Arjun Mathur is a popular Indian actor who has made a mark with his performances in films such as ‘Luck By Chance’, ‘My Name is Khan’ and has bagged an important role in a British Television show called, ‘Indian Summers’ where he plays a revolutionary. His latest film, ‘Waiting’ premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival. Shweta Bhatia caught up with the talented actor
How has your journey been in the Indian film industry?
I started working as an assistant director in 2002 and did my first ad in 2006, my short film a year later and my first feature film in 2009. So all in all, it’s been good. Films were always the plan and every thing else preceding it is the starting point. I got really lucky with the short films that I did with Mira Nair and Farhan Akhtar.
Did you have to prepare for your role in ‘Luck By Chance’?
No, not really. Although of course, there was an initial hesitation as it was my first film and I was wondering if I should wait it out for something bigger or better but with Zoya (Akhtar) it was amazing as I knew her from before and my part was very well written. I knew she would treat it well, which she did so brilliantly.
You are the face of Godrej Ads. How did that happen?
Yes, I’ve done about 27 of them so far. There was this one TV show that I had done, which was called ‘Bring on the night’ which garnered a huge following online. The director for that show, Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy is also one of the directors for Corcoise Films, who really fought for me and cast me for the ads. Aamir Khan was already on board and then they put me on a contract and that was that.
How was it to share the screen space with Aamir Khan?
Fantastic. I have been a huge fan of his from the very beginning and he is a big inspiration and a large reason on why I wanted to get into acting. I had also worked on ‘The Rising’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’ with him as an assistant director so there had been a lot of interaction. But sharing screen space with him was a wonderful experience.
You choose a lot of character roles. Why is that?
As I’ve learnt now, gradually, there are enough people who are doing this whole Bollywood song and dance number. I see it as everyone trying to fit into the same mold. Also they are very well connected people. Most of them are star kids or someone who’s strongly connected to very important people in the industry and they will always get their big breaks. People like me need to find a different way to make my own mark and that’s when I felt that this is the right path for me. For me when I see myself on the screen, I don’t want to cringe. I’m proud of the work that I do.
Were you nervous about your guest appearance in ‘Waiting’, which screened at DIFF, with Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin?
Not at all. I knew from the beginning that this role is very short one. But honestly,I would do anything for Naseer and Kalki, both of whom I have worked with before. In any other film, I may have wanted to review my role and story more but with this star cast, I knew that it will be a work of integrity and sensibilities in place. I never read the script for ‘Waiting’.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Travel. I love travelling. I love to explore new places. There is so much to see and I can never get enough of it.