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The Rediff Interview / Zayed Khan
Vivek Fernandes | April 28, 2004
He has interviews scheduled back to back all day, followed by a private screening and then the cast party.
All this after he has completed radio shows, a few more shoots and casting his vote. Did we mention a root canal appointment with the dentist? And a charity screening for children with cancer.
Zayed Khan can breathe easy. At his father Sanjay Khan's palatial bungalow in suburban Juhu, he speaks with Vivek Fernandes on first takes and second chances.
Unconsciously, everything I did all my life -- learning martial arts, how to dance, going to the beach to learn how to throw my voice -- I did knowing at the back of my head that I would use it as an actor.
On following his calling through school and college:
I studied at Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu, [Mumbai] till Grade Six, after which I moved to Wellham Boys School, Dehra Dun and then to Kodaikanal International School.
I remember participating in the productions at Wellham, and playing the lead roles in all my productions. Of course, it was all English theatre. I didn't attempt any theatre in Hindi, which I am doing now.
I went to study Business Administration at Montgomery College, Maryland. It wasn't great, but my grades were not too great either. At the time, I was more interested in the birds and the bees.
Later, I spoke to dad about studying film and moved to study at the London Film School, where I did a two-year diploma. That was good learning because of the hands-on experience in all the aspects of filmmaking -- from writing to sound to light to direction and action with the option to specialise in the second year.
I was sitting on the sets of Aap Mujhe Acche Lagne Lage because I was very keen to watch Hrithik [Roshan, his brother-in-law] shoot an action scene.
Someone from Pantaloons [the producers of the film] spotted me there and called me. It was still my preparation period, but I liked the script. I cut a deal and went ahead with Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne.
I was just back from Goa with a broken leg, sporting a ragamuffin beard and unkempt, untamed hair. As luck would have it, she was looking for someone just like me for my role in Main Hoon Na.
She called me one day and I found myself at Shah Rukh Khan's office. And from then on, it is history.
So I took her to Empire Theatre and showed her some scenes from Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne. The lights came on, there was pindrop silence and not a word was exchanged. I was having a heart attack. I remember walking her all the way back to her car and she still didn't say anything. By this time, I was going to die.
She got into the car, very casually put her hand up and said, "Send me your measurements tomorrow." I was thrilled.
Of course, you need to be well directed in terms of what point in the film you are at and where you ought to be in terms of your emotional graph. I maintain that I am as good as my director.
Shah Rukh plays the angel from God, the white feather who changes every one else. He helps Lucky see that he can't blame the world for the way he's turned out and take on his responsibilities, sooner or later. During the process of conflict and trails, my character grows to understand that. Then he comes back to return the favour to his brother. Zayed's favourite date flicks Main Hoon Na Kal Ho Naa Ho Finding Nemo The Return Of The King
Zayed's favourite date flicks
Main Hoon Na
Kal Ho Naa Ho
The Return Of The King
There was a lot of rubbing off on each other, performance-wise, and that led to a healthy friendship. She is really going to surprise a lot of people. She stole the show in the dance numbers, even in the one I am in. You will have a hard time taking your eyes off her.
I am not one to count my chickens before they are hatched, but I will say that this is one of those movies that will make a lot of people happy.
I had just come out of Mohabbat hai mirchi in my last film, but you could not compare it to this five-minute song with no cuts. We rehearsed every day in Mumbai for 30 days to get it right. And every day after pack-up in Darjeeling to get used to oxygen levels because the air was thinner there.
It took its toll but we were so happy to see the end product that we would do it again any time.
Shabd has Aishwarya woking with me, and I team up with Abhishek, Suniel Shetty and Sanjaybhai [Dutt] for Hum. I have begun working on all three projects, but am not sure when they will release.
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