Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interview: Cyrus Sahukar

Cyrus Sahukar, whose impressive performance in Aisha has come in for much praise, talks to Sandhya Iyer about his transition from hosting to acting, among many other things


Cyrus Sahukar, the man known for his comic acts and spoofs on MTV, made a cursory appearance in two films, Rang De Basanti and Delhi 6. They were itsy-bitsy roles, and one didn’t get to see anything of him as an actor. However, in Aisha, he springs a pleasant surprise, bringing a distinct sense of originality and plausibility to his character. Cyrus is obviously happy with the praise that is pouring in. “Many important people have noticed my performance. Karan Johar tweeted about it — that felt nice. The reviews have all been good to me,” he says, enthusiastically.

Cyrus plays a nouveau-riche guy called Randhir Gambhir, who is constantly at the receiving end of Aisha and her best friend, Pinky’s jokes. Yet, things take an unexpected turn, when Pinky falls for him in a love-hate scenario.

“Randhir represents a very interesting demographic in India today — there are many youngsters who hail from small-time business families. Over the years, their shops have grown into chains, and suddenly more money has started pouring in for them. The youngsters get good education, but their family background remains mostly conservative. So they feel a bit conscious mixing in the company of the affluent and classy. And yet, they want to desperately ‘fit in’. If you notice, my character, Randhir Gambhir always dresses up in ‘sets’ — like a mannequin, because he does not know how to mix fashion,” says Cyrus, explaining the many things that went into preparing for the role.

The performance could have easily ended up looking bafoonish, but the young actor has lent the role just the right amount of simplicity and honesty, that makes his character quite likable in the end. “What I understood about Randhir is that he’s a pure, clean guy — not cynical and jaded. Initially, I wondered how I would play him. I used to go to actor Deepak Dobriyal’s house to understand my character better. Then I came across this lovely line from Oscar Wilde — ‘All bad poetry springs from genuine emotion’ — that gave me an idea about approaching the part,” he says.

Cyrus recollects Anil Kapoor giving some inputs as well. “That scene where Pinky and Aisha are having a fight and I excuse myself saying, ‘I’m going to the toilet’ — that was Anil Kapoor’s idea. That was also my first scene in the film. Initially, I was supposed to get all upset about Aisha’s statements and walk out in a huff. But Anil said, ‘He’s a light-hearted person. He would rather want to run away from the situation where two women are fighting.’ he said. I played it that way,” Cyrus tells us about the scene that is evoking the maximum chuckles in theatres.

And how difficult is to be an actor after being a successful anchor for television? “It is extremely tough to break out. When you are hosting, you are paid to be yourself. With acting, you are doing the opposite — you have to be your character. I’ve had a strange career so far. I started with radio and then got into hosting for television when I was 18. I did the Simi Garewal and Taare Zameen Par spoof. It was around that time that I got a call from Rakeysh Mehra to play a small role in Rang De Basanti. Then later, he wanted me for Delhi 6. I enjoyed playing a bit of a sleaze in that film. Rhea Kapoor and Sonam liked me there, and so approached me for Aisha,” he says about his journey so far.

Even though Randhir is Cyrus’ meatiest role in Bollywood so far, he says, he won’t be giving up on hosting and writing. “I want to create my own content, which I am doing for MTV by way of a mockumentary series. It will be on the lines of Borat and Office. In any case, at this moment, I want to have fun without thinking about the medium,” he says.
Ask him about the rumours linking him up with Sonam, and he elaborates without reserve, “We are good friends, but hardly ‘everyday hang-out buddies’. We had a Delhi 6 reunion sometime back, and that is when we got linked next day. There is nothing to be embarrassed about dating Sonam — she's gorgeous — and I would have admitted if it was true,” he says.

For now, we allow Cyrus to enjoy the success of his film and performance — both well-deserved.

5 Comments:

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