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'You can't fake emotions when Feroz directs'

You have done a considerable amount of theatre — largely with director Feroz Khan.
Feroz has played a huge role in my professional journey. I have done two-three stage productions with him. I did a cameo in Salesman Ramlal, walked in another actor’s shoes during the month-long US tour of Mahatma vs Gandhi. Dinner With Friends offered me a meaty and intense role. The play has completed nearly 100 shows in less than eighteen months. I travelled with the play to 15-16 cities all over India, as well as Dubai, Colombo and Singapore. You can’t fake emotions when Feroz is directing you. He is a lie detector!

Dinner With Friends, in which you act alongside Tisca Chopra and Perizad Zorabian, examined the man-woman relationship.
The play discusses how it’s not just relationships but friendships too that get affected when a couple separates. It accentuated the fact that things are not always as hunky dory as they seem on the surface. The wonderful thing is that it does not prescribe a solution when a relationship sours. While doing the play, besides growing professionally, I also matured as a husband.

Does your wife vouch for that?
No, she begs to differ (laughs).

Is it unnerving when you see parts of yourself in a character?
Life is a journey of self-discovery, but for an actor it’s an amplified way to live because you keep discovering links between a character and yourself. In school and college, I was a subdued person, so playing someone else on stage was a great release. But now I discover so much about myself while performing.

The play landed you a role in Feroz’s second film, Dekh Tamasha Dekh. Weren’t contemplating a career change.
I felt I was stagnating as an actor. I had done a fair bit of TV for six years. Dinner With Friends was getting standing ovations everywhere and the audience’s connect with the play was great. But I was hungry for more. Around Christmas last year, the time one makes New Year resolutions, I took stock of my career and decided to trade in stocks instead.

What made you persevere with acting?
I practise Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism — it’s my life. It involves chanting to access one’s inherent wisdom, courage and life force. Suddenly, in the new year, I found myself saying yes to TV. And in April, Feroz handed me the script of Dekh Tamasha Dekh, saying, ‘You start shooting next week’. I was in a fix. I had allotted the dates to the TV serial. But, when I went on the sets the next day, to my relief, I got to know that they were phasing out my role. Three days later, I was on a ferry from Gateway of India to Murud to shoot for Feroz’s film.

Can you elaborate on your role?
The film is a satire. An incident triggers off a spate of events and a cop (played by me) unwittingly gets engaged in the goings-on. Interestingly, my character is an observer, yet deeply involved.

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