For starters, his name is Pitobash. I know, you’re still trying to solve it. Anyway, take this! His name in Shor is Mandook, in his forthcoming I Am Kalam he is Laptan and in Shirish’s Joker he plays Kachuwa. As they all say, all good things come in small packages. Apart from him being a Stuart Little, this physically small man has got big ambitions and to be a part of Shor In The City is just the beginning of making it big in Bollywood. Pitobash has three small budget films waiting to see the light of the day and what follows next is a dream come true for any new comer in our industry: Shirish Kunder’s Joker and Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai. It was a bizarre day because the actor chose to come to my pad for his own interview. It doesn’t show desperation, it shows the passion he has for his films, big or small or whatever. He quotes, “I am here to do good work and I will keep doing that because I only know that”. Chup kara diya na? UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent meets the actor who is touted by all critics for his magnificent portrayal in Shor In The City as the next big thing. Well, he’s come here to do just that and Shor is the ideal start for a man who is hell bent on making a lot of noise in the months to come. Welcome to Bollywood Pitobash!
“I am getting great feedback from critics and industry people who’ve seen Shor“
To be very frank, I am very happy, excited and thrilled. I am not from a film background and this is my first big release. Yes, I am getting some great response from people and I have to thank them. I have done a few cameos and brief appearances in the past in films like 3 Idiots and 99 but Shor is something else. Having said that, I am nervous too. I am hoping that the film does well at the end of the day come Friday.
“Tusshar is a dear friend now who is very good at taking suggestions. I’d love to work with him again”
When an outsider like me steps in this industry, we are made to believe that there will be star child tantrums, etc. From all the films I’ve done so far, the first star son I have worked with is Tusshar Kapoor. He is a very good person. His hair was cropped in front of me in his vanity van. Even the directors of Shor were present there. It was the first day of the shoot. He used to call me in his van to discuss scenes. That’s how cordial and humble he was. He takes suggestions and it was a wonderful experience working with Tusshar. I’d love to work with him again.
“Shor was a short film Raj and DK made with me before they made Shor In The City”
I’ve worked with Krishna DK and Raj in 99 and a short film they made before that, titled Shor. Yes, it was titled Shor and I played the same role that I’m playing in the full length feature film now titled Shor In The City. The short film they made was a test shoot of what was coming next. DK and Raj are like family. It’s strange but I am working with them for the third time and for the same role, that of Mandook, for the second time (laughs).
“Indian audiences have become quite sensible and want a good story more than big stars”
It’s not about big budget films aren’t working and small budget are working. It’s just that people of India now-a-days are very sensible. If you are making a good content driven film, it’ll work. But if you make a bull***t cinema with great foreign locales, bikini babes and absolutely ridiculous content, no matter what, it’s going to fail at the box office. Having said that, there are many big budget films that have worked at the box office too.
“Shirish Kunder narrated me my entire role in Joker over the phone”
Shirish Kunder somewhere saw my work and wanted to cast me in Joker. I was shooting somewhere in the jungles of Chhattisgarh. When I came back to Bhilai city after the shoot, I saw some dozen messages on my Facebook stating that Shirish Kunder wanted to meet me immediately. But I couldn’t meet Shirish for a month due to my prior shooting dates in Chhattisgarh. Later I sent some footage of mine from various films and shoots which Shirish saw and after a few days he called me. We spoke for a good half an hour over the phone and discussed Joker. The rest is history. He also told me that I was the first and the only actor finalised for the film over the phone (laughs).
“After Shor In The City, I’m doing I Am Kalam, Aalap and Na Woh Hoti Na Yeh Hota“
I’ve done a film titled I Am Kalam where I play the antagonist. It’s a children’s film that has received some eight to nine International Awards already. Then there is a film titled Na Woh Hoti Na Yeh Hota. It’s a political satire with Vinay Pathak and Rajat Kapoor. It’s directed by a debutant director Praveen Kumar. Then I’m doing an issue based film titled Aalap. So these are the three films after Shor In The City that’ll release.
“In May I’ll be shooting for Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai“
In May, I’ll also be doing Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai, a political drama with Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi. The casting director of Shor In The City was the same person who casted me in Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai. Though I got Shor In The City through Raj and DK but I still knew Atul. I gave an audition for my role and I got selected. I always wanted to work with Dibakar and all this has happened too quickly. It’s a blessing in disguise.