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After doing a small but impactful role in Corporate, chocolate boy Sameer Dattani is back with a line up of interesting films - starting with Vikram Bhatt's Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee followed by Mukhbir and Marathon this year.
Your film Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee is just about to release. What does the title suggest?
Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee is basically a period of life, a period of time of these five youngsters in the film. Hence it is titled Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee. We are showing various aspects of these five characters that are pursuing different dreams, different roles, and different aspirations.
Tell us about your role?
I play the character of Jai Gokhale. Jai is someone who believes in power, he feels power is what will bring him immense happiness. He personally believes that if he gets power then everything else will follow. Naam, paisa, shauharat everything will come if he has power. This is an extension of his past, his childhood. He has lived a very middle class mediocre life, where he had his father committing early suicide, and his mother being disillusioned after that. All these things put together have basically showed him the tough side of the life. So he wants to feel powerful now. He doesn't want to feel powerless and weak like he has felt in the past.
How was it to work with Vikram Bhatt?
Vikram was great man to work with. He is a very patient director - that's the first thing I can remember about him. He instructs you very well, lets you know what you have to do and gives you the space after that. He had five very mischievous youngsters on the set whom he handled very well and got work done in record time.
Of late, his films haven't worked at the box office. What do you think will happen to Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee?
I think it doesn't depend on the filmmaker or his past success. It depends on the film in general. Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee is very different from Vikram Bhatt's recent films, and I think that's what the audience will like. It's a fresh film coming from Vikram Bhatt.
So... five mischievous youngsters... how was it working with them?
Great fun! We had Aftab Shivdasani, Dino Morea, Anjori Alagh, Nauheed Cyrusi and of course myself. We had a young team which basically made work lots of fun. When you are having fun on the sets, it shows on the screen. Audiences enjoy watching your film.
Any fun moments you recall?
We had harmless jokes that kept taking the rounds everyday. We all are food-lovers so we always called for lots of food on the sets from different restaurants. Aftab got us some yummy Parsi food. We joked about each other, we didn't really have pranks-pranks as such but we imitated each other, played the fool, cracked jokes and things like that. Dino once took pictures of all of us and made caricatures out of it.
What are your expectations out of this film?
Lots of expectations, it is an important film. I have a very vital role in the film. Something I haven't really done before. It is quite challenging. I really hope that people go out there and watch this film again and again and it becomes a successful hit.
Let's move on to Mukhbir. Tell us about that?
Mukhbir has just been completed. It's ready for release around mid 2007. It's an inside story of an informer. It's a story of a 20 year old boy who is an informer, a khabari to the intelligence department of India and it's about his life. How he plays different identities, the difficult situations that he faces in life at such a young age and how he balances them - is what the film is about.
Was it very difficult for you to play that character?
Yes some moments in the film are very difficult. They were quiet exterior to me in the sense that I have never been in situation like this. Very few of us must have been in situations like that. Mukhbir is an espionage kind of a thriller. It's an emotional film. So some situations and instances in the film required some imagination and a little bit of homework which I think I did with the help of my director Mr. Mani Shankar.
How is Mani Shankar as a director?
Great, he has an amazing vision. I think Mukhbir is going to be a comeback film for him. It's going to put him in the same genre where he was after 16th December. The film is very today. It depicts a world which is around all of us, we know that it exist but we don't know the secrets of it. Anyone could be a Mukhbir. The guy who is sitting there outside your window, outside your gate on the road could be a Mukhbir, and could be spying. He may look like an average sweeper or a driver or a cleaner but he could be someone who can save the city.
What about Marathon?
Marathon is almost completed and it should be releasing some time this year. It's a sports film like the name suggests. It's based on the marathon which happens in Mumbai every year. Having a sports background it was a very exciting film to be a part of. I would love to do more and more sport films because I have always been fond of sports.
So have you participated in the Mumbai Marathon?
Yes I have run the Mumbai Marathon. I ran it once for the film and ran it once again when we were filming bits of the movie during the marathon.
Initially you were the part of Shootout at Lokhandwala?
That's right. I was supposed to do that film but it didn't really work out for various reasons. There was a role which Apoorva Lakhia had in mind for me. But after the final draft of the script was ready he just thought that it wasn't required in the film any more. So I am glad he decided that before we started shooting.
Any connection with the Corporate role being chopped off?
No connection with the Corporate role, yes it had to be trimmed and that was for the betterment of the film. Madhur Bhandarkar had to keep the length of film in check but it was a great film, a great team to be associated with. Madhur is a great director and I would love to work with him again.
Any other films in the pipeline?
No, it's already a busy 2007. Three films are ready for release. Life Mein Kabhie Kabhiee will be releasing on April 13th. Mukhbir will release in mid 2007 and Marathon sometime in the course of the year. There are a couple of other films but nothing finalized yet.
You have done some South Indian films as well?
That's right. I have done six South Indian films. I've been very lucky down the South in Kannada. I have three silver jubilee films and my most recent film Sajani has just released. I also did a film called Amrutdhare down south in Kannada which had Mr. Amitabh Bacchan in a special appearance.
Did you have any difficulty in adjusting to the language?
Initially when I did... but then in due course I started learning the language and now I manage pretty well.