I couldn't have asked for a better mentor: Shiney

Jun 1, 2006 Swati R. Chaudhary


Mumbai, June 1 (IANS) Newcomer Shiney Ahuja, who has once again impressed both critics and audiences with his performance in "Gangster - A Love Story", says director Sudhir Mishra is his true mentor.


"My first step into Bollywood was through Sudhir and today I look up to him for guidance whenever I feel the need. He is a gifted director, an objective human being, a realist and a survivor...I couldn't have asked for a better friend and mentor," Shiney told IANS in an interview.


However, he is equally impressed with Tanuja Chandra who is directing him in "Zindagi Rocks".


"She has the knack for creating a very congenial and warm working atmosphere. We literally felt like family where each member was treated with respect and made to feel special."


Excerpts:


Who thought of your unconventional name?


My father - he says, when he first looked at me, he felt that while his name was Suraj, the real 'shine' came into his life with me. Many asked me to change my name and go for a more conventional one but my emotional bonding with this name turned out to be stronger.


What is that one thing according to you that sells in Bollywood?


Controversy for the sake of controversy!


Is it very difficult for an actor coming from a non-film background to carve a niche for himself?


Yes. A star kid comes with many benefits. One, he has access to the best production houses, scripts, co-stars and guidance. Second, the road is not unknown, the doors are not locked and the journey therefore is a lot easier.


However, if one has the talent, the right personality, attitude, grit and determination to succeed, nothing can stop him from realising his dreams. Though the road to stardom is challenging, it is rewarding.


Bollywood's history is dotted with amazing stories of success, which is why the industry is magical.


Do you really consider Sudhir Mishra as your godfather?


This is the industry that has given me the opportunity to live my dreams, to do what I do best - act. It is an industry that has built several lives. It tests you in every way - your courage, value systems and faith while tempting you with the heights of success that no other industry can possibly match.


My first step into Bollywood was through Sudhir and today I look up to him for guidance whenever I feel the need. A gifted director, an objective human being, a realist and a survivor... I couldn't have asked for a better friend and mentor.


What is your source of inspiration?


My spiritual beliefs


Tell us something about your wife?


All I can say is she is god's gift to me.


Your best performance till date?


Vikram in "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi".


Would you do an endorsement if offered?


Barring tobacco ads, and depending on the product, yes.


Any dream role that you want to execute?


Brad Pitt in "Seven".


How was it working with a female director for the first time in "Zindagi Rocks"?


I cannot comment on the film at this point. However, Tanuja has been a pleasure to work with. I don't know if it typically is the case with female directors, but she has the knack for creating a very congenial and warm working atmosphere. We literally felt like family where each member was treated with respect and made to feel special.


Patience, willingness to listen and constant encouragement to her actors are some of Tanuja's most outstanding traits as a director.


What about your other forthcoming films?


Besides "Zindagi Rocks", I am currently working on Mahesh Bhatt's "Woh Lamhe" directed by Mohit Suri. I am also doing Sudhir Mishra's "Bahut Nikle Mere Armaan".


I did a special appearance in "Fanaa". There were two simple reasons for doing it - first, it was a Yash Raj film and secondly, when Kunal Kohli narrated the script to me, he said my name was Suraj and that I was a major in the Indian Army posted in Kashmir, that is my dad. I requested him to change the last name to 'Ahuja', which he did and I immediately accepted the offer.


Other than this, I am currently involved in an ongoing discussion for four more projects.


What prompts you to sign a film?


A character driven script and a good director and story excite me the most.


Any message for your fans?


Yes, I want to thank all my fans for believing in my work and me. You inspire me to do my best every time I work. I will try my best to not let you down!


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