If there's one word that sums up Jatin Grewal, it's cool.
One day before the release of his debut film, Rahul, the cool Cancerian sits sipping his cappuccino, and talks to me about his claim to fame.
No jitters, no insecurities. Just very pragmatic.
This former Gladrags Manhunt winner holds an MBA degree from Pune. And shows no hesitation in admitting to his mistakes and shortcomings. "There are so many areas in which I must improve," he says.
Priyanka Bhattacharya meets up with Jatin Grewal. Excerpts:
How did you get into modelling and acting?
I was runner-up at the Gladrags Manhunt in 1998. I am originally from Nainital. After the contest, I soon moved to Bombay, where I started off with a few ads and music videos.
Then one day I met Prakashji at a party. He offered me a role in his film. And that was Rahul.
Were films planned or was it accidental?
Well I was keen on getting into films. But I never really tried too hard. Everything kind of just fell into place. It was very natural.
Rahul is not the typical launchpad. What are your comments?
You know, every actor has a different perception about himself. As far as I am concerned, a very senior director representing a big banner approached me to act for them. The subject was good and they felt I suited the role.
In fact I didn't even screen test. They just saw a few show reels of mine and decided it was going to be me.
This isn't your first time in front of the camera. But this is your first stint at acting. Tell us about the experience.
Acting has so many facets to it. It includes emotions, your mental frame of mind at that time, your rapport with you coactors, being at ease with your surroundings...
For me, acting is not too tough. I had full faith in my director. He got out
what he wanted from me.
Recently, we had a press show of Rahul. I must admit I have a long way to go.
There are so many areas in which I need to improve.
I mean if I had to do Rahul again, I'd definitely try so many new things.
A press show... That means you had journalists and critics analysing your work. Was that
No, not really.
You know, after the show many came up to me and told me just where I needed improvement. They told me my strong and weak points. It was encouraging. Constructive criticism always helps.
Did you go in for any formal training before shooting for Rahul?
For a brief time I was under Namit Kishore Kapoor.
Then just before Rahul I did a two-month workshop with Sameep Singh from National School of Drama. I've also trained under Shakur master for dance, but that's one aspect I haven't had to showcase in Rahul. [laughs]
Okay, now, getting on to the people you worked with. How was it working with Prakash Jha?
Well, all I can say is that he a fantastic director. Very energetic. And he knows exactly what he wants.
What was it like working with Neha?
Well, Neha has already worked in a few films earlier. So she was obviously more confident than me. She's a very sweet girl. And very supportive. It was great working with her.
Hey, that reminds me, I must call her up. Rahul is releasing tomorrow!
And you played papa to Yash...
Yash plays my son Rahul in the film. He is an amazing kid.
We used to hang around together all day on the sets. He would sit on my lap all the time. I was very comfortable acting with him.
He is so candid about everything. Recently, we were on a talk show together. He told the audience, very seriously, that though he enjoyed working in Rahul, he found it a bore sometimes.
Whenever he wanted to play he was made to shoot, and when he wanted to shoot, they told him to play!
Tell us about your first shot.
It was this scene where I take Rahul to his mom and tell him to tell her that he hates her.
The music of Rahul is really catching on. Which is your favourite song in the film?
No doubt about it: Chhed naa.
Shooting's done. Film over. What memory will you take back with you?
Ah, the first thing that comes to my mind is the time I fell off a horse while shooting. We were riding perfectly fine when, suddenly, the horse just reared and threw me off.
I couldn't shoot for three days after that.
What are your expectations from the film?
I just hope to carve a niche for myself. It's a very well made movie, very emotional. I just hope that people like the film, enjoy it, like me and enjoy watching me!
What else are you working on?
Nothings finalised yet. There are some good projects in the pipeline. I've signed three more projects for Mukta Arts.
Are there any specific people you would like to work with?
No one in particular. A good director with a nice script and I'm happy.
Who are your role models in the industry?
Again, no one in particular. I mean every actor has his or her very own attributes and strong points. So I don't have any specific role model as such.
Rahul releases all over the country tomorrow. What are you feeling right now?
Umm. I'm just a little numb. A little excited. Not too tense.
I mean I've been home cleaning up all day. Now I'm here having coffee with you.
I am waiting for people to see me act and comment. But I'm not too nervous. I'm pretty much relaxed right now.
The Rahul review.