working with him. He told me that he will take me in all his films and that encouraged me.

Mentor Kushan Nandy and more... 'Talks were on with him during the production of Hum Dum for another film but after the film released nothing happen. You know how the industry works. We are out of touch right now.'- Case dismissed.

What does the industry have in store for you or rather what do you have in store for the audience? 'I am currently reading a couple of scripts and waiting for the right people to work with. In the meanwhile I am concentrating on martial arts, dance and gym.'

On a parting note do tell us what kind of films do you want to be offered? 'I always believe that whatever I do should be on celluloid forever.'

Topics: romit raj, bollywood, nana patekar, rekha, deepti naval, kundan shah, ketan mehta

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