You were initially offered the role of Armaan(now played by Apoorva
Agnihotri) werenít you? Do you regret not taking the part now, in
I have no regrets whatsoever. My character Purab is the best thing
to happen to me so far. I must say my job is easy. The show is
already such a rage and the channel too has promoted my entry in a
prominent way. All I have to do is to add good value (laughs).
Still, would have
have preferred Armaanís role to Purabís?
See, the way I look at it is, Armaan is popular today because of the
way Apoorva has played him. I would have brought a bit of my own
personality had I played the character and then it would have been a
different Armaan Suri.Irrespective of how the character turns out in
the original Columbian production, Purab is my interpretation.
(After a pause) You know, when the makers offered me Purabís role, I
told them, ĎThis will land you in trouble. He is a lovable chap and
perfect for Jassií. And my prophecy has come true.
In what way?
Well, the character has created a huge impact on the audience.
People have started calling out to me as ĎPurab; on the road. The
result being that my role has been extended. Initially I was to come
in for a cameo of about eight episodes. Presently, I am shooting day
and night for the show. There is no saying where the story will go
You have been brought
in as the romantic element in Jassiís life? How does it feel,
romancing everyoneís favourite ugly duckling?
Beauty is not skin deep. My character Purab buys into that. Also,
beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Given these three things it
would not be difficult at all to fall for someone like Jassi.
Would you fall in
love with a plain Jane in real life?
(smiling) I have been asked this question too many times. The truth
is Ďyesí, I might. Going by my own personal experiences I have
learnt never to judge a book by the cover. The cover might catch
your attention but if a long term relationship is the goal then
sometime you have to open the book and read the pages. I feel that
irrespective of outward appearances, if you give yourself the chance
to look beneath the surface, you could fall for an apparent non
So you think the
serial is sending out the right messages?
I think so. Purab is nice to her regardless of her looks. Also he
does not think that her lack of good looks is an issue.
Do you get the girl
in the end?
(Grinning) See, now that is something nobody knows.
You are not being
No I am. The thing is, I donít know what happens in the original
story, but here, the channel can decide anything. It is a tough
call, to stick with the intended plotline and also to cater to
audience likes and dislikes. But I have made it very evident to them
right from the beginning that I donít want to be the guy who hurts
Jassi. Thatís too big a risk to take as she is so loved by everyone.
Tell us about your
role in Saakshi.
I play the strong and silent type in Saakshi. A guy called Shekhar
Gupta who heads an anti-terrorist organization - Astra. He is this
infallible character who never fails, has all the gadgetry and
information he needs. (grins)
Do you think that
this espionage and hi fi-machinery kind of genre will go down with
I am not too sure. Deep down, we are simple people. We like playing
good guy, bad guy or cops and robbers with regular dishum dishum.
But as an experiment Saakshi is interesting.
Why are you wearing a
suit in the show considering your line of work?
(Grinning) I donít know. ...directorís call. You know there was a
time when I used to get so personally involved with my character
that the nitty gritties used to bother me. Now I have realized that
I canít bring into account my sensibilities. The director has a
vision and I must respect that. Also I have to trust the writer; he
knows what he is doing. I have high hopes from Saakshi. The
character is interesting with lot of shades and will be developed as
the story progresses.
Did you agree to take
up this role because it is so different from that in Jassi..?
I donít consciously plan anything. I play it by the ear and do what
I feel best. It is a coincidence that two very good roles have come
my way, all of a sudden, at the same time and from the same channel.
It has nothing to do with any strategy I have worked out.(grinning)
Does it feel good
that in a women-dominated medium like television, you have got fair
deals instead of standing around like a prop?
It definitely feels good. But if you see there a balance is being
maintained. Films are a male dominated arena, so it is only natural
that television should be a womanís medium. I am glad I have roles
that are well etched out. But you know, as an actor one should
always strive to give an extra something- even to the most mundane
roles. That is the only way to stand out.
Are you aware that
the spotlight is on you suddenly, after so many years. People are
beginning to take notice finally.
Yes. It is amazing. The kind of visibility that television brings
for an actor is mind-blowing. It is a great feeling and at that the
same time disturbing.
Why is it disturbing?
I have always put in as much of hard work and sincerity in each and
every project, thatís why! I am the same person and the same actor.
Only peopleís perceptions have changed. So it leaves me wondering
whether I left any mark at all earlier. It is almost like being
You made your debut
in China Gate. Why didnít you cash in on being part of such a
My marketing and PR skills are appalling. I canít sell myself. All
the work I have done so far has come to me because someone saw me in
this role or the other and liked me. You, know during the making of
China Gate, I was poised at the top of a pinnacle. I used to be
deluged with offers, all of which I refused. Kya Kehna was one of
the first projects that came my way and I turned it down. Ramesh
Taurani wanted to put me on a six film contract and I backed out. I
had this idealism that I would make it on my own and not let all the
hype go into my head. After China Gate released there was a dead
silence. There were no offers or roles coming my way. It was like a
fairytale that ended abruptly. But I have no regrets.
Why did you take up
the sonís role in Baghban? It was not a role which would put you
high on the popular list.
I know what you mean. Playing the selfish son in Baghban has been
good and bad for me. Even aunties in my building used to come up and
chide me, Ďarre beta, apne papa ke saath aisa kyon kiya.í But I had
my own reasons for doing the show. No producer was going to sign me
in the main lead anyway. I thought that if I could make my mark in a
big opus like this, it would work to my advantage. You know, I had
made it very clear that I wanted the role which had the maximum
scenes with Bachchan, otherwise I wasnít going to do the film.
Some of the actors in
the film mentioned that they found it difficult to be rude to
Amitabh Bachchan. Did you face such a problem?
Not at all. It is a role. I am playing the character. Infact I was
very excited because it was ike a challenge. In boxing you can fight
anyone, but you are not the champion till you have beaten Mike
Tyson. Similarly I thought that if I could pull it off with Bachchan
in the same scene, I would do myself proud.
Are more films coming
Itís early to say. An English film Dance Like A Man with Anoushka
Shankar is ready for release. I play her fiance in the film. I am on
tenterhooks. This is my first Ďcrossoverí film and I canít wait.
Tell us more about
Well, it is about two couples, the parents and then Anouska and me.
She comes from a very dance oriented family and I am a rich guy who
owns a mithai shop. Basically the filmís punchline is - Ď A woman in
a manís world is considered progressive, but a man in a womanís
world is patheticí. Actually that is a dialogue from the film.
How was it working
with Anouskha Shankar?
Anoushka is young and bubbly. It was quite funny because she has a
heavy American accent and was supposed to speak Indian English in
the film. So the director Pamela Brooks told me to help her out.
What happened was that since I had lived abroad for a while, I got
back my phirang accent after talking to her. So before every scene I
would tell her not to come anywhere near me, and go off into a
corner and sing Hindi songs to get back my normal accent. (laughs).
It was hilarious.
What about your
I love doing theatre. I last acted in Insomnia which featured at the
Prithvi festival and it actually gave me sleepless nights. I had to
perform a 40 minute monologue.
So, things are
finally looking up for Samir Soni.
Yes, I am thrilled with the way my career is shaping up. But I would
love to do more and more crossover films. From Mouthful Of Sky to
Dance Like A Man, it is a dream come true.