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    I plan to be around for 20 years: Shiney Ahuja

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Saturday, May 07, 2005
    Shiney Ahuja says he''s very different from the wheeler-dealer he played in Sudhir Mishra''s "Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi".

    "I wish I was like him. Maybe my career would''ve taken off in a big way by now. I''m idealistic about a lot of things, including my career.

    "I can''t socialize just to be noticed. The only reason I should be cast is because I suit the role. Believe me, this attitude finally earns you the film industry''s respect. I''m not looking at short-term gains. I plan to be around for 20 years."

    Shiney isn''t too happy with the way "Karam" shaped up. "When the film was narrated to me it was a two-hero film. That''s not how it turned out," Shiney told IANS in an interview.
    "My role was greatly reduced only because I was a newcomer. I protested to my director. But he told me the film was out of his control. You only have to see the length of my role in the script and what remains of it on screen.
    "The director Sanjay F. Gupta and I worked hard on making my cop's role different. None of that remains! I was given a list of scenes. John had 18-20. I had 12-13. So we were almost equals. I also had songs. None of that remained."

    Does Shiney blame his co-star John Abraham?
    "I honestly can't say. I don't know what happened. John is a wonderful person. I had jaundice during 'Karam'. He called a doctor and really looked after me. So I don't know... What I do know is finally I had only six-seven scenes in 'Karam'.
    "All my other films including the forthcoming 'Kal' have me in central roles. It's a film directed by Ruchi Narain. And it's totally about my character Tarun. Throughout you see me in coma. You'll see me on my feet in only five scenes. But they're so effective.
    "I also have Amit ('Jism') Saxena's 'Agar'. Here I play a very nice regular simple sweet guy. The wicked glint you see in 'Sins' and 'Hazaaron Khwahishein' is not me," chuckles the Delhi boy who had his formal education in Ranchi and Lucknow.

    "My Hindi is very good. That's an advantage among today's actors, isn't it?"

    Shiney has been happily married for four years now.
    "My wife Anu wants to stay out of the limelight. Both of us are nurturing my career right now. I'm ambitious and I want to be successful but not starry.
    Was he comfortable doing those steamy scenes in "Sins"?

    "I can't get judgmental about my characters. I can't let my conscience dictate my choice of roles. Personally I would never be caught with my pants down like my character...
    "As for the eyebrow-raising photo-session with my co-star Seema Rahmani (where he was in bed with his hand covering her breasts) I've to do my job.
    "The publicity isn't my look-out. As much as I disagree with the producer I've to do what's right for the film. So much money is invested in a film. I can't afford to be self-righteous. I can argue about my character. I can't argue about the publicity. I know nothing about it."
    Of the three films he has been seen in so far Shiney Ahuja has proved himself a newcomer who can tackle the most complex of characterizations with ease.

    He seems perfectly relaxed acquiring the reputation of a thinking actor so early in his career.
    "I've had one release a month in the last three months, all very different from one another. Whether it was the priest in 'Sins', the cop in 'Karam' or the morally compromised wheeler-dealer in 'Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi'...
    "They're all part of a larger design which I've devised for my career. I've actually been shooting for five films in the last two years. It's just a coincidence that three of them have come together."
    He's delighted at the chance to be so versatile so early in his career. "Especially 'Hazaaron Khwahishein' ... which was actually my first film."

    Shiney feels like an outsider in Bollywood.
    "But at the end of the day the industry does recognize true talent. That's why I never shy away from auditioning for roles. I can't understand why colleagues feel insulted. I love doing auditions even if I feel I'm not suitable for a role.
    "When I auditioned for my roles in 'Sins' or 'Hazaaron Khawhishein' I knew I was a different person from what I had to play. But because I had done 60-70 ads in a very short time, I had a clear insight into the character's psyche. When I auditioned I made sure they could see the character in me."
    Shiney has taken part in a lot of theatre workshops.
    "I guess that helped me do the complex roles in 'Sins' and 'Hazaaron Khwahishein' ... It is interesting how I got my character Vikram's role in Sudhir Mishra's film. I auditioned for K.K. Menon's part.

    "But I also read the lines of the other hero. They thought I was more like the wheeler-dealer Vikram than the idealist Siddharth. In real life I think I'm a bit of both."


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