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Chunky...freaky as ever

HIS STARS in Bollywood may have deserted him but his behaviour continues to be that of a star. Actor Chunky Pandey - who was forced to take a hiatus from Hindi cinema when his career was on the wane - gave another manifestation of his starry ways. Old habits die hard - particularly in case of this flamboyant actor - who makes the scribes wait for an hour at New Delhi's Hotel Le Meridien.

Apologising for his late turn-up he parries uncomfortable questions and is more at ease to oblige autograph hunters than divulging details on his forthcoming films. Chunky hasn't forgotten his enactment in memorable films like "Insaniyat" in which Amitabh Bachchan did a foot stomping number, "Tere Dil Mein Yeh, Iske Dil Me Tu" and "Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi" with Akshay Kumar. Though he has a big fan following in Bangladesh, yet he says, "I don't know any Bangla" He hasn't much to say even when told that he is dubbed as Hrithik Roshan of Bangladesh.

Chunky weighs his words carefully. He sounds confident that he along with his co-actor and off-screen friend, Govinda would make the cash registers ring in the soon to be completed film, "Yahoo".It has been quite some time since he paired with Govinda in "Aankhen". Taking a long breath, he quips, "Govinda and I are great buddies. When Govinda featured in the television show anchored by Faroque Sheikh, `Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai' I took part in it." Didn't any filmmaker try to cast both of you together? Says he, "After `Aankhen' was a big hit many film-makers tried pairing us but to no avail. Pahlaj Nihalani tried but couldn't. Vijay Sinha tried too. Mehta's `Bhoot Bangla' couldn't fructify. For one film there was a mahurat also. Vijay Gilani couldn't fulfil his dream of casting us together. Now I am optimistic that `Yahoo' starring both of us will win the hearts of cinemagoers."

Is "Yahoo" in the same genre as `Aankhen'? Says he, "It is an entertainer, in which I play a double role :an actor and a spot boy while Govinda plays director- producer." Who is the love interest? "I am acting opposite Isha Kopikar and Hrishita Bhatt."

Was he into academics? "I was a naughty kid. I used to hurl water balloons in the school. In eighth class I collected `chanda' to direct a film. Even now some of my former classmates ask me to return their money. They say that I have become a film star but haven't changed one bit. During XI class exam paper I gave money to the invigilator. No, I am not going to tell you the name of the institution. I cheated from a girl's answer sheet. Both of us flunked. I was thrown out of many schools."

While Chunky sounds positive of delivering the goods with his wisecracks and "Thai boxing" in his comeback vehicle, `Yahoo" he doesn't seem so sure about "Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost" in which Abhishek Bachchan and Lara Dutta play pivotal roles. "Besides BSAMD there is Harry Baweja's `Qayamat'. Tinu Pandey's `Shor' is about gangsters. `Fresh Lime' is about relationship between a father and son."

MADHUR TANKHA

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