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March 15, 2002

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Playing safe with Amar Upadhyay

Amar Upadhyay You saw him in Jaya Bachchan's television serial, Dekh Bhai Dekh and, later, in Tulsi, Kalash and Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

Amar Upadhyay, more popular as Mihir Virani (his character in Kyunki...) has come a long way from modelling and acting in television serials.

The actor now has a prominent role in Raman Kumar's Wah Wah Ramji. He was slated to work in J P Dutta's LoC, but is off the unit, now. Apparently, he failed to report for the shooting as he was unwell. The first schedule of the film has already been completed in Shimla.

Meanwhile, Ronjita Kulkarni gets together with the actor for a tete-a-tete: Amar Upadhyay

What brought you into films?

I couldn't get a job after my engineering degree. Besides, I have always wanted to work in films. I have always wanted to be recognised.

It was too early to get into films then. So I groomed myself on television. In 1994, some of my photographs appeared in Stardust magazine. Then, Jaya Bachchan offered Dekh Bhai Dekh, which was a success. I soon worked in serials like Arzoo, Suhana Safar, Tulsi, Kyunki Saas... and Kalash.

Then J P Dutta's film LoC came along last July.

Your one attempt to work in a film, Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, bombed. Are you nervous about coming back to films?

Amar Upadhyay Very. Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, Satish Shah's film, was delayed in the making. But films make me very nervous. The industry is very risky, because everything is on such a large scale. Television is quite safe.

Though I don't want to be classified into any role. So far, I have romantic and action roles. I haven't been offered any anti-hero role yet. But I am open to it.

You have come a long way from Dekh Bhai Dekh...

Well, people thought I would never make it in films. They thought I could not act. I was rejected many times. I took criticism in my stride. But I wanted to prove myself. I did not get any credit for Dekh Bhai Dekh's success. For a year, I didn't get good offers from television. My debut film bombed.

Finally, Tulsi boosted my confidence. People started believing in me. Aroona Irani offered Mehndi Tere Naam Ki. Then Kyunki Saas... happened.

Your death in Kyunki Saas... made you an overnight starů Amar Upadhyay

Yes. I was even mobbed in Delhi once. That's how I knew I was popular.

What films will we see you in?

Quite a few. In Wah Wah Ramji, I play a straightforward man who falls in love with a chirpy, vibrant girl. Dhoondh is a musical thriller. I play a photographer who gets involved in a murder. The role is similar to that of Akshay Kumar in Khiladi.

In Hum Aapke Hain Deewane, I play a middle class man in love with a rich girl. I get caught for a murder even though I am innocent. I am also working in a film produced by Aroona Irani. I play a singer who falls in love with a widow. I have an intense role in the film.

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