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Samir Datani on his role in <i>Corporate</i>

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Courtesy: IndiaFM

Thursday, June 01, 2006

He kicked off his career in Bollywood with a big banners like Rajshree Productions but couldn't manage a very successful career. Actor Samir Dattani has no regrets for his past movies. He is all set to play a 24 year old young executive in Madhur Bhandarkar's forthcoming Corporate. Samir speaks to IndiaFM about Corporate and his experience with Madhur Bhandarkar.

Even though you began your career with Rajshri films, your career is not on a high. Are you happy with the way it shaping up?
I am very happy with the way my career is shaping up. What went wrong is that my first film didn't do well. In our industry, what matters is a hit. Success is very important and unfortunately I did not have that in my first film. The advantage of my first movie was that being a Rajshri production, it was a great launch for me. People noticed me because of that. All the work I got is because of my debut film. So, I am proud of that film. I guess that's a part of the industry. Some films do well and some don't. I was the unlucky one since my first film didn't do well. I have three releases this year and all are very different and challenging. It showcases me as an actor. I have a fourth film taking off soon. There are a couple of offers in the pipeline. By the end of this year, I might be working on my fifth film. It's a great record to have five films in one year.

What comes to your mind, when you say the word Corporate?
Corporate is about ambitions and the games people play. It's about aspirations. It's about human beings going to any extent, once they get into the game of politics. When your aim is to achieve paisa and power, you go very far.

Corporate is a board room drama. It portrays the dark side of the corporate world. It's basically a story about politics that people play to attain the paisa and power in the corporate world. It unfolds the truth of the real corporate world. It's about the side of the corporate world that is hardly discussed. Obviously, there are cinematic liberties with drama thrown in, because finally it's a commercial film. It is something that exists in corporate world. It's not much in the lime light, because it's a corporate world unlike our film industry.

Tell us about your character in the movie.
I play the role of Anmol. He is a 24 year old young executive. He is like a normal boy who has just come out of MBA business school and joined his first job. We all have our dreams, goals and ambitions. We have a different image of the real world but actually it's very different. I think everyone goes through this problem. Through my character, Madhur is trying to show that angle. The transition of a boy, who matures through the progress of the film and realizes that whatever he has learnt, doesn't exist. It's totally different. It's a journey of a boy and there is also a romantic angle with Minnisha Lamba. Office romances are very common. It's a genuine romance that happens through the film.

What interested you to do Corporate?
First of all, it was Madhur Bhandarkar's movie after Page3. I have been in touch with him. I was very keen on working with him. That time, he told me that he is writing a film called Corporate and that there is a character which fits me perfectly. He needed an innocent, sensitive and young boy who looks like a corporate executive. It was my good luck that he made this film immediately after Page 3. So when he called me, I said I am ready to work as long as my character gets noticed. It's a short, but sharp character. He is billing me as a guest appearance, because it's not a hero's character.

Did you have to do any preparations for this character?
I had a look in mind. Initially Madhur thought that I should have a clean shaven look. But I said no because I had a certain image in mind. I am young guy who's not a top executive and this stubble look is very in. Though initially we had differences regarding my look, after the first day, he said it looked nice. What I love about this film is the look because I get to wear nice formal suits, ties and shirts, which you don't get to wear in other films. All other films use similar kinds of jeans and shirts. Thankfully, this year I have three films. And all the films have totally different characters. I come from a business family, so things like board rooms, conference rooms, discussions and meetings are something I am seeing since my childhood.

Do you relate to your reel character in your real life?
I relate a lot with this character. I have done my graduation in marketing. If acting wouldn't have happened to me, my parents would have sent me for an MBA. At this point, my friend is doing MBA from America. He tells me about the fundas, learning curves and the kind of terminology they use in marketing and management. My dad thought that I would join him but I chose something else. I keep making fun that the closest I get to do his kind of work is in Corporate.

How was it working with such talented people?
They all are intelligent actors. It was a learning experience. It's an ensemble cast. There are approximately 40 to 45 people in the entire film. I haven't worked with all of them. I am working for Bipasha's organization, so I mingle only with them. Whenever there are so many people on the sets, there's so much fun.

How is Madhur Bhandarkar as a director?
He is great fun and Madhur is such a chilled out guy. He is clear about his script and character. Madhur's films are very different. They have twists and turns and it flows with the situation. There were so many actors and characters and just so much happening. He kept on telling us not to worry. I think this is how you get your confidence. He knows the script inside out and knows the progress of each character. Though it may not come across in the film, he's got his graph ready for the actor, so the actor is at ease. Like in Page3, every small character was noticed because it had a distinct personality and background. The same is with the movie Corporate.

How was it working with Bipasha Basu and Minissha Lamba?
Bipasha is very nice and sweet. It was great fun to work together. I have a couple of scenes with her. Minissha and I are paired together. Just like my character in the film, even off camera I can bully her. My character, Anmol falls for Megha and an office romance happens. Through this movie, I have discovered a new friend.

Madhur's films always have a feministic touch. What do you think?
Well, this film also has a feminine touch because Bipasha is the main narrator. I was preparing for that and wanted to work with him. I had a nice and sweet character to play. Corporate is a big film.

What is the USP of film? The USP of the film is Madhur Bhandarkar's touch. He has the touch that brings out the dark and real side of the corporate world. It has characters that everyone relates to. In the corporate world, there are plenty of boys like me, who have just joined in. They have ambitions, dreams and goals. They keep their ethics in place and learn how to play politics. They have to be a part of the political game. It's about how they get affected by others. The realistic feel of the film is its USP. Corporate as a theme is also new. It's a smart looking film with a great sensibility.

Your next film Marathon is an episodic film. What is your role in the film?
Yes, it's an episodic film. I play a very challenging role. The character is a football player who loses his leg. He runs the Marathon to prove a point to himself. It's not about winning and losing, but about the participation. He runs 42 kms on his false leg. It's very challenging. He reclaims his life and comes back. The fighting spirit of this character, Sanjeev is amazing.

Tell us about your other forthcoming films.
I have another film called Mukhbir. It's an awesome film. I am very excited about it. It has a huge star cast and I have got the opportunity to work with actors like Om Puri, Jackie Shroff, Suniel Shetty, Sushant Singh, Rahul Dev and Raj Zutshi. It's a spy thriller. It's about the intelligence department of our country. Mukhbir means informer. I play the mukhbir in the film. It's a journey of a boy who's working with the intelligence department and the hurdles that he has to face. He learns and grows in the process. The kind of negative people he meets in his journey are the biggest threat to his life. After a point, the intelligence department kills their own spy because he knows too much. I also have Rituparno Ghosh's film but I can't talk anything about it yet because nothing has been finalized.

You have also done a couple of south Indian films. How was that experience?
I have done four Kanada films, out of which three films are silver jubilee. It's great to work in an area where you don't belong. The working style is quite similar. In fact, they are very professional people and work on time. I have been very selective about what I choose. It's the romantic, college kind of stuff that suits me. My last film was a very intense, romantic film. It was the story of a husband who fulfills his wife's dreams. One of her dreams is to meet Amitabh Bachchcan. So yes, I had the opportunity to work with him. Unfortunately, I didn't get the same opportunity in Hindi films.

It's been six years in which I have done only five films. I want to do good cinema. I have to balance my career. I am an outsider, but the audience has accepted me with open arms. Although, sometimes, the industry has reservations and coordination takes some time. Being an outsider, I have my own sensibilities. 

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