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Hero moves on

Jackie Shroff remains rooted in reality despite his name and fame. He is still the cheerful, friendly man accessible and approachable.



HUMANE FEELINGS: Jackie Shroff is involved with charitable causes. — Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

JACKIE SHROFF has an interesting roll to play in Boom — that of 50/50 aka Chotte Mia as his profession is to move things from here to there and there to here and he takes a 50 per cent cut for that. "My role of a debauched lecher is something I have never done — smoking pot, acting a pimp with absolutely no scruples," he says.

How did he do it? "I think there is a dark corner in every man and that came out in full flow. I followed the director to the T." Jackie knew director Kaizad Gustad since the family lived in Bandra.

"He was quite a recluse and had a wacky sense of humour. When he approached me for Bombay Boys, I didn't have the time to do it, but when my wife heard the script of Boom, she liked it. So I told her to go ahead and produce it. Ayesha always looked up to Amitabh Bachchan and she was on a big high when she got to produce it," says Jackie in his characteristic bindaas style.

Ask him what the USP of the film is, he says, "the way in which each character is portrayed, fashion on celluloid, and the underworld as never seen before. The music is doing well in Mumbai and Delhi."

Jackie worked with Amitabh for the second time. "When I worked with him in Akela, I was raw and scared. But he handled me well. He is my buddy's (Danny Denzongpa) buddy. Working with him was absolutely wonderful. He listens carefully to his director. His one-liners are good."

Not many know about Jackie's charitable activities — his cause for street children — ensuring better lives for them. He is accessible to them on phone. "I try to educate them or put them in boarding schools. I arrange for their medical help at Bombay Hospital or Nanavati Hospital."

Have these children grown up to do something? "Some handle lights, some polish shoes, while others do small business like selling cold drinks." Their benefactor, however, feels that he should help them even though the effort is like a drop in the ocean.

Jackie is a doting parent. "My children are growing up," he says proudly. "They see the environment around them. They have their questions on death. When I lost my mother, I did not want them to see her body. I told them she was dead." Both Jackie and Ayesha ensure that one parent is certainly at home with them. When Jackie is in town, he fixes breakfast for his children Tiger and Krishna.

Right now Jackie is happy with the performance of Teen Deewarein. "I am happy for Nagesh (Kukunoor). The film has received rave reviews and I am happy he has asked me to work with him again."

His forthcoming films are Aan and Dubara. Although Jackie has been around for two decades, he is still scared to face the camera. "It is quite unnerving to be in front. But I want to leave strong pictures behind."

He has done so with Kaash, Parinda and Mission Kashmir. "When people think of Devdas, they will think of Chunni Lal as well. I am a normal human being. I feel sad for people and have my own fears of death," says this star who exudes warmth, cheer and bonhomie and is happy with life.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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