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Bollywood's Everyman



Vijay Raaz: `I do some roles for the money.'

MARRIAGE PLANNER. Beggar. Roadside Romeo. We know Vijay Raaz revels in realism. Continuing with his love Vijay will soon be driving an autorickshaw in Hari Om, a Bharatbala production. "It is an Indo-French film where three characters are on a self discovery trip. I am playing a colourful auto driver who introduces Rajasthan to the foreign characters in his rickshaw called Madhuri." Giving him company is Jean Marie Lamour as an arrogant Frenchman and Camille Natta as Lamour's girlfriend. "The film captures the fantastic chemistry between the driver and the French lady as he helps her discover the true spirit of India. There are many comic and sarcastic elements in the story." The film has already been selected for many film festivals, including the prestigious Toronto Film Festival.

No daydreamer

Film festivals are nothing new to Raaz; the actor has recently won the best actor award at a fest in Bangladesh for his hilarious performance in Raghu Romeo. He takes umbrage when somebody calls his performance as something closer to Mungerilal. "I don't daydream in real life, and with increasing exposure to satellite television, characters like Romeo can be seen in our society."

However, what surprises most about the actor is that he takes his love for the real to his life. Someone who comes across as more of a philosopher than an actor, Vijay speaks of self-abnegation, derides Bollywood's cardboard heroes, and if somebody thinks he acts, he corrects: "I live characters most of the time. God has given me such a face that people think I am doing some comic act. During college days when I was into theatre at NSD repertory even my parents used to say I could not make it to films with this face. Yes, I do some roles just for the sake of money where I just follow what the filmmaker says."

Vijay elaborates: "In Prarambh I played a beggar. Now my take is that everybody in this world is a beggar. One who goes to the temple begs in front of the deity and then comes out to give alms to the poor whom this world consider beggars." Hari Om!

ANUJ KUMAR

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