When I entered the small living room of Abhimanyu Singh’s not so spacious apartment, I was taken aback. The day was just before the Christmas eve and believe me, the space looked colourful, it was filled with glitter, and even the Christmas tree wasn’t spared. Pillows were decorated with green, orange, purple, yellow and red. The sofa sheet was looking bright too…and I was going colour blind. Then you think for a second about Abhimanyu Singh, the actor whose fame has doubled up and made his career more colourful than ever before. Thanks to Gulaal and Anurag Kashyap, directors have started to take notice that very few actors have his talent, sex appeal, a big heart…and active imagination. Moving on further, he will soon be seen in Ram Gopal Varma’s revenge drama, Rakth Charitra
. He is excited and tells me, “You have to wait and see my best is still to come out in RC.” That’s not the actor informing me, it’s his confidence in the director that’s making him sound like that, and though he may not be the leading hero of Bollywood films, he can certainly lead the film on his shoulders alone. Such is his enormity in acting. His eyes are filled with vengeance… vengeance to perform and to take cinema to new heights. Standing six feet tall, he offers me some aromatic masala tea made by his wife accompanied by cashew nuts, biscuits and sweets. I compliment him on his interiors and he says, “It’s my wife who takes all the credit. She has always been this way, colourful and supportive, even when I didn’t have any money.” Then I look in his eyes and see a spark of life…a spark that goes a long way in building relations and building a better career. UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent Devansh Patel meets a man on a mission – Abhimanyu Singh.
Gulaal has added more colours to your career than any other film. How do you look at your career today?
Bang on! Absolutely right. I feel little charged up these days because I feel that our cinema is taking centre stage. Everybody likes to see a good realistic performance and they’re paying for it. Today’s young generation is so smart that they are aware of world cinema. So, I always believe in giving the real stuff to them and that’s where my career is today. It’s real than ever before.
My career today is real than ever before.
You’ve worked with the best in the industry, Anurag Kashyap and Ram Gopal Varma. What have you got out of them?
As a human being, you may be the same to everyone but as an actor you need to give out various characters all the time. Every time you have to be different. A great director has got the vision not many have. They have the perception of characters that you aren’t aware of. It is their job to bring that character out from your mind and body. You need to be subtle and not over the top. Both Anurag and Ramu are unique in their own ways. Shooting with them is something very special. I have worked with other directors but haven’t got that kind of a feeling. The moment I’m shooting for their films, it’s a different ball game all together.
Celina told me that the more you talk about Abhimanyu, the less it is.
That’s so great of her. I really like her generosity that she is appreciating me that way. Yes, I have really done something different in Accident On Hill Road. In fact, it is radically different from what I’ve done in Gulaal. I play a kind of a guy who indulges in drugs and cheats on his girlfriend. He doesn’t know where to go and what to do. He is trying to get something out of life all the time. You need to see the film to love my role.
You do look like a bit of Val Kilmer. I mean, you can switch from one get up to another in no time. You’re a perfect saint.
(laughs) People associate with my character a lot, and thank you for letting me know or comparing my looks with that of Val Kilmer. I can look a little different from what I usually look so that I can give a dimension to my character. I’d say, I can remain clean shaven in all my films and that will typecast me. The beard and the look I’ve put up now is for my new film Happy Journey in which I’m doing a special appearance opposite Kalki Koechlin.
Both Anurag and Ramu are unique in their own ways.
You’re playing a real life character in Accident on Hill Road. Have you met the guy?
No I haven’t because the film is a remake of a Hollywood film. The producers have taken the rights of the film. I think that Accident on Hill Road is a very tight film. It’s a fast film too. Initially it’s about Farooq Sheikh losing his wife, so there is a lull in the environment but slowly it picks up. The suspense of the film is whether the victim survives or not.
The suspense of the film is whether the victim survives or not.
Brief me about Celina Jaitley please. We want to know more about her from you.
I think she is climbing up the ladder of Bollywood fast. More people are taking her seriously and she has proved it by winning the Best Actress award at the Cairo International Film Festival. Her character in this film has got lots of shades. It’s given her a huge platform to showcase her untapped talent. It’s Celina’s most meatier role.
How serious are you in your real life?
I’m not too serious yaar! I don’t take myself seriously. I’m just a common man who enjoys his life like millions do. Yes, I am serious about my work. Yes, I am serious about making a mark on 70mm. I’ve been doing theatre since eight years now with Makarand Deshpande. Five hundred people used to come, see the play and go away. With films, my audience has grown by leaps and bounds.
Would you go to the theatres on 31st December to see a film?
Yes, why not? Of course, in all the big metros they might not get their audiences, but in small towns and cities, they will definitely catch the film. It’s not often that you see a film releasing on 31st December. Now that it is, I think I might too catch the film on the same day.
I’ve been doing theatre since eight years now. With films, my audience has grown by leaps and bounds.
Would you like to work with Madhur Bhandarkar too? That way, you may just be working with the three aces in our industry.
Yes, why not? I’d love to work with him. I love his cinema and he is a brilliant director. He always brings out something new with his films and his characters. His best film so far is Chandni Bar. Having said that, I did love Page 3, Fashion and Jail too. He is a classic.
Slowly but surely, don’t you think you should be doing meatier roles?
I am doing them now, and Rakth Charitra is doing just that because the screen length is much bigger than Gulaal. There are so many scenes in the film that I’ve come out with surprising performances. Each scene in RC will hit you like a pile of bricks. I was looking for this and Ramu came at the right time to my rescue (laughs).