You have almost created a record of sorts working only with debutante directors.
It just happened. Out of the six debutante directors I worked with, two of them were my friends, Shivam and Navdeep, whom I knew from before. Others I met essentially with regards to work. I read their scripts and worked with them because I liked their scripts. And I think all of them had written their own scripts. So, even though they didn't have any earlier work of theirs to show me, I gave them the benefit of doubt. ?
What is your character in Manorama?
I play a character named Satyaveer in Manorama and he works in the public works department. He is kind of bored of his middle class existence which includes small town, small life, small problems etc. There is no challenge or adventure in his life. And then a particular incident takes place and he gets sucked into a conspiracy, a murder mystery that he wants to solve.
Although he works in a public works department, he has dreams of becoming a writer. He has written a book called Manorama which hasn't fared very well, so he is disheartened. He is a creative person but he is not been allowed to move into that direction.
When Manorama, someone he knows, ends up dead, he wants to solve the case and it's a challenge for him. It also gives a new meaning to his life, a chance to do something rather than living his day to day life.
The film is Navdeep's tribute to the film noir genre of Hollywood films from the 40's. It's also his tribute the movie China Town. He has drawn inspiration from those kinds of films; he has lit the scenes in that manner, shot in that manner. I don't think anybody in this country has attempted film noir, especially based in small town. He has shot Rajasthan without falling into the clichÉs of Rajasthan with the women, pots, colours and sand dunes.
We heard you are sporting a big moustache in the film
Yes, I have a moustache as well. That's another great thing of working in Manorama since I got to play somebody older, mature. I am always getting this sweet boy-next-door kind of roles which I wanted to get out of but no one was getting me such scripts. Even for ManoramaI wasn't the first choice. Even though Navdeep is my friend, I was the second choice because he thought people won't accept me as an older man and father of a child, who is soft spoken and I was dying to play just that. Today, Navdeep is very happy with my performance.
How was it working with actress Raima Sen, Gul Panag, Sarika and Vinay Pathak in the film?
I have known Gul from before, so it was nice to work with her finally. Raima and I did Honeymmoon Travels but we didn't have any scenes together. She is a bit of a cartoon, very sweet girl. It was nice to meet Sarika, since I have always seen her only in films. She is a fifteen year old at heart and so good looking. I have also known Vinay for a while now. So, it was very comfortable working with them.
Tell us about the English film you are doing - Meridian
Meridian has English and Hindi, its bi-lingual. It's about different characters and how they are sort of connected karmically. Karma connects these characters even though their lives are different and these cycles come together in different stories.
And what character do you play?
I play this guy who does odd jobs and has connection with the other character in the film and how it concludes, is my track in this film. Each one's track is about the cycle coming through and the conclusion.
Venod Metra for Meridian is again a debutante director
Venod is from England originally. He is probably the most chilled out director I have worked with. He is very easy going. We are very good friends now.