Friday, June 09, 2006
Like many of his contemporaries, Bikram Saluja too took the leap from modeling to acting with Fiza some years back. But somewhere along the way his career began slumping. On the other hand, the careers of fellow models like Arjun Rampal, John Abraham and Dino Morea have progressed by leaps and bounds. But Bikram is not disheartened. He still has a fighting spirit and is determined to give his best.
Also, Bikram might be the only model who doesn't mind putting on weight. But that's for his role in his next film Marathon. IndiaFM had a tÊte-À-tÊte with the actor.
What have you been up to off late?
Offers have been there. But I have to choose what I want to do. It doesn't matter if the role is small or big. It just has to be nice.
Tell us something about Marathon.
This is a story about five people from different walks of life. The Marathon becomes a means for them to prove a point to themselves as well as to others around them. The characters range from an industrialist, a sportsman, a college student and also a villager.
What character do you play?
I play an industrialist who is extremely ambitious and focused. He got involved with his family business very early because of the demise of his parents. He took the responsibility of carrying the flagship ahead. Once he joins the business, he realizes that the company is deep in debts. For 10 years, he has single handedly worked to clear the debts. There is a project which has been his dream. He is very close to achieving it. However, because of one circumstance, he is unable to get investors. That's how the Marathon comes into the picture. He takes it up as a challenge to prove a point to the investors. He's extremely overweight. That raises a question in the mind of the investors. It's about how he goes about losing weight and running the 42 kms.
So did you put on weight for the role?
I would have loved to put on weight for the role. But they wanted me to put on 40 kilos, in a short time span which wasn't possible. From the time, the script was narrated, to the time the film went on floors; I just had about 2 months. So we used a body suit and prosthetics to make it look as real as possible. To add some more authenticity, I used weights on my legs, which would make my walk look heavier.
So you have experimented with a variety of looks in the film..
Yes one look is the very 'fat' look. Then there is a medium sized look. Finally, there is the normal look. So there are three different looks.
Which part of the character did you enjoy playing most?
I enjoyed playing the obese guy. But the make up would really try my patience. I had to sit for hours to get the make up done. In the heat I was made to wear a body suit. Also the prosthetic used to be stuck to my skin. So after a while, it gets to you. I enjoyed it, but also wanted to get over with it.
What finally made you accept the role?
I was out of town when this role was offered to me. The director emailed the script to me. The entire concept of the film was very appealing. It's a fresh way of looking at things. The sensibility is urban and also rural because of one the character's is a villager. It's very real film and doesn't appear unbelievable. I could relate to the film.
Do you relate to the character in the film?
I could relate to the fact that he is a workaholic. He going all out to achieve his dream is similar to me. I could not relate to his ill health, though! Fitness is a way of life for me. I guess you have to use your imagination to play the character.
Have you participated in the Mumbai Marathon?
The first year, I was supposed to, but could not because of my work commitments. The second year I was present at the event but did not run because of my injured knee. Luckily I had finished my running portions of the film. I hope to participate next year. It is such an experience because of the excitement in the air. It feels like a carnival and reflects the spirit of the city.
How was it working with Nausheen?
I didn't have too many scenes with her. But it was very comfortable because she is very easy going. We worked out the scenes together, because ultimately teamwork shows. We kept on giving each other suggestions. So there were no hassles.
How is it that you are so choosy about your work?
Even I want to do a lot of work. But unfortunately a lot of work offered to me is not so good in terms of the banner and also the sensibilities. I could be working 365 days a year! But then the kind of films would spoil my name which has taken so long to build. Also I was not proud enough to do a lot of the films offered. I don't want to do films on the cost of compromising what I believe in. It's not like Marathon is a big film. But at least the endeavor to make something fresh is there. At least it will get promoted and the artists will get their due. What product you are associated with is important.
Have you seen yourself grow as an actor, over the years?
Growth is definitely there. Your experiences add to the actor in you. I have done theatres. I think I have the basic grounding for an actor. It's for the audience to say how much I have grown. But I think I have improved in terms of my confidence. My approach is also different in the sense that I believe in what I'm doing. I am not insecure to do anything offered to me. I always work towards being as natural as possible. Improvement is showing in my work. Hopefully, I will be able to expand my horizons.
Tell us about the music of the film.
Unfortunately, I haven't heard all the songs. My story does not intersect with any other story. My part is the love song, which is nice. It grows on you. But I know there are variations in the music. The title track is very inspirational. Then there is a hip hop track and an emotional track as well.
What is the USP of the film?
I think it is freshness. It does not use the tried and tested formula. Although it does not have a big banner or big stars, it is trying to say something in a new way.
What are your expectations from the film?
I don't expect anything.
I only expect myself to work hard and do justice to the role. The films release and promotions are not in my hands. The final decision is in the hands of the audience. I hope people go and see it because it is not a pirated film from a Hollywood production. It's not like someone picked up a Hollywood DVD, copied it scene to scene and then claimed to have made a great film. Somebody has used her brains and imagination.
What kind of films do you want to do?
Anything that is good. I like intense stuff. Unfortunately, I haven't been offered anything like that. I guess here people frame you with what work you have done. Unfortunately for me, there was a three year gap between my first and second film because of my films being stuck. I have done simple kind of roles. So people judge me by that. I think I have the potential. Hopefully, one role might just show what I have. I just have to hang in there till then and do the stuff that is offered.