New Delhi: Born in a small village Kharkara in Rohtak, Haryana, Jaideep Ahlawat started to take acting seriously only after his graduation. He was noticed in a negative character in Priyadarshan's 'Khatta Meetha'. Currently, Jaideep is doing several big banner films including Anurag Kashyap's 'Gangs of wasseypur' and Kamal Hasan's 'Vishwaroopam'. IBN Live talks to Jaideep about his future projects and journey so far.
Q: When did you decide to become a Hindi film actor?
Born in a village in Haryana, Jaideep Ahlawat started to take acting seriously only after his graduation.
A: Actually, it was kind of accidental. I wanted to be an army officer in the beginning, but somehow that did not happen. Then after sometime, I started doing theaters which gave me a sense of satisfaction and uniqueness. There were other factors also that helped me in choosing acting as career.
Q: What were you doing then?
A: I was doing post graduate in English literature when the thought of becoming a professional actor came to my mind. I had already started doing plays and theatre, mostly college cultural activities.
Q: Was there someone who motivated you during that process?
A: Yes. One of my close acquaintances Sunil Chitkara helped me a lot during those times. He was associated with National School of Drama, and he was among my first gurus. He made me realise my acting potential. Afterwards, serious theater followed by a lot of reading of classical literature began.
Q: But you went to Film and TV Institute of India rather than National School of Drama.
A: Actually I did not have any idea about which institute to go to. It was Sunil Chitkara only who helped me in taking that decision. I sought help from internet also and checked about the kinds of courses they were offering. I thought that filmmaking is a combined effort where everybody needs to get involved and thus the basic knowledge of filmmaking process will help. That's why I decided to come to FTII. It was a subjective choice as every school has its pros and cons.
Q: Did the FTII help in shaping up your career?
A: Of course it did. I think taking admission in FTII was one of the better decisions of my life. There I developed an idea about cinema and film making. Over all, that place gave me a kind of confidence that I can also make it. The entire environment in the institute really helped me to understand the nuances of acting in front of the camera and the importance of other aspects of filmmaking.
Q: Was it an easy walk after passing out from FTII?
A: (Laughs) Certainly not. I came to Mumbai around July, 2008, but nothing happened for a long period. I was very new to the city without many acquaintances but somehow the negativity of doing nothing did not affect me. I think that the factor which helped me was that my friends from FTII were there in high and low of times. I started to meet people showing them the works I had done at the institute. Finally, the audition for 'Aakrosh' happened and I got my first role.
Q: I am sure getting 'Aakrosh' would not have been easy as it was your first film.
A: Actually I can't say whether it was or not. I was auditioning for some other film when I got the chance to appear for the audition of 'Aakrosh' and that's how the journey started.
Q: But your first release was 'Khatta Meetha'.
A: Yes, that is true. While we were filming 'Aakrosh', Mr Priyadarshan approached me directly for the role of Sanjay Rana.
Q: How was the experience of working with big stars like Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn?
A: It's always a great experience to share the screen with big names of Indian cinema and I really learnt a lot from all my co-actors because they were more experienced than me. Further the whole team was immensely experienced in filmmaking, so that was also another factor to be happy about.
Q: Don't you think that it would have been better for your character if the director could have given you more screen duration in 'Khatta Meetha'? You were the chief villain of the film after all.
A: I take it as a compliment that people feel that I should have been given more screen time, but the director is the captain of the ship. It's always the director's call to decide about the duration of one's character.
Q: You are playing a negative character in 'Gangs of Wasseypur'?
A: Yes, I am playing Shahid Khan in the film. It's a character with grey shades. 'Gangs of Wasseypur' is not any usual hero-villain story but it's a situation driven film. Mine is a period role which exists around the year 1947.
Q: What is your role in 'Rockstar'?
A: I really like Imtiaz Ali as a filmmaker and I had always wanted to work with him. In the film, I am doing a guest appearance. It's a Haryanavi character called Trilok who runs family business and who is very protective about his family.
Q: What was the reaction of your acquaintances when they first saw you on the silver screen?
A: As I told you that 'Khatta Meetha' was released before 'Aakrosh', and I was in lead negative role in 'Khatta Meetha', thus all the friends felt really happy and proud of me. They felt if someone from among them can make it to films then they also can make it. Their support has been a great strength to me.
Q: Tell us something about 'Chittagong'.
A: 'Chittagong' is ready now. This film is about an uprising around the year 1930. The freedom movement is in the backdrop and I am playing Anant Singh who is among the leaders of the uprising.
Q: You are also working with Kamal Hasan.
A: Yes I am. Working on a film with Kamal Hasan is a great feeling. I am again in the negative shade in Kamal Hasan's 'Vishwaroopam'. It's an interesting character in the sense that it actually enjoys being negative. 'Vishwaroopam' is a film which portrays the journey of one's individuality to the oneness of the universe.
Q: Why everybody is interested in casting you in negative characters?
A: (Laughs) How can I answer that. I want to do experiment with my roles. Even I want to play a romantic role as I am very romantic in my real life.
Q: Is there any particular role which you want to enact again?
A: Yes, if given a chance then I would love to do the role of Ranvijay Singh in 'Haasil'. Irrfan Khan was simply brilliant in that film. According to me, Ranvijay Singh was more or less a lover in that film. His methods might have been unconventional or subjectively wrong. Ranvijay Singh did not offer chocolates and flowers but cardamom to his love interest. For me, he was a passionate lover first than a bad man.
Q: Any other future plans.
A: Well, I am ready to work hard and I am really interested in playing all kinds of characters.
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