In an exclusive one-on-one, Purab Kohli tells that he has come a long way as an actor considering that he did not even want to be an actor!
What is your role in Hide & Seek?
I play the role of Om Jaiswal in Hide & Seek. I should confess that Hide & Seek isn"t a film to showcase my talent as an actor. All that I can say about the film is that it is a fantastic murder mystery, which sets out to play a game of hide and seek with the audience. Today the viewer wants something to hold him in a film.
What is Hide & Seek all about?
Hide & Seek is the journey of six characters which takes place in one night. All the six are abducted, put in a mall in one confined space and killed one after the other. Twelve years ago, they were friends. In one party, something goes wrong and they are separated. Before the incident happens, Om is a sweet and simple guy. The incident turns his life upside down and he is tormented by guilt and needs psychiatric help, since he goes into depression. For him the twelve years is in a haze.
How did you bag the film Hide & Seek?
I had interviewed Appu for Channel V when I was the VJ there. When Appu called me to offer me the role, to tell you the truth, I was quite skeptical, because I was to play one of the six roles and after Rock On, all my friends and well wishers have been urging me to do only solo hero films. However, I was gripped by the script and also had implicit trust in both Apoorva and Shawn Arranha and hence I accepted the film. In any case, I am of the opinion that one tries to choose a film which helps one to climb on.
Since your wife is an actress too, do you discuss your films with her?
My wife Yamini Namjoshi had acted in a film called Let"s Enjoy a few years ago. However, I do not tell my family anything about a film which I am doing, because I am keen on taking them to watch the film and getting their unadulterated and unbiased reaction.
How happy are you with your growth as an actor?
For someone who actually did not want to be an actor, I think I have indeed come a long way as an actor. Bas Yuhin was my first film as an actor. After Bas Yuhin, I acted in films like Mohit Suri"s Woh Lamhe, Aawarapan, Abhishek Kapoor"s Rock On and last but not the least N. Chandra"s Yeh Mera India.
When did you start thinking seriously about acting?
It was way back in 1998 that I had made my debut as an actor on TV with the serial Hip Hip Hurray on Zee TV. Though I actually had wanted to be a pilot, I had applied for a course in Hotel Management. Then I had worked with an architect. Then I did a serial called Sunghursh for B4U. It was only in 2005 that I decided that I should take up acting in films seriously after I did Onir"s film My Brother Nikhil.
Do you regret having taken up a controversial role like in My Brother Nikhil?
Today the entire country has become quite open about homosexuality, but it was not the case five years ago. To tell you the truth, though I do not regret having done the film and was not wary about taking up a role like the one I did in My Brother Nikhil, today I definitely make it a point to calculate about the pros and cons of taking up a role and only then take it up. You can say that I go by intuition as an actor.
Did My Brother Nikhil help you commercially?
After doing My Brother Nikhil, I thought that I had arrived as an actor but I was disillusioned because I realized that commercial viability too is equally necessary for an actor to survive in Bollywood and hence I realized that I needed to be seen in bigger films. I did films like Supari and Vaastu Shastra. I then decided to work in films like Woh Lamhe and Aawarapan.
In what way did Rock On change your horizons as an actor?
Rock On was a big education for me, because I was part of a big film. Now after Rock On, as an actor, I am surer of myself, though I should concede that I was subjected to a reality check last year after Rock On when 2009 looked like the most ambitious year for me as an actor since I had signed six films in the wake of the phenomenal success of Rock On.
What went wrong?
Recession happened in a big way and out of the six films that I signed after Rock On, as many as four films were shelved mercilessly even before they could be launched. While Shaadi of The Dead may be launched shortly, the only film which has managed to see the light of the day has been Hide & Seek. I am happy because I learnt the lesson that everything is not always honky dory and everything depends on your last film and how it fares at the box office.
Which are the films you are having now up your sleeves?
I am having quite a few films now, like Rectangular Love Story, Josh E Jawani, Turning 30 etc. I play a lover boy in Rectangular Love Story directed by Rajat Kapoor. It is about five friends and pegged on one little accident. The title of the film may shortly be changed to Love At First Life. Gul Panag is my co-actor in Rectangular Love Story. Mocktail, which is an adaptation of Midsummer Night"s Dream, is an out and out comedy which stars Tara Sharma, Tisca Chopra, Rajat Kapoor, Koel Puri, Neil Bhopalam and Manu Rishi, who had written Oye Lucky Lucky Oye. Josh E Jawani is directed by Sharad Kataria, who had written Bheja Fry. Prakash Jha"s Turning 30 directed by Alankrita Srivastav is about the trials and tribulations of a woman who is turning 30. Gul Panag plays the protagonist in the film.