By: Praveen Lance Fernandes, IndiaFM
Monday, June 18, 2007
After a debacle of an acting debut in the form of Vikram Bhatt's Inteha, Ashmit Patel, the chisel-faced younger brother of Amisha Patel struck back with Anurag Basu's Murder. Though Mallika Sherawat walked away with all the accolades, Ashmit managed to move out of his sister's shadow. Box-office success eluded him following a spate of flops like Nazar, Silsiilay and Fight Club but Ashmit struck back with a fine performance in Banaras - A Mystical Love Story. Though that film followed by Dil Diya Hai and Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana could not provide him with that much needed hit, Ashmit still managed to remain in the mind of the audience as well as film-makers. Despite big film-makers eluding him, the year 2007 seems to be an interesting as well as nerve-wracking year for the actor as he gears up with as many as five films which will hit the big screen.
Busy in New Delhi, Ashmit takes out time to speak about his forthcoming films. His current film on floors is Sajiv Balath's The Flag. "The Flag is a period film based in 1942. It's about this village called Kadakhpur which is cut out from the rest of the country. The villagers are not aware of the presence of the British. When the British finally come there they start changing everything. It is the story of how the villagers get freedom from the British five years before the rest of the country did."
Interesting concept! But from being a hard-core rugged goon in Fight Club to a lost-in-the-crowd Kudiyon Ka Hai Zamana, a period film seems something really out of Ashmit's comfort zone. "I did a lot of reading of that era. I'm playing a villager called Devaa who is very impulsive and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is quite untamed but a lot of fun. My director and designer worked hard on my look. I grew a beard and sport unkempt hair and wear dhoti and kurta throughout the film."
Moving on we find out that Ashmit takes a gamble in Toss. A multi-starrer (though not something he hasn't done before) in its own right, we wonder what this one is about. "Toss is a story of six friends who are on their way back to Mumbai after holidaying in Goa. They get a flat tyre on the highway and they chance upon these two bags in a forest. They take the two bags back home only to find tonnes of money in it. The story begins here when the money wreaks havoc in their lives and how it affects their friendship and relationship with each other. It's a roller-coaster ride."
And the performer is all praises for the Toss director Ramesh Katkar. "He is brilliant. I think he is the best technician I have ever worked with. He has a very unique style of directing. If I have to compare him with some director, it has to be Guy Ritchie because I don't think there is anybody in India who can match his style of direction."
Big words indeed for a debutant director! But isn't Toss the same film that was earlier being made as Rokda by Ramesh Katkar also starring Ashmit Patel? "No, Rokda is another film altogether. I don't know what's happening on that front."
Talking about Rokda, another of Ashmit's film Tum Mere Ho seems to be on the back-foot as well. Tum Mere Ho was to have veteran actors like Rajesh Khanna, Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher and was to be directed by Pakistani comedian Umer Sharif. "That is not happening at the moment. The first schedule was supposed to begin some time ago but that didn't happen and I seriously doubt if it will ever happen." Tsk Tsk!
From a flat tyred car Ashmit moves onto a Dhooming experience with Kabhi Kahin. "It is about two guys - me and a newcomer Anubhav Anand. We set out on a journey on our motorbikes from Delhi and the film is about the unforeseen circumstances we face which change our destinies."
Sounds like a joyride but also sounds like a certain film we know by the name of Motorcycle Diaries. Defends Ashmit, "Kabhi Kahin is an interesting film which has got Motorcycle Diaries feel to it though it is not its remake."
And finally the long lost Friends Forever... a film with lots of effects and an animated character Zampano. "The animation on the film is finally completed and it should be releasing in a couple of months. The film is in post-production stages." What about sharing screen and even competition from a computer generated creature? "It's a strange experience as I had to act keeping in mind that another character is going to be added digitally in post-production. So I am definitely looking forward for the release of the film as it is for the first time in Indian cinema that a 3-D animated character is going to be seen on the screen."
This coming year will be an acid test for the actor as the competitive and bad world of Bollywood will make us see Ashmit Patel fight the British, accompany an animated being and take a road trip on a bike.