Aftab Shivdasani is an actor from Bollywood who is also famous in Germany. He was invited to the Stuttgart Film Festival "Bollywood and Beyond" where his current film "Ankahee" was screened. Since he was a child he´s in front of the camera as he has done many commercials. He was the leading actor for "Mast" (1999) and it was by chance that he was choosen for this film. But with "Mast" he started to make his dream comes true: becoming a famous actor.
BNA-Germany met Aftab Shivdasani for a lunch. He told us something about his success and his life as a Bollywood Star:
BNA: Yesterday you went through the city. What’s your impression of Stuttgart?
Aftab Shivdasani: The place where I’m living is very peaceful. The people are very nice. That’s my first time in Stuttgart and Germany.
BNA: What do you think about this Festival. Are you proud of being invited?
Aftab Shivdasani: Yes I’m very happy that I was invited, because that’s the first time I’m attending on film festivals. And it’s good to know that my film was selected and is been screened. It’s also good to know, that Germany is opening up for indian films and cinema. The european market was not very big for us, but now Europe is very opening up to indian cinema as the largest film producing industry of the world.
BNA: Now you’re shooting your new film. What can you tell us about it?
Aftab Shivdasani: That’s a film called „Red“ and it’s a Thriller. It’s been directed by the same director who has directed the film (“Ankahee”, 2006) which is screened at this festival, Vikram Bhatt. It’s basically a romantic thriller, but a dark film, not a lovely bubbly film. It is shooting in Mumbai; outside and in the studios.
BNA: When will the movie be released?
Aftab Shivdasani: Maybe not this year. Maybe January or February 2007.
BNA: Your film “Ankahee” will screened on this festival. What´s the story of the film?
Aftab Shivdasani: It is a family drama. It’s about a man who, after his marriage, gets involved with another woman. And has an affair with another woman. This man has a 6 years old daughter. The woman he gets involved is a Miss World and actress. The film shows how all the three lives go though the problems because of the affair. It’s very emotional, it’s very intense, but it’s not melodramatic. It’s dramatic, I would say. And that is something very real, something which could happen to everybody.
BNA: Could it happen to you?
Aftab Shivdasani: I hope not.
BNA: Which kind of character do you like to play?
Aftab Shivdasani: I’ve played romantics, I’ve played thrillers, I’ve done comedies. In terms of characters I don’t usually keep any restriction on myself. I like to do different parts and different characters.
BNA: Let’s talk about the start of your career. Sooner or later there might be the special point where you recognized that somebody approached you and asked whether you want to make movies. So how was your coming out?
Aftab Shivdasani: For me it was a fantasy, it was a dream come true. I was doing my graduation on collage and I wanted to go abroad to study in London to make my MBA. But there was a very great director who was making a movie. I used to do often commercials. I did three commercials for Coke, I did over 250 commercials since when I was a child. So this director saw one of my commercials and he called me for the casting of his movie. And he liked me. That was for me a dream comes true and I was lucky. 15 Days after this there was the shooting and I didn’t have any time for preparing. But it was good. I was learning every day. I always wanted to act because of my history, because I made so many commercials. I like the camera, I like to be in front of the camera. But my family is not from the film background. I was a complete outsider. I was 19 and the film was about a 19 years old boy obsessed with the film actress, so it was perfect for me. (“Mast”, 1999)
BNA: Could you identify with the roles you did?
Aftab Shivdasani: A lot of times people asked me this question. But I never really had one role model in terms of a film actor. But I’m never obsessed with anybody. But for me it was good to performing that character.
BNA: Is there any kind of role that you would prefer or any kind of role you would never play?
Aftab Shivdasani: I don’t know, what I’ll not be able to do. But I want to do action films. I love action on screen. But I would never be able to do this, because I’m always be identified as a soft looking, romantic boy but I try to change my image completely. I always want to do this fitness, not body building, but fitness. When an image of your is formed in the eye of the public than you have to work very hard to change that image.
I have two films released now: one is a comedy (“Darwaza Bandh Rakho – Shut The Door”, 2005) and one is a science fiction (“Jaane Hoga Kya”, 2006).
BNA: Can you write it in Hindi?
Aftab Shivdasani: I try it, but I can’t write well in Hindi.
BNA: So what’s your mother tongue, when you say your Hindi is not so great?
Aftab Shivdasani: English, because my parents have different religions. The main language of India is Hindi and I’ve learned it in the school, but usually we conversed in English, because my parent’s strongest language is English.
BNA: By the way: How does it come that the Indian press writes about your health, as we could read that you had typhus.
Aftab Shivdasani: If I stretch my nose in public there will be the press.
BNA: That’s why you were happy yesterday as you could go out on the streets without getting noticed?
Aftab Shivdasani: Yes, for me it’s a blessing.
BNA: But isn’t it your dream of being a big star?
Aftab Shivdasani: It’s a difficult question. That’s the price that one pays by being a big star. Back home I’m already paying this price. I don’t have time for myself when I’m back home. So for me going abroad and walking on the streets and to be normal is something that I cherish.
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