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A villain by choice...

Photo: Sandeep Saxena.

Gulshan Grover... the good side of the bad man.

`I AM not a rejected hero. I am a villain by choice," proclaims our perpetual `bad man', Gulshan Grover whothinks that only 30 per cent of his talent has been utilised in Hindi films. "I never got extraordinary roles that could extract the real talent out of me. But now, I am getting roles I was looking for," the beaming Grover is referring to his international stints, his latest film "Jajantaram Mamataram", "Jism" in which he loved playing a loyal, loving husband, "a saviour of Bhanwari Devi" in "Bawandar" and a difficult husband in "Leela".

Why did he play unwanted roles in the first place? "When you to go to a place like Mumbai without a godfather, parade around virtually every office, sit for hours waiting to be called inside, show your photographs and come out empty handed, choice of good or bad role does not strike you. To be in films and fend for yourself you lap up every role. When you establish yourself to some extent, you do it to get some personal status: car, phone and a house, then for stereotype image reasons, you don't get other roles. Some of them you do for brand reasons, some for continuity of relationship with a specific director, producer who helped you at one point of time. I have gone through the same stage," he justifies.

And he remained villain by choice for "heroes have a short face value. Aik umr ke baad fikr hoti ki face ke ghadde kaise chupaoon, but for a villain that becomes an asset."

Now he has a bagful of roles: Madhu Ambat's "An Ode to the Lost Love", an NFDC film, in which he plays a director, "Shadow of the Cobra" in which he plays a funny Indian museum curator, "Tale Sting" that sees him as a Middle-Eastern electrician going to the U.S. to showcase his talent as one. He is apprehended as a terrorist but he finally saves the life of the people in a plane. The film is shot in a plane. He is also one of the producers in Goldie Horn's film "Ashes to Ashes".

And he did not lap up international stints without making a compromise. He had to surrender his passport, identification card at Hollywood airport so that he does not run away in the middle of the shoot for tamper tantrum or professional reasons.

"Successful Bollywood stars throw their weight around at Hollywood. They would get up in the middle of the night to tell the director that they are going back to India for various reasons. But I proved myself serious, sensible, with no behavioural problem. I paved the way for others."

For once this bad man again adorns this garb in J2M2, because "children would love to see" him as one.

RANA A. SIDDIQUI

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