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February 24, 2001


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He's charming. Oh yes.

But Aryan Vaid is NOT your typical boy-next-door. He is one of India's hottest male models, the winner of the Mr India and Grasim Mr International titles, a qualified chef, a lifestyle columnist with The Hindustan Times. Surprised?!

Don't let his devilish grin or those bulging biceps do you in. There's more to him than meets the eye.

Vivek Fernandes met the man who's ready to storm the silver screen. Excerpts:

Why films?

I started out acting. I began with the serial, Campus in my last year of college and I have been constantly involved with theatre.

Modelling was always something I did on the side. Everybody assumes that because I won the title, I've moved from modelling to acting. It's actually the other way round.

Why acting?

Because I've always wanted to act. Not having a background in acting was a small deterrent. My parents didn't encourage it.

Aryan Vaid I was much into music at one time. There's always been that creative side to me. I would write my own songs when I was performing with a band that we had formed in school called the Extraterrestrials.

I assumed that I would go the Freddy Mercury way. But then came my SSC exams. I scored 80% and although I didn't want to do science, the logical conclusion was that I pursue the subject. I ended up doing science for two years and then completed my graduation from the catering college.

You know, you keep moving away from your childhood dreams because practicality sets in. I guess it took me some time to find my bearings and come to doing what I wanted to do. Strangely, it's been from television to stage to films now.

Which films are you working on?

I have signed up for a film called System with Jhamu Sughand as the producer opposite Sonali Bendre, and Heartbeat, with Pooja Batra and Nitish Roy.

System is about a cop's fight against the system. I play the cop. I know this is a regular happening in Hindi films. But this film is different in that it is not about the cop picking up a gun and going on a violent spree.

It is about how he uses intelligence to manoeuvre the game and work his way through the system.

Heartbeat is a youth-based musical. I play a singer who leaves home to come to Bombay to pursue his dream as a singer, and it's all about how he struggles to get a foothold in.

I have also signed another film with music as the backdrop. I can't say too much about the project. But this film has me as a dancer. It is based on the relationship between two celebrities and what they go through, how their personal lives are splashed across newspapers, how it affects their relationship and how they are ultimately forced to go their separate ways.

How different is the experience between stage, television and films?

Aryan Vaid and Pooja Batra Unfortunately, because of time constraints, even mediocrity is passable on television. All you need to do is remember the lines. You have probably two shifts to shoot an episode, so anything goes.

Television is not very satisfying for an actor. Though it is very satisfying in terms of the recognition it brings you. A successful television actor probably gets 10 times the recognition than an unsuccessful film actor.

When I was doing Campus, I used to get mobbed, which doesn't happen now.

Mr International probably reaches the educated masses of the country. I remember being surrounded by thousands of people at a puja in a temple. Another time, I got surrounded by people when I was travelling from Delhi to Haryana while shooting for Campus by car, we stopped at a dhaba along the way and I was immediately recognized. That doesn't happen much anymore … now it would probably happen at say, the airport or the cinema.

Television is a very secure medium. Once you sign on, you know you're going to be busy. It's like a regular job.

A film is a huge canvas. You are looking at not just money but recognition too.

You have a chance to be part of history -- cinema history. Dilip Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh were all part of that history. You get to be part of people's memories.

For me, that is a motivating factor. I want to be remembered for my work even after I'm gone. I just hope I can make a mark.

The stage again is a wonderful medium for an actor. You can experiment; have a ball. You can express your potential on stage to the maximum.

Unfortunately, in India, you can't make a career in theatre. You only use that to hone your skills and instinct for better prospects. It's a training ground. You cannot depend on it as a regular source of income.

What has the experience been like acting with your costars Sonali and Pooja? How has working in the film world been?

My first shoot with Pooja was on the third day of the Heartbeat shoot, and though she's worked with the best she was extremely sweet. Fortunately, I haven't experienced people with an attitude.

Even some of the coactors like Sayaji Shinde who I've just worked with are brilliant, yet so humble.

Once you get over the awe factor, it's a great learning experience.

How difficult is it preparing yourself for a role?

When you're watching a film on screen, you never realise the amount of hard work that has gone into it behind the scenes.

Seemingly insignificant things like the coordination between the dance movements of the actor and actress take effort and time. For me, it's a difficult process now.

Acting is a craft and it will take me some time to master it. Once you've been doing it long enough it becomes relatively easier. But it's not as easy as it seems, how does one create those emotions at all times. It's a switch on - switch off job …and that is the tricky part.

Acting is completely instinctive, and you have to develop that instinct. I don't believe in method acting. That is good only so far as enhancing your acting skills go. Unfortunately people use method to hide their flaws.

Acting can't be planned. It is that moment of magic with the energy bouncing off the actors.

But yes, you have to prepare -- you have to be focused, and your concentration levels have to increase so that lines can be remembered, your emotions can be tapped easily.

Aryan Vaid at the Grasim Mr International Pageant Are you a director's actor?

Yes, very much. I guess all of us are. I don't think any actor, no matter how great they are can go above the script. In India, though that still happens.

Often, the actors may do things their own way; which the script may not warrant. I don't have enough knowledge of the medium to go beyond the script, to see beyond the editing pattern. I am completely dependent on the director for his guidance.

The past year and a half has seen a bevy of newcomers in the film world...

Yes, the industry has seen a lot of new blood, and that has been encouraging. Hrithik's entry came in as a breath of fresh air.

The economics of the industry are also working in favour of newcomers. The money involved is a lower than it used to be per film, we've perhaps beaten the star system this way.

It's a great trend…but only the ones who deserve to survive will and I hope I'm one of them.

How would you compare yourself with Hrithik or Abhishek?

I believe that if I perform to the best of my abilities I will survive. Even when I was contesting for Mr India and Mr International, I wanted to give it my best shot. I don't want to have any regrets.

Every actor is a different person. Success depends on how you explore your talents, how you use your voice, your mannerisms, your body, to fit into the character you are playing.

Shah Rukh is an amazing actor, but I can't really use him as a benchmark because people have already seen his style. I have to develop my own style within your own parameters.

A lot of models have moved off the ramp onto the silver screen, Milind Soman and Rahul Dev for example, but that transition was much later on in their careers, after they were well established. Do you think that your foray into films is still rather immature?

I don't think I can really answer your question. Perhaps you should ask Rahul and Milind.

I was offered Heartbeat. I had no clue as to what good narrative element in a film was.

Ideally, I would love to have a launch like Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai.

But then again, my dad's not Rakesh Roshan, my uncle's not Rajesh Roshan. One can't really plan in this business. I can't say that a Subhash Ghai or Karan Johar will sign me on for his next film. You have to make do with the offers that come your way.

Design: Lynette Menezes

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