After starting out as a child actor in films like Mr. India, Chalbaaz etc. this young lad made a Mast debut in Bollywood. He proved that he is indeed the master when it comes to Pyaar, Ishq Aur Mohabbat. What's more with his funny acts he reiterated the fact that there is no one who can do as much Masti and Hungama as him. You may call him Awara Paagal Deewana, but for his fans he is just the boy next door Aftab Shivdasani. Aftab is all excited with the release of his latest film Aloo Chaat. In this exclusive interview, Aftab talks about his chemistry with co-star Aamna Shariff, his love for chaats and why he will never stop doing comedy.
Aloo Chaat is your first release this year and is also a solo lead for you after a while. How do you feel?
I am obviously very excited. It's been sometime since I've had a solo release, so it is special. I am very happy with the end product because it is a consistently well made film.
Aloo Chaat is quite a funky title. Whose idea was it and what significance does it hold?
Aloo Chaat is something which is quite symbolic to the film. The film has a Punjabi flavour and Aloo Chaat is one of the most popular North Indian delicacies. In keeping with the theme of the film, you also have an Aloo Chaat wala who appears at 3 -4 crucial junctures of the film and summarizes the proceedings. However, I feel that Aloo Chaat is an apt title for the film because the film is spicy, chatpata and complete fun just like the dish.
The film seems like a romantic comedy. Could you elaborate?
The film is about a middle class Punjabi family based in Delhi. I play a person who has come back from the US to get married. He has a pre-conceived notion of how he wants to get married as opposed to how his parents think he should get married. His whole family is a very simple, conservative and typical North Indian family. This clash of thoughts between them leads to some hilarious situations.
How has it been working with a newcomer like Aamna? From the promos, one gets an impression that the two of you share great chemistry.
It's been great. Aamna is someone who is very confident about what she does. She is a hardworking girl. We couldn't have asked for anyone better for this particular role than Aamna. We share a great working relationship. She is someone who I cherish working with again.
Robby Grewal's last two films as director Samay and MP3 were B.O. duds. Did that ever bother you?
No not really…when I met him something clicked between us. Robby is someone who is young and raring to go. He is more script driven rather than success driven. We are almost of the same age so the bonding was always there. He is somebody who knows what he wants and is extremely passionate about his work. Being a Punjabi who is born and raised in Delhi, Robby knew how to bring in the right flavour for this film.
Tell us something about the music of the film.
Music has a Punjabi flavour keeping in mind the premise of the film. It's got an assortment of songs. It's got a Punjabi hip-hop number given by RDB, a romantic number called 'Dhadke Jiya' by Xulfi, and two versions of the Aloo Chaat title track one by a new guy called Mehfuz and the other one by Vipin Mishra. So you have an interesting mix that has something for everyone.
The promos give an impression that the film has a heavy Punjabi flavor. Do you feel it will appeal to people across India?
Yes…more than the Punjabi flavour, the film talks about marriage that is universal in nature regardless of cast, creed and race. I am pretty sure that the people in the North would really love the film. However, I don't think that it would be restricted only to a particular region. I think it will find an audience across the country because of the characters.
While shooting in Delhi, did you taste the yummy chaats and are you a chaat person?
Oh yes I love chaats. I would have chaats even in Mumbai whenever I get a chance. While shooting in Delhi we had a complete blast and gorged on some delicious stuff.
Coming back to your career, of late a lot of media attention has been towards your personal life rather than your career. Do you think this has affected the B.O. performance of some of your recent films?
What the media writes or the gossip magazines write is part and parcel of every actor's career. Nobody really takes it so seriously after a point of time. I don't think anything personal written about me could have hampered my professional career. Yes but my films not doing well, is something which is unfortunate. Some of my recent films many not have done well but I am happy that the common man still loves and respects me. I have managed to survive and make a place for myself. Even people from within the industry have shown a lot of faith in me and I hope to live up their expectations
A lot of people feel your forte is comedy. Are you going to be only doing comedy or are you planning to get out of your so-called comfort zone?
I love doing comedy but to be honest I don't only want to stick to doing comedy. However that doesn't mean I will not do comedy because besides being an entertaining genre, comedy films are an enjoyable experience even for me as an actor. So while I keep trying out different stuff I will be sticking to doing one or two comedy films every year.
Post Aloo Chaat what's next in the pipeline?
There is Indra Kumar's Daddy Cool which is a mad-cap comedy, then there is Sajid Nadiadwala's Kambakkht Ishq which has all he trappings of a big commercial entertainer and finally there is Sanjay Gupta's Acid Factory an action thriller where you will see me in an intense role.
You also turned producer recently. What's happening on that front?
Yes I have started my production house. It's called Rising Sun Entertainment. It's too early to talk about it but there is lots happening on that front too
Finally why should audiences saunter in to watch Aloo Chaat. Won't they rather have a blast eating it?
(Smiles) No I don't think so. When you eat it and when you watch it are two different things altogether. Both are very tasty but Aloo Chaat the film is tastier (laughs).