New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) It's Hollywood actor Armand Assante's first time in India. He's still coming to grips with the country's culture, people and lifestyle, but is confident that the Indian capital is the perfect place for tourists from the West.
"New Delhi is amazing. It's the place for Westerners. I am here till August 5. I also have plans to visit Mumbai and Taj Mahal in Agra," Assante told IANS in an exclusive interview.
He was here for the first anniversary celebrations of tony Italian restaurant and bar Ciro's Pomodoro here run by a friend of his. The outlet will also be launching an Assante cigar brand.
"Ciro Orsini and I are friends. It's one of my favourite clubs. I am looking forward to launching my cigar brand - Ora Vivo - here," Assante said.
The 63-year-old, who has been seen in films like director Niels Arden Oplev's "Dead Man Down" (2013) and J. Stephen Maunder's action thriller "Shadows in Paradise" (2010), said when he travels, he makes it a point to read extensively about the place he is visiting.
"When I travel, I do a lot of documentation. I like to understand the geo-political environment of that particular place. Also, it helps in self-discovery. I am passionate about travelling around the world. When I visit a country, I stay there, understand its culture and what it has gone through," said the actor, who conducts workshops to share his experiences.
The actor has also appeared in TV shows like "How to Survive a Marriage" and "The Doctors". Asked whether he would like to take part in a reality show here, Assante said he is open to such offers.
"I certainly don't go around the world looking for work, but why not? I am open to doing a film or TV show here if I get a good opportunity. Though I don't travel for work, I won't mind working with people here. I am fortunate that I have access to many things that many people don't get," said the actor, looking dapper in a tuxedo.
The actor comes from a family of artists and musicians but chartered his own path.
Talking about his family background and life, Assante said: "My mother was a music teacher and my father a painter. My grandfather owned an Italian restaurant. They never encouraged me, but I have always done what I am interested in.
"I work because I have to support my family. Also, I am blessed that my neighbours supported me when I lived in New York. I have been surrounded with very talented people," added the actor, who has two daughters - Anya and Alessandra - with ex-wife Karen McArn.
Also a part-time musician, Assante has even dabbled in documentaries on social issues.
He said: "Also, being an actor, I am fortunate that I get to do that more often. I have also made documentaries for the (US) government."