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Freddy Daruwala, the HUNKY villain from Holiday

Last updated on: June 17, 2014 14:01 IST

Freddy Daruwala, the HUNKY villain from Holiday

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Patcy N/Rediff.com in Mumbai

The hunky model left quite an impression on the audience with his villainous turn in Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha starrer Holiday.

Farhad Daruwala
, better known as Freddy Daruwala in modelling circles, made a rather obscure acting debut with a film titled Mummy Punjabi in 2011.

But his villainous turn in turn in the A R Murgadoss-helmed film has earned him good reviews.

In conversation with Rediff.com's Patcy N, the hunky actor-model gives us an account of his journey from modelling to acting, his experience of working in a big league film like Holiday, how he got to punch his costar Akshay Kumar and shooting with Sanjay Dutt in the now shelved Sher.

I was born and brought up in Surat. My dad is Parsi and my mom is Gujarati. I studied in Gujarati medium at St Xavier’s High School in Surat.

I was a smart student and got good marks. I loved playing cricket and thought I would make a career in cricket or motorcycle racing.

But when I had to choose between my education and cricket, I chose to study electronic engineering at a college 60 km from Surat in a place called Valod (famous for the Lijjat papad). I had to travel for more than two hours each way.

I came to Mumbai to do an MBA. Here, I got attracted to the modelling world. I was doing my MBA when I participated in the Mr and Miss University. I was first runner-up.

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Image: Freddy Daruwala


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'Modelling has a limited career span'

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I loved modelling so I settled in Mumbai and started looking for modelling assignments

In 2007, I saw the advertisement for Mr India World pageant organised by the Times Group. I participated and ended up as first runner-up.

I was in the last year of my MBA course but I gave it up.

My parents were a bit apprehensive at the beginning about the modelling. But they were supportive. However, no one except my parents supported my decision.

My father was in the transport business and is now retired. My mother is a homemaker, and I have an elder sister who is married.

After my win, I got a big ad campaign -- Nivea for men.

This ad gave me enough money and confidence. After that came Raymonds and Reliance and I had a lot of contracts within a year.

People in the fashion world started noticing me and I started walking the ramp too. Once I entered the fashion world, there was no looking back.

I didn't know where to go from there though. Modelling has a limited career span; you can't be in this line for more than five years.

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Image: Freddy Daruwala


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'I got rejected many times during the auditions'

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realised that I was interested in acting so I started doing theatre workshops. I took acting classes too.

I did everything possible to learn the craft. I was an outsider and not a star son and had to establish myself.

In 2009, I started meeting people who matter in the movie business -- casting directors, producers… I started giving auditions. I got rejected many times.

Every time I failed I would try to figure out what went wrong. Sometimes I would not fit the character yet I would go and give the audition so that I would get to learn something.

I was modelling in the meantime. That helped me survive in Mumbai.

I did a cameo in a Punjabi film titled Mummy Punjabi in 2007. It was made by a friend and released in 2011.

I also met with a bad bike accident around the same time and I broke my collar bone, a rib and my left index finger.

I realised I couldn't take such risks. I was bed-ridden for almost two months, and there was a doubt that I had a spinal injury but later it was ruled out.

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Image: Freddy Daruwala


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'Sanjay Dutt is a chilled out guy'

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In 2012, I worked in a film called Sher which had Sanjay Dutt as the main lead. It was directed by Soham Shah.

The film got shelved as the production house ran into trouble and Dutt's case was going on at that time (Dutt was sent back to prison in 2013 for the Mumbai bombing case).

I shot for 60 days in Jaipur. I played Sanjay Dutt's friend in the film.

I shot a few days with him. He is a very chilled out guy. He is very kind. He was good to me.

I went to Vipul Shah's office for an audition. Honey Trehaan, his casting director, auditioned me for one of the films they were producing.

I was not selected for the role but they liked me. When they were casting for Holiday, Shah's office showed my old audition to the director A R Murgadoss.

He told me later that after seeing my audition for just 40 seconds, he had decided that I should be in the film. We started shooting for Holiday in December 2012.

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Image: Freddy Daruwala


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'I was nervous about doing stunts with Akshay Kumar'

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I was sent for martial arts and parkour training for eight months before shooting for Holiday began.

I continued training even after the shooting began. I was injured many times and underwent physiotherapy. I bled a few times too.

I was not nervous on the first day of the shoot, but I was certainly nervous the day I had to do stunts with Akshay Kumar.

He was really kind and sweet and acted like an elder brother.

He took me aside, put his arm on my shoulder and asked me, 'Are you scared of anything?'

I told him, 'I am scared I might hit you.'

He said, 'Don’t worry, you have been trained, right?' and I said I had.

He told me, 'A good fighter is the one who hurts no one.'

He explained calmly and I felt so good. He was so understanding and very caring.

But when the action director said 'Action,' I hit him right on his face, on his nose!

I was so embarrassed.

He was very calm and said, 'Don't worry, brother, these things happen. I knew it would happen. Feel a bit more confident about it and let’s do it again.'

That's when I realised that these big actors are not just big because of their work; they are big because they are more considerate and they are prepared for anything.

I started admiring him all the more. He is an absolute darling. He would take care of me and look after me, make sure I was comfortable.

When he introduced me to the media, he praised me. He said that I was hard working and very talented.

Akshay had no godfather in the industry and has struggled hard to reach the top. I look up to him. He has a special place in my life and my career.

Everybody loves him when he is on the sets, he is a riot, he jokes around, he plays pranks.

All his staff has been with him for 15 to 20 years -- that says a lot about the guy.

He never throws his weight around on the sets. He comes on the sets on time and is very disciplined. He sleeps early, wakes up early, he does his routine of exercises, eats healthy.

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Image: Freddy Daruwala with Akshay Kumar on Comedy Nights With Kapil

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'Bad reviews have been outnumbered by good ones for my performance in Holiday'

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Director A R Murgadoss is a man of few words but he is also a genius.

He is a very calm person and guided me throughout. He doesn't proceed to the next scene till he gets what he wants. 

There were a lot of things I had to learn since this was my first full length role. 

For the stunt scenes, I would come early on the sets and rehearse for an hour, and only after that I would start shooting so that I did not waste anyone's time. My director was very happy with me.

People love my work in Holiday. Critics have given me good reviews.

I have got a few bad reviews too, but they are outnumbered by the good ones. I have got a female following too because of Holiday!

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Image: Freddy Daruwala

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