One more engineer -- director Nagesh Kukunoor was a chemical engineer before Hyderabad Blues beckoned -- has exchanged such an assignment for the limelight.
After six-and-a-half years of designing hydraulic machines, this six-footer chucked it all up to try his hand at acting. Mumbai called, but not before a brief stint with a theatre group in Pune where he hails from. Modelling followed. After lending his chocolate-boy looks to campaigns like Vimal Suitings, De Beers, ICICI Bank, Nescafe, even a contraceptive pill, Sameer got his big break as Raveena Tandon's young politician-in-the-making husband in Madhur Bhandarkar's Satta, which releases this Friday.
Satta has politics as its central subject. How does it fit into any newcomer's idea of a 'dream debut'? "Agreed, Satta raja rani ki film nahin hai but it starts with a raja and rani. As far as the script is concerned, I could not have asked for a better film. When you have Madhur Bhandarkar as director -- this is the same man who gave us Chandni Bar -- there was no way I could have let this film pass me. I was pretty sure what I was getting into," he says.
A common friend circulated his pictures around and Madhur saw them. Sameer was called for an audition after which Madhur gave him the "Do din ke baad phone karna" line.
Two days turned into eight. There was no sign of Madhur giving the green signal. Sameer met him and asked him for a straight yes or no. "I had no clue what the film was about, who my costar was and so on. Naturally, I was not sure if I was going to be selected. Besides, another filmmaker was waiting to sign me on. That offer too was equally attractive. Finally, Madhur told me since the producers of the film were a corporate company, he couldn't take the decision single-handedly. Only after everybody's approval would I be selected."
Sameer was indeed cast as Vivek Chauhan.
Ask him if working with Raveena Tandon gave him the jitters and he smiles. "I was nervous. Though when she was on the sets, she was just a co-actress, not a star. Besides, after we did a few scenes together, which included a bedroom scene, an emotional scene, a song and dance, the works, we were comfortable. Honestly, I looked up only to Madhur who kept egging me on to give my best. The rest of the world didn't matter. Besides, everybody was quite focused about work. There were no 'Mera juice kidhar hai' tantrums," says Sameer who also acted in a couple of Marathi films.
"I play Vivek Chauhan, a politician's heir who knows how to utilise power, both positively and negatively," he says. "I didn't really model my character on any of our contemporary politicians' sons though I picked various things from various people and made it seem like one character. I even copied Madhur's mannerisms."
"The film has turned out very well," he adds. "Jaya Prada loved it so much she is making it in Telugu. The film doesn't belong to any one actor. It is neither Raveena's film nor Atul Kulkarni's or Govind Namdeo's or Vallabh Vyas' film or my film. It is Madhur Bhandarkar's film. He has handled the subject very well. People will love it."
India News Feature Service