On the eve of the release of Badmaash Company, his maiden film as an actor, former host of 'Indian Idol 4" Meiyang Chang tells this correspondent that he is glad that the film scenario has been slowly and steadily changing in the last ten years and actors like Kalki Koechlin and Abhay Deol have been accepted in films which have tackled different topics
What is the meaning of Meiyang?
The meaning of Meiyang is mesmerizing. I hope my female fans find me mesmerizing. (Laughs)!
How has your journey been so far?
It has been indeed an upward curve for me right from the time I was selected for Indian Idol 3 and right through the time I was the host for Indian Idol 4 till my latest phase as an actor with Badmaash Company. When I was taking part in Indian Idol, I thought that I"d not even reach the top 5. I am happy with my journey now in the sense that I am getting good projects not only as an actor but also as a singer on my own merit and steam, to explore my scope.
Why did you try your hand at acting though you had set out to be a singer with Indian Idol first?
To do a film is a dream that almost every one has. It is a damn good start for me as an actor because besides the fact that I was getting to act in a film, the film itself is from the banner of Yash Raj Films. My dream has come true, so what if I did not get the heroine like Shahid Kapoor got in Badmaash Company? (Laughs)
Did you ever think that you could act?
To tell you the truth, I thought that I cannot act, because I have a face which, even if I give a lot of expressions, will not show them!
How did you bag the offer to act in Badmaash Company?
Parmeet Sethi approached me to cast me as Zing, a north East guy who speaks good Hindi. I guess he had seen me talk in Hindi in Indian Idol 4 as the host and thought that I'd fit the bill. I bagged the film after I gave an audition for an angry scene.
Is it true that you fight with Parmeet to get the film?
In a way, yes, because Parmeet asked me to fight with him, as part of the scene for the audition. It was totally unnerving for me because besides the fact that I had never acted ever, I had not only to fight with a tall guy like Parmeet but also get over the fact that I was doing an audition for Yash Raj Films, which not every one in the country is fortunate enough to bag as an actor.
What is Badmaash Company about?
The film is about four friends including a female who want to earn big bucks and have fun. It starts off as a harmless thing, eventually they become greedy. What changes as far as mindsets and relationships are concerned, if you get too much too soon is what the film Badmaash Company about.
Is it true that you were very shy before you took part in Indian Idol?
Yes. I was quite shy even when I was taking part as one of the wannabe singers for Indian Idol 3 and started opening only after I hosted Indian idol 4.
How did you prepare for the part of Zing in Badmaash Company?
To begin with, I had absolutely no reference point at all to prepare for the part of Zing. It was mainly by observation that I tried to get into the skin of my character as Zing in the film. It helped me that Parmeet had given each one of us actors a bound script. Each character was well etched. Each of us has prominence and a purpose inn the script.
Would you say that it was a tough role for you?
It was quite a tough role because unlike in real life where it is easy to make me laugh with even a chota mota joke, I had to enact a role which was totally different from me. However, it was smooth sailing for me because we were pampered by the Yash Raj unit and I realized that the perception that it"s a closed industry was wrong.
Did it give you a high when people mobbed you on locations abroad while shooting?
It was a high for me when an equal number of people came to see me like they did for both Shahid Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. I guess after Indian Idol, which made me a household name and a familiar face, movies are now taking me to a higher level. Though as an actor, I feel that I have my own limitations because of my unconventional looks; people tell me that if I work hard, I can become the next Danny Denzongpa in Bollywood. I am glad that the film scenario has been gradually, slowly and steadily changing in the last ten years and actors like Kalki and Abhay Deol have been accepted and have acted in films which have tackled different genres and different topics too.
Isn"t it frustrating for you to still grope your way through for singing though you were selected as one of the Indian Idols?
In spite of the fact that I was a runner up in Indian Idol, I still consider myself a bathroom singer. The reason most of the singers from Indian Idol could not make it as singers in a big way in Bollywood is that there is a big backlog of singers who have been waiting in the wings for the last ten years. All of them are now getting a chance to sing now. Whether Badmaash Company become a blockbuster hit or a resounding flop, whether I become a big star or not, I will always be indebted to Indian Idol for whatever I am today and will always miss the show.
Is it true that you have already found your love in life?
Yes. I am seeing Monali Thakur. She is a singer. However there is still time for settling down since I am only 27 and there is a long way for both Monali and I to go as far as our careers are concerned.
How hopeful are you about Badmaash Company"s fate at the box office?
I look different in the film. Every one of us has given a great performance, whether it is Shahid, Anushka, Vir or for matter me. I guess the film should help me, because though I had started off as a singer, now, priority wise, it is only movies which come first to me. If unfortunately for us, Badmaash Company does not run, none of us will run.