He is wild, mad and sometimes can get even. Just like his character Mikhail, who is Charlie’s (Shahid Kapoor) friend in Kaminey. No disrespect here but he is passionately insane and highly intelligent. He can read your mind. So on a hot and surprisingly sunny afternoon when we visit Chandan Roy Sanyal aka Mikhail, he offers us something that we couldn’t comply but had to resist. A nice chilled beer was left with no takers. He remarks, “I love my alcohol, do you?” His looks are deceptive too. We thought he was going to be dark skinned, tall and slim. So when UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent met the juvenile actor at his house, he was surprised to find him a five feet something, fair skinned and fit. But he did come across as a weirdo, in a good way. When you walk into his living room, your eyes are a witness to a glass framed posters of Kill Bill, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Trainspotting, and a shocker: An American flag in his bedroom. That is Chandan Roy Sanyal for you!
Mikhail is mad and wild in Kaminey. How much of a mad man are you in real life?
I am mad like Mikhail, sometimes though. In the film, my role is over the top. He is melodramatic too. Vishal Bhardwaj saw Mikhail living his life on the edge. He is funny, naughty, sexy and can fall anytime, but he isn’t scared of that. I am like that in real life.
The first day of the shoot was my song ‘Dhan Te Nan’. The set was put up somewhere in Andheri. It was raining heavily at that time
We heard that the entire crew was chasing you for your role including Vishal. How strange a chase was it?
(Laughs) It was very strange and mad chase. The casting director of the film, Honey, who had also done casting for Omkara, was casting for Aamir Khan Productions film Delhi Belly. I was short listed for that film. But for some reason it didn’t work out. During that time I was traveling with a British company and acting in a musical called ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream’. I was performing in Europe and England at that time. Honey called me for a role testing of Mikhail in India. I tested for the film and went back to the U.S. One night I was drunk in San Francisco when I suddenly decided to call Honey. The moment the mobile was answered, the voice said, “Where the hell are you man? People are trying to trace you and Vishal Bhardwaj is looking for you all over the place.” Yes, my entry into films was a bit dramatic (laughs).
Do you remember the first day of your shoot for Kaminey?
Of course yes, I do. I got the script mailed to me in the U.S and I returned back to India a week before the shoot of the film began. The first day of the shoot was my song ‘Dhan Te Nan‘. The set was put up somewhere in Andheri. It was raining heavily at that time. I had long curly hair but Vishal sir wanted them to be straightened. It became a mess and I had to chop it off a bit. One my first day I wasn’t given a script. I was only informed about my character that is a bit wild and mad. I kept talking for twenty minutes on my own and then improvised the dialogue just before the song starts.
It must be so fascinating to see people just walk past you without recognizing you. Isn’t it?
Yes it does. I’ll tell you what has been happening these days with me. When I go to any café or a cinema, they play ‘Dhan Te Nan‘ sometimes. I hear a lot of young crowd saying, “This guy with Shahid is really crazy. He is all over the place. He is mad.” I am standing behind them having a cigarette and they are talking about me. Suddenly they turn and say, “Excuse me”, and leave. I feel like an invisible man in a room. It’s fun.
As you come from the theatre background, did you manage to give your inputs to Shahid on him playing Charlie?
It was the other way round. He gave me a lot of inputs in terms of technicalities of acting. I used to get carried away with my emotions but he told me to show my face on the right as the camera was overlooking us from the right. I would go off frame, etc. There was an action scene where I had to punch Shahid. When Vishal sir said ‘action’ I punched him so hard that he was in severe pain. I was thinking of myself as Puneet Issar at that time (laughs). That’s the time we broke the ice and we got along really well. Most of my scenes in Kaminey are with Shahid.
What about Priyanka Chopra?
I haven’t got a chance to interact with her because we do not share any scene together from the film. I did see her perform in front of the camera and I think she is a rock star.
What should people look out for in Kaminey?
I think the humour. It is not over the top and it’s a film where people are getting killed and you are laughing. That’s the effect Kaminey will leave on you.
It’s a film where people are getting killed and you are laughing
Any kind words about your performance from Shahid and Vishal?
Yes. I do remember. It was Rekha Bhardwaj’s party (Vishal sir’s wife). Everyone had gone down after the party got over and Vishal sir and I went for a fag. That’s when he told me, ‘Tu bahut g***du actor hain.’ I received a text from Shahid which read, ‘Shonamuni (sweetie pie)…you have arrived!’