His last release Puraani Jeans may not have been a commercial success; however Tanuj Virwani was appreciated for his confident act. As a silent lover, he impressed many with his subtle act. Now he would be seen in an altogether different characterisation as he turns into an obsessive lover with One Night Stand. While he has gone through a complete transition for his characterisation, Tanuj has also worked extensively on his costumes, body language, diction, dialogue delivery, mannerisms and facial expressions. As the Jasmine D’Souza directed film – which has Sunny Leone in a pivotal role – is set for release, Tanuj gets chatting.
You hung on for a while after Puraani Jeans, before signing One Night Stand.
I won’t lie; my last film didn’t do too well. This is when I went to the drawing board and thought about what is working and what is not working. See, as an actor, you are a commodity in today’s time. You need to redevelop and hence I started from scratch. I am lucky that at this juncture of my career, I have been able to do things differently. As an actor, I am getting to play a character with shades of grey.
What excites you towards turning grey for One Night Stand?
Look at Shah Rukh Khan in Darr and Baazigar or now Fan; he makes evil so cool. He throws off a heroine from roof and audience still roots for him. Playing someone who is grey is a thin line to tread on. I am looking forward to how and whether my work would be appreciated in the film. Abhi to trailer mein aapne picture ki sirf jhalak dekhi hai, you would get to see the larger picture when the film is out. Thankfully, reactions so far are positive.
So how did you prepare for the part?
When I read the script, I relished my character. I also realized that he isn’t someone whom you can play with half measure. Either you don’t step in and if you do, then dive into it in entirety. You have to completely surrender to the part. Moreover, and very importantly, you can’t get judgmental about the character. Aap aisa nahi soch sakte ki arrey, ek woman ke saath aap aise kaise baat kar sakte ho. When you do that toh phir ek milaawati performance ban jaati hai. This is where my director Jasmine D’Souza came in handy as she said that I had to be a complete jerk for the part (laughs).
Yeah (smiles). Even before I got the script and was just auditioning for the film, the scenes that were given to me had shades of grey. So here was this smooth talking sweet guy and as the scene went along, you got to know his true intentions. I thought that here was this dude who is cool and has an edginess to him. Later, when my producer and director decided to rope me in for the film and I got the full narration, I knew that I definitely wanted to do this film.
Was it a worrisome factor for you though that Sunny Leone would be perceived in a central role and perhaps you may get side-lined in the process?
Even before we started shooting, we had our workshops and discussed on how the scenes would play on. I was very confident that I won’t get a raw deal, even before we went on the floors. By the time we went on the sets, my name was there on the call sheet every day. I guess I must have shot for 48 out of 50 days, so that figures (smiles). That said, you want someone saleable in your film. My earlier films lacked that but now I am happy to be acting opposite someone who is bankable.
How has Sunny been as a co-star though?
(Says instantly) By far my best co-star till date. Period. No offence meant to other but then the girls with whom I worked before were relative newcomers. On the other hand Sunny is a star. She is established. Everyone knows and loves her. My only concern was that sometimes things can get awkward when two people are not on same level professionally. Since One Night Stand is about Sunny and me, there is certain partnership and chemistry needed. That can happen only when you have a good working rapport with each other.
How did you go about making it happen?
Sunny made me feel completely at ease and never let me feel that she is a big star and I am an almost newcomer. What really works is the fact that she is very funny. One Night Stand is basically a serious film which means sets par aisa mahaul nahi hota tha where people are laughing and fooling around. However, once Sunny was on the sets, she used to lighten up the atmosphere. That really worked. I can say with good confidence that if my work is appreciated in the film, two people who would get the credit are Jasmine and Sunny.