Arshad's returned to TV for his son Zeke

Nov 12, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Nov 13 (IANS) Many eyebrows were raised when actor Arshad Warsi, much appreciated for his role in "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", decided to host Sony TV's reality show "Bigg Boss". But the actor says he did it to be with his son.

"I needed a solid reason to remain in Mumbai. I've been travelling to all kinds of wild places. I was supposed to go to Australia and New Zealand for appearances and shooting. I grabbed this reason to stay in Mumbai. I was looking for time with my son Zeke and now I've got it," Arshad told IANS.

Arshad was earlier seen in Sahara TV's serial "Karishma", which had Karisma Kapoor in the title role.

"It's not really a return to television. I'm hosting 'Bigg Boss'. I love the concept but I'm not one of the contestants. Please, I'd never do that! But I didn't mind hosting the show because it doesn't take up much time.

"Each time a contestant is voted out, I've to console him or her and play the shrink. It all depends on the temperament of the participants. I'd lo-o-v-e to talk to Rakhi Sawant," Arshad winked. "I'd ask her to just be herself."

Arshad lights up at the mention of his son Zeke.

"We've a special bonding now. And when I leave the house, he actually cries for me! Thank god, he finally knows his father. I try to take him wherever I can.

"Just the other day I took him for a TV shoot. But the minute I came on the camera, he ran after me. I want to spend as much time as possible with Zeke. Now financial security has become a big deal. I want my wife Maria and Zeke to have a much better life than I've had."

"Lage Raho Munna Bhai" has triggered off a new phase in Arshad's life and career.

"Part one had opened up the doors of the film industry for me. Part two has opened up the roles for me. I'm getting such wonderful roles. When somebody wants a dependable actor in a pivotal role they come to me."

Arshad had said yes to a very interesting grey role in a remake of a south Indian film produced by Anil Kapoor.

"Anil is not only the producer but also the film's hero. I play the second lead. When I heard the script, I was bowled over. I like my role so much. You'll love to hate this character."

Arshad says his character is very crucial to the film's success.

"If my character doesn't deliver then the film falls. That feels good. Anil's film is a comedy but at the same time moving. I play a complete jerk. Audiences will hate this character. But I want to enjoy my character's wickedness."

Kabeer Kaushik, who gave Arshad a rare opportunity to play the lead in critically acclaimed "Seher", is working on a supernatural film and wants Arshad to play the key role.

"Kabeer wants me at the forefront of all his films. That feels good because I'm still considered for strong second leads. The leads I get are not for dependable producers and directors.

"What's the point of putting my heart and soul in a film that might not get released? I'm treading very cautiously after 'Lage Raho...'. I'll feel very irresponsible if I did a bad film."

Apart from that, Arshad plays a footballer along with John Abraham in Vivek Agnihotri's "Goal".

"I've always been a good sportsman. I'm told I've a parallel role to John. Speaking of John, I'm going to be seen with him in my next release 'Kabul Express'. John and I have equal footage, are together in every frame. John plays a serious and committed journalist. I'm more casual."

He admits that it was gruelling shooting for "Kabul Express" in Afghanistan.

"It was seriously problematic to be kissed by these big bearded men all the time. John got sick. But 'Kabul Express' was very well received at the Toronto Film Festival. John got mobbed. Every time there was a press conference, there were loads of girls shouting, 'John, we love you.' John loved it.

"Me? I'd rather have these things said to me in private," Arshad joked. "But a lot of foreigners saw my work. And they saw me with a whole new expression on their faces after the film was screened."

Added Arshad: "I need the right people to back me up. I want to do solo leads with big banners. I do get tempted to do the wrong films. But I'm firm."

What about "Zamanat"?

"Ohhhh... that! I respect producer S. Ramanathan a lot. He stood by me when financiers asked him to throw me. He had been told to sack Mr. Bachchan from 'Bombay To Goa' but Mr. Ramanathan stood his ground.

"What am I doing in 'Zamanat'? I play Karisma Kapoor's love interest."

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