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After a debacle debut with Fun-Can Be Dangerous Sometimes, Siddharth Koirala wasn't seen for sometime. Now he is ready to strike back with a thought provoking film Anwar directed by Manish Jha (who directed the critically acclaimed Matrabhoomi) where he plays the title role. From a sleaze fest to a social drama, Siddharth goes for a drastic change in genre and image.
Where were you after Fun?
I was traveling basically. I needed a break from everything including the backlash I got from it.
What is Anwar all about?
Anwar is about this Muslim boy who gets caught in the wrong place. He is a very sensitive man who is very conscious of his deeds and actions. He lands up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and people start mistaking him for a terrorist. He is stuck in a temple and people think that he is there to blow it up.
This looks like a complete contrast from Fun. So are you looking into more diverse roles?
I did Fun because I had to start somewhere. It was meant to be a thriller but it ended up being quite sleazy and there was no thrill in it. I was bound by a contract and couldn't get out of it.
And working with Manish Jha would have been indeed a different experience?
He is amazing. Before Manish got in touch with me, I had just seen a couple of scenes of Matrabhoomi. I had not seen the entire film but in those few scenes that I saw, I said that I would love to work with the director mainly because he knows what he is doing. His people were trying to get in touch with me but I was out of the country. When I got the message, I flew back here. When we sat down and spoke, I realized that apart from being a very good director he is passionate about his work. After that meeting we decided that we would be working together on Anwar and we never looked back after that.
You share screen with your sister Manisha as well.
We have just one scene together. She is playing a journalist who is doing reports on what is happening in the temple.
Did she give you any acting tips?
She has never told me how to go about my career. She just tells me - do what you have to do and do it honestly. That is how I have been. I have been dealing with my own people and do things myself. She does tell me sometimes that I need to concentrate and focus on my career a bit more.
Anwar also has a wide range of character artists like Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Yashpal Sharma, Hiten Tejwani and Nauheed Cyrusi.
I had an amazing experience working with Nauheed. I had seen her in the Piya Basanti video which she had done long back and I really liked it. I had no clue whether she was a good actor or not. And just before her first shot she was very cool and casual and gave a perfect shot. That was the first time I saw her shoot and realized that she was naturally talented.
My mother is a big fan of Hiten Tejwani since she watches a lot of television. Besides being a very good artist, he is a very good human being. Whenever I was a bit nervous and needed to focus, he helped me out. I gelled with him pretty well.
I consider Vijay Raaz as one of the best actors in India. I was really happy working with him. He used to sit and talk about various things apart from acting as well. He was a tremendously focused person though he doesn't look like that. He was totally in his character. The first time when I saw him was when he was eating that flower in Monsoon Wedding. He is mind-blowing.
Is there music in the film?
Yes, there us and I love the music of Anwar. All the songs are mind-blowing. The way they have been picturized the song is also amazing. We worked really hard as well. We were shooting in Lucknow and it was very hot somewhere near 48 degrees and to top that there were those hot lights. Somehow we managed and Manish stirred everyone through.
Tell us the USP of the film?
It's got beautiful thoughts and issues that we need to look into by the whole world. It's got a very nice message of love.
What else are you doing?
I have done Partho Ghosh's film Roothi Hai Khushiyan. Then I will be starting another film called Because I Love You. After that I'm still waiting or some good scripts to come my way.
There was word that you are reviving your production house Moving Images?
There are too many people talking about that. So far there are no plans.