He’s acted in films like Sikander, Mirch and Aisha but the spotlight veered towards him after Sudhir Mishra’s Yeh Saali Zindagi in which he plays the gangster with heart. One recalls the editor of a popular film magazine once saying that nothing would become of the ensemble cast of Aisha. Well Amrita Puri was nominated for an award for her role in that film and now Arunoday is being written about for his performance in YSZ. The rest of them can’t be far behind.
Arunoday is charming, easy-going, well-read, articulate and very popular with the ladies. Here’s a quick interview with the new actor on the block who surprised many:
1. After watching the film Yeh Saali Zindagi I heard a lady exiting the cinema say, “I didn’t think I’d like that Arunoday. But he was quite good.” How does that make you feel?
To hear that a woman, who didn’t expected much from me, was impressed with what I managed to do – that feels amazing. It’s a truer compliment than any I’ve received. I’m proud I changed her mind about me, at least for the two hours of the film.
2. Why did you choose Yeh Saali Zindagi or did you have no other choices?
When you get a script that enjoyable to read, and Sudhir Mishra wants you to play that character – you don’t ask questions, you don’t worry about choices, you sign the fucking contract blind. I don’t feel I chose Yeh Saali Zindagi, I really feel it chose me.
3. Who did you enjoy acting with the most in the film?
My favorite co-stars in the film were Aditi Rao Hydari and the young whippersnapper Yoktavya who played my son.
4. There’s a quote by Rodney Dangerfield that says, “Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself.” Do you agree?
I agree completely. But an actor rarely gets a script that allows him to do that well. It’s a rare opportunity when you get a character that will challenge you and force you to delve into parts of your own psyche you would rather have never visited. That’s the growth of an actor, that’s where the magic of acting resides. I hope one day, I get to experience what that’s really like.
5. If there’s one thing about you that will prevent you from getting good roles, it is…
I’m afraid that my reticence and nonchalance with regards to self-marketing and PR will lead me to miss out on a role I otherwise might have had the chance to at least audition for. I’m hoping that the directors who I would like to work with will call me for the audition anyway, but you never really know. And that frightens me.
6. Emraan Hashmi is supposed to be Bollywood’s Mr Kisser. Methinks you’ll usurp that crown soon enough…
HAHAH! I’ll never cease to be amused at what a big deal kissing is in Indian Cinema. With all due respect to Emraan Hashmi, I care not a whit for the crown. I do what the role requires. If you’re shocked with my kissing, I’m afraid I’m going to continue to raise your eyebrows.
7. What’s the first thing people notice about you?
If I’m standing then they would be alarmed at my size. If I’m seated then they would be alarmed at my highly distinctive ears.
8. You’re quite the charmer with the ladies. Does it come naturally or have you honed the skill?
To answer this question, I quote the sublime Leonard Cohen – “My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke that caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I’ve spent alone.”
9. Who do you really want to work with next?
Sudhir Mishra again. Vishal Bharadwaj in another Shakespeare adaptation. Clint Eastwood or Darren Aronofsky in their next picture. Anything co-starring Jack Nicholson….The list goes on.
10. Apart from being talented what else do you need to be to succeed?
You need to be very lucky to get your hands on that magical role that was written in the Heavens by the Muses while they adoringly thought of wayward, wayward you. The other thing you need is to be that wonderful combination of stubbornness, confidence, and anger to be able to push through all the rejections you’ve gotten in auditions over the years, and walk hopeful into another one.
> as told to Sailesh Ghelani <
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