'The film has changed my life'
Alekh Sangal is the son of film director Ambrish Sangal and TV actress Aruna Sangal, but couldn't bag a big-banner Bollywood debut. Finally, four years after he shot for Kshay, a small-budget film that recently won the Asian New Talent award for Best Picture at the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival, he is overjoyed by the rave reviews he has received
Kshay has fetched you great reviews. Has it transformed your life?
The film has changed my life in many ways. Two months before I was to leave for the film’s world premiere in Chicago, my relationship went kaput. The girl’s family felt that I wasn’t doing well; and even the girl had hinted that nothing was going to happen to this film or any other projects I was working on. But we got a lot of appreciation in Chicago, which was gratifying, especially because I had just got a bashing from a family I wanted to get married into. I have received many movie offers in the last couple of weeks, which I am currently looking at.
The film’s female lead is obsessed with acquiring an idol and pushes her husband (the character you play) to achieve this end. Are you familiar with this level of obsession?
In the film, the female lead’s, Chhaya’s obsession with an idol was in many ways represented by director Karan Gaur’s obsession to finish the film. At no point did he feel like giving up.
Did it help to have the film screened at film festivals?
Today, I can take a DVD of the film to any big filmmaker and say it was shown at an international film festival. In fact, the prize money we won there was more than the budget of the film.
Kshay got a release in India only after it was screened at international film festivals. Why?
Our film industry is governed by big stars and the song-and-dance routine. We fought a battle to showcase our film. Finally, PVR Director’s RARE initiative released our film. We promoted it solely through Facebook and Twitter. Our producer, Shaan Vyas, has been phenomenonal in using these two platforms in whatever capacity he could.
In hindsight, do you think you could have performed better?
I have seen the film 36 times. When I look back now, there are a few moments I could have played with more precision. But there is a certain innocence and rawness that comes with not knowing too much. Recently, the director’s brother bumped into Ratna and Naseeruddin Shah at Delhi. Naseer told him, “Arvind ka character bahut real laga mujhe, the actor and the character never seemed greedy
What are your aspirations as an actor?
The length of the roles could get bigger in the future. I don’t want to harbour delusions of bagging lead roles. I am just going to do as much as I can. Whenever someone watches my film, I want him to come out of the theatre and say no one was as good as this guy.
Is your role in Rush with Emraan Hashmi worthwhile?
An assistant who worked on Summer 2007, went on to assist for Rush (called Raftaar then), and he asked me to audition for a role. I have a special appearance but a very important scene with Emraan Hashmi. They aren’t even mentioning me in (the credits of) the film but I don’t mind because it is a big film; Rush will be watched by more people than anything I have ever done. Shamim Desai, the director, had told me that I would be a part of all his
Is talent what drives you in Bollywood or are other factors more important?
Your talent will be judged by your success. Good work is the key to getting better films and moving ahead.