Let's start with your first profession modelling. Did you always aspire to be a model? To be honest with you, I always dreamt of becoming a cricketer. But I did not have the courage to quit college and purse my interest since my parents were particular about we completing our education. I belonged to a middle class family where education was important. My father is an I. P. S. officer and my mother is a teacher. I had to follow their footsteps, but destiny had other plans. During my stint in college, Rohit Khosla saw me at a disco and instantly asked me to model for Raymonds. I had not heard Rohit Khosla's name before, but I decided to give it a try. Likewise. I never imagined that I would become an actor. It just happened. How did you bag first project DUS? It was 1996 when MAD Communications offered me an ad film. The offer later extended to a film by the name of Dus. But why did it take so long you to take a plunge in acting, unlike your brother Mukul Dev, who came after you and grabbed several film assignments? Mukul Dev came to Bombay in 1995 to appear for an interview for the post of a pilot in Air India, but nothing materilised out of the interview. However, he decided to stay back in Bombay. Luckily for him, he got his first break by Mukul Anand, which was followed by Mahesh Bhatt's Dastak. On the other hand, I entered the industry much later, when Mukul Anand offered me the role in Dus. It is sad that the film did not see the light of the day. Dus was my first film and I had a powerful role in it, par Khushiyaan aur Gham zindagi mein saath-saath chalte hain. DUS took a long time in the making, so did CHAMPION. Why didn't you sign any film in the intervening period? I joined the acting institute when I was signed for Dus. It was in the acting institute that I happened to meet Sujit Kumar-ji's son, Jatin, who helped me get the role in Champion. I don't think Champion has took a long time in the making. Besides, I did sign three other films in this periodIndra Kumar's Aashiq, Shah Rukh Khan's Ashoka-The Great and another film, Mukti. What made you start your career with a negative role in CHAMPION? Prior to Chamion, my role in Dus was comparable to the role of Gabbar in Sholay, played by Amjad Khan. The role in Champion can be compared to the role played by Shah Rukh Khan in Baazigar. But that does not mean I am keen on doing only negative roles. It all depends on the story and the characetrerisation. For instance, I am playing a negative both Champion and Indu-ji's Aashiq, but in Shah Rukh Khan's Ashoka-The Great, I am playing a strong supporting role. On the other hand, I am playing the male lead in Mukti. It is often said models make lousy actors. Do you agree? We must not forget that the best actress as well as best supporting actress awards last year went to Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen, who were models before they took to acting. One can definitely say that models have been a bit unlucky in their acting careers, but Jackie Shroff was a leading model and is amongst the best actors we have today. In fact, before casting me for Ashoka-The Great, Santosh Sivan personally took my screen test and was convinced that I was the actor he was looking for to play that particular part in the film. How different is your character in CHAMPION when compared to the conventional villain in Hindi films? My character in 'Champion' is not the typical villain you see in every second film. In fact, you can even relate to him. This character is much more realistic. Doing ramp on stage and essaying a character in front of the camera are two different things. What difference did you notice between the two? When I am into ramp modelling, my personal style compliments the product I am modelling for. In contrast, one has to get into the character one is playing in films. In Champion, the name of my character is Nazeer, so the identity of Rahul Dev does not exist. But every actor has a different style of essaying a certain role, which distinguishes him from others. Their was speculation that your brother Mukul Dev and you are coming together in a film project. How far is it true? The project is indeed in the pipeline but I would not like to comment on it till everything is finalised. I' d rather talk about my film that is due for release. Tell us what do you think of this feature By Taran Adarsh (Taran is the Trade Guide editor and writes for IndiaFM)
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