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Shifting track

Chocolate boy Abbas now turns to negative roles

COMMITTED Willing to do challenging roles Photo: M. Moorthy

His ambition was to become the hero of the skies, but he ultimately landed in the dream industry becoming a reel hero. His chocolate boy image and charm shot him into prominence overnight thanks to his maiden Tamil film, "Kaadhal Desam." It changed the course of his life ever since.

It is almost a decade now since Mirza Abbas Ali a.k.a Abbas entered Kollywood, doing a mosaic of roles, mostly romantic. Now, the model-turned-actor is trying to change his image by doing negative roles.

"It was an accident," begins Abbas about his entry into filmdom way back in 1995. His friend introduced him to film director Kathir in Bangalore when the latter was there in 1994. That was the time when Abbas was modelling in Mumbai, where he was pursuing his final year graduation. He had come to meet his pals in Bangalore. A year later came a call from producer K. T. Kunjumon's office after which everything happened in a flash.

"I was a stranger to the Tamil culture and never thought I would fit in here, since I was clean-shaven," he says.

Happy experience

The screen test was over and the contract signed immediately and thus was born actor Abbas in "Kaadhal Desam" when he was just 19. "I just did that as a hobby, but it was certainly a pleasurable experience acting with Tabu and Vineet," he says. "Being a smash hit, I didn't know how to overcome overnight stardom."

Once the project was over, Abbas wentback to Mumbai. But, the boyish image and the clean-shaven look fetched him more offers. He has done 65-70 movies till now in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.

"I thought cinema would be easy but it was very technical." His inability to speak Tamil did not come in his way and offers started to pour. The list includes V.I.P, Poochudava, Asaithambi, Ini Ellam Sugame, Kandu Kondein Kandu Kondein, Malabar Police, Padayappa and Hey Ram.

A romantic hero, Abbas had teamed up with another actor in most of his films, such as Vineet, Prabhu Deva, Ajit or Mammootty. "I learnt a lot from Vineet," he says. Teaming up with another actor helped him improve his work besides paving the way for a healthy competition. "I wanted to act with everybody."

He will not mind doing even a small role if it is to his satisfaction. "I believe in experimenting," he asserts. "If I like a script, I do it. Sometimes I have done films for money too as I have commitments," acknowledges Abbas.

What was it like working with superstar Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan? "Oh, Rajnikanth is just amazing. He has got the right attitude and encourages the co-artistes," says Abbas. "Kamal sir is a walking encyclopaedia."

Having picked up Tamil, Abbas says he is now trying to change his image. "I have taken efforts to change my chocolate boy image." In fact, he is doing an anti-hero role in a Telugu film Sathyam Shivam Sundaram. He has two Tamil films on hand.


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