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The Rediff Interview / Zafar Karachiwala

'My director is mad. Thank god!'

Patcy N | July 08, 2005

Zafar KarachiwalaThe fresh-faced Zafar Karachiwala has done the obligatory television stint in shows like Hip Hip Hurray, and been part of the scenery in films like Zakhm.

Recently seen in Chai Pani Etc, Zafar now plays an interesting role in Anup Kurian's critically acclaimed Mansarovar, which finally hits theatres on Friday.

Zafar spoke to Patcy N about his co-stars, making Mansarovar, and why he thinks his director is mad. Excerpts:

Anup Kurian was looking for someone to play George, and he was auditioning a lot of people. I met him for dinner and spoke to him about the work that I do, and about myself. He found that I was very much like this character. Right then he decided I would be fit for the part. I didn't have to audition.

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I am very close to the character. George Nair is a very focussed and determined human being. I am not as focused as he is but I share his drive. If he wants a certain thing, he makes sure he gets it. In this movie, George has only one aim -- to make as much money as he can, and to be successful.

But he realises whatever he has is temporary. He is a human resource consultant (who) fires people left, right and centre. He is very materialistic, and urban -- a typical south Bombay brat, which is what I am! (Laughs)

He is also unattached emotionally, which I am not. I am very emotional and care for people. But I understand that sort of character.

When my character meets Malati (Neha Dubey), he realises this is one human being with whom he can have a relationship. He finds Malati to be exuberant and crazy. She is fun to be with, but still he doesn't let anything affect his career and stays away from her.

Zafar KarachiwalaAtul Kulkarni and Neha Dubey write letters to each other, and Atul wants to marry her. Atul is a poet and a lover, completely different from my character. He plays my brother in the film, and he and I meet Malati at different times.

Mansarovar is the lake in the Himalayas where people go to get nirvana. So we are basically showing three different types of people and their lifestyles; where will they end up at the end of their lives, with or without each other. In the end, Neha's character goes to visit Mansarovar.

All the three characters lose something in life. It's a very subtle film. It doesn't say much. We are not making any great moral statement.

Anup (Kurien), our director, is quite a cartoon. We were shooting at the Munshi Lake in Pune, and it was raining heavily. We had to wait for the rain to stop and then shoot, so we couldn't get much footage. But Anup was enjoying himself; he wore his lungi and took an umbrella and went to check the depth of the water. It was like a big picnic!

Anup is a distinct individual -- there is only one of him in this world. And I thank god for that! He is mad, but, at the same time, very quiet. He doesn't say much. As a director, he allows you to do your own thing, which is very scary for an actor. If something is going really wrong, he stops you. Otherwise he just lets you be creative and on your own.

Atul is fantastic as an actor. He has great presence on the screen. He seems so natural and real. At the end of the day, when you see the rushes, you know that he knows exactly how he should perform.

Neha is a joker; she always makes people laugh. She makes acting seem very easy. She is not a method actor. She doesn't have to think much.

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