Friday, May 05, 2006
"Some people are born actors and some become actors. I am not a born actor but with time, I'll become a good actor," says model turned actor Upen Patel, who is all set to rock Bollywood with his first movie 36 China Town that releases today. He is one of the lucky ones to begin his career with Mukta Arts. Even before the release of his first film, Upen has signed seven big films! This London based model- turned actor is quite confident about his next move in Bollywood.
Upen speaks to IndiaFM about his forthcoming movie 36 China Town and his future plans...
What is your role in the movie, 36 China Town?
I am playing a parallel lead in this film called Rocky. He is a very stylized guy. There is Shahid, Kareena, Pareshji Johny Lever, Akshay Khanna and myself. Akshaye plays the cop who solves the mystery. My character is very innocent and fun loving who enters at the wrong time. He is the USP of the film!
Are you playing a Casanova?
He has some shades of a Casanova. I can't say much about it because he is the real twist in the end. He has different shades just to confuse the audience. When he comes onscreen, the audience anticipates something. But sometimes he won't give them what they are looking for. He is a surprise element.
You are one of the lucky actors to start your career from Mukta Arts
I think I was born lucky (he laughs)! I came to India for a modeling career, two years ago. I never thought in my life that I will start my career with Subhash Ghai or have Kareena Kapoor in a film with me. Every newcomer that Abbas Mastan launch, becomes a superstar! All those who have worked with them are doing really well. Subhash Ghai is an institution, so I feel very lucky. I couldn't believe when he called me for this film after watching me and looking at my pictures. He kept on seeing one face every other day on hoardings, magazines and newspapers! He was very impressed and said that after watching me for nine months, he wanted to launch me. I am doing five films and this is my biggest project.
How did you bag this movie?
I did lots of modeling. I used to get film offers during my modeling days but only for second or third leads. No one wanted to launch me as a hero but one day I got a call from Mukta arts and I met Subhashji. I saw my picture everywhere on his table. He said that he had launched Jackie Shroff and now I would be the second Gujrati to be launched by him. When nobody was ready to launch me Subhashji, offered me a main lead. I was quite shocked. I heard the narration and signed that day itself. Suddenly we had the press conference. It happened so fast that I don't know when the film started and finished. We shot this in Bangkok, Mauritius, Dubai and Mumbai.
It's a multi-starrer. Weren't you scared of being lost in the crowd?
It's not like I had everybody chasing me with offers. I think the film has a great banner, director, cast, script and they launched me in a parallel lead! We four form the main characters of the film. They also gave me the title song which is doing really well. People are appreciating me in the promos. The film hasn't even released and I have already signed more films. So what can be better than this?
How was the entire experience of working in this film?
It was a fabulous experience. I am working in Abbas Mastan's next film in December. They are repeating me so fast. Shahid, Kareena and Akshaye are my seniors and it was fabulous working with them. They are like gems. We were like one big family and it was so much fun. Its nothing like I am the new face but people know me through modeling. I knew Kareena and Shahid before the film.
The promos seem very interesting. Who is the main suspect?
There is no gray character. If you watch the promos, it gives the element of a murder mystery. Everybody looks like the suspect. Everyone expects me to be negative and I may or may not be so. You have to see the film to find out.
Since you don't have a filmy background and are born and brought up in London, how did you manage acting and talking in Hindi?
People learn ten languages! Then why can't I learn one language? I did an acting course with Kishore Namit Kapoor. Then I had a diction teacher who taught me Hindi for nine months. I am lucky because since this character is a Casanova, I could afford to have a slight accent. So I got away with it!
Himesh is ruling the charts. What do you think of the music of 36 China Town?
I think he is very lucky for me. I got such a great song. Himesh is fantastic I love his music. He is everywhere at the moment. But he is not in my video. He is great guy and his songs are superb. People are going crazy about this title song. It's everywhere! We spent three crores just on one song and so we are saving it for the theatre. The remix by Himesh is superb. I like another song too, featuring Kareena and Shahid, 24/7 I think of you. I think whatever he touches turns gold at the moment. I like his other song from Tom Dick and Harry, Jhoom, Jhoom.
What is the USP of the film?
It's me! I am the youth, the freshness of this film. I am the one who is creating news. I am the unexpected package!
Tell us something about your background.
I am from London. My family is based there though originally they are from Ahmedabad. I have three sisters and one brother. I am the youngest of the family. My dad is in the Petrol business. I have done my computer science but my interest in modeling called me to India and here I am today.
Do you think modeling helps one to get into acting easily? How did it help in your case?
I never chose modeling but modeling chose me! Bollywood came calling to me! I never called Bollywood. When you are in modeling, you have to take the next step. I felt like I achieved everything as a model and I had to take the next step. I was waiting for that right step or right project. I didn't think I'll get such a big offer, but here I am today. It's all because of luck and hard work. I worked hard on my dancing and appearance. I know that I have this one chance. I think the promos are very interesting and people are appreciating me. I have signed seven big films, so things are paying off for me.
People say that models cannot be good actors. What do you have to say to that?
I am a super model (laughs) who wants to become a superstar. I am not a model just to become an actor!
You have done ramp modeling, commercials, music videos and now acting. What interests you the most?
Yeah. I did everything from TV to print to commercials and then ramp modeling. Modeling paid great wages. Films are a new chapter in my life. Any one cannot be big model. I believe modeling gives you fame and recognition. It puts you in the limelight to get spotted.
What is the most important for you from the banner, director and co-stars?
I always go by the banner because when you choose the right banner, you know that they are going to be sensible movies. A good director knows how to get a performance out of you. If the script is superb, the film is undoubtedly a hit. I am someone who understands the script first and then goes for the film. But overall all the things matters be it the director or the banner.
Tell us something about your forthcoming films.
In June, I'll be working with Sunil Darshan on his untitled movie starring Bobby Deol and me. It's a very aggressive love story. Then I have Vipul Shah's Namaste London with Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. I have signed Raj Kanwar's and Abbas Mastan's next as well. Abbas Mustan's film stars Sanjay Dutt and me, with both of us doing negative roles. Then I have a film directed by Sudeep Sarkar, called Jungle which is a remake of Achanak. Apart from these, I also have Kumar Mangat and Vishal Bhardwaj's next.