I've been made the next Amrish Puri: Yuri

Jul 23, 2008 Robin Bansal


New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) After playing ruthless Mughal general Bairam Khan in "Jodhaa Akbar" and with roles of a terrorist and a strict military officer in hand, Yuri says he is seen as the next Amrish Puri in the making.

"Media has made me the next Amrish Puri, so I have to be a bad guy now on screen. Majority of roles that he did were negative and now that people know me as a bad guy, I want them to remember me in the same image," Yuri, who resembles Amrish Puri, told IANS on the sidelines of an event here.

But Yuri doesn't want to be known as an Amrish Puri look alike, he wants to carve his own niche.

"Amrish Puri is too big a name and I can't emulate him. I can only emulate myself and would want people to know me like they know him," said the actor.

Not many people know that before joining Bollywood, Yuri was a squadron leader in the Indian Air Force.

"I was flying planes for 20 years (from 1971-1991). Then, I became a radio jockey and worked in Delhi until I got my first offer to act in a play from Lilette Dubey in 1992.

"Things worked out fine and then in 2004, I was offered a role in 'Chai Pani Etc'. It was after watching my performance in the same movie that Ashutosh offered me the role of Bairam Khan for 'Jodhaa Akbar'," Yuri said.

The actor got an overwhelming response for his portrayal of the Mughal general.

"Bairam Khan's role was mind blowing. You had to be in the desert wearing a 20-kg armour and riding horses. It was very physically demanding but Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Ashutosh were so professional in their work."

The actor will share screen space once again with Hrithik in Anurag Basu's "Kites".

"I play a very major role in 'Kites' and I am going to be in Las Vegas and California for its shooting from mid-August to October."

Yuri was initially inclined to become an astronaut like Yuri Gagarin.

"I took the tests for an astronaut but things didn't work. However, I was the stand up astronaut to Rakesh Sharma when he went on the moon. I started flying fighter planes after that."

His other projects include "Lamha", "3 Idiots" and an untitled project with Arjun Bagga.

"In Rajkumar Hirani's '3 Idiots', which is based on Chetan Bhagat's book 'Five Point Someone', I play Aamir Khan's dad when he was a kid and in 'Lamha', I play a terrorist. In Bagga's movie, I will be seen as a military officer," he informed.

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