Vikram is such a humble and giving person – Upen Patel


You’re in Shankar’s Ai. How did that happen?
I feel so privileged that I’ll be making my Tamil film debut under Shankar’s direction. It all happened when my manager received a call that the director had a project in mind, and was keen to cast me in it. I was on from the minute I heard that it was his project. Later, when I was briefed about my role, it blew me away. I am not allowed to talk about my role or anything related to the film, but all I can say it’s an incredibly good role.

How do find working in the south?
The experience, so far, has been beautiful beyond words. Actors and directors in the south are so humble, which is quite a contrast to Bollywood. The language has posed a few problems, but I am determined to pick it up. I have an instructor on the set who explains to me the meaning of my dialogues and prepares me for the delivery. However, not knowing the language is only a small blip because cinema is about projecting emotions and storytelling, which have a universal language.

How has it been working with your co-star Vikram?
Vikram is such a humble and giving person. You’d never know he’s such a big star. No airs, no attitude. The thing about Tamil actors is that most of them are artists. They are very rich in the craft of acting. Take Vikram, for instance. Look at the diverse range of roles he has essayed.

So, you’re here to stay?
Right now, everything is new to me here. I’d be happy to have a good career going in Tamil films, but let’s see if that happens. Movies here are original, both in content and screenplay. When I was last in Chennai, I saw a film titled Pizza. What a story! I don’t remember the name of the lead actor, but, god, how brilliantly he played the role.
Are your wild, partying and womanizing days behind you? Have you finally grown?
It is true I had that image, and I must say at the time, I even deserved it. I was young, reckless and flamboyant. The only things one would read about me were my good looks, my partying ways and the women I was seen with. But there was more to me. I have worked with several top directors, but none of that was being talked about. Slowly, I found myself moving away from that environment as I concentrated more on honing my acting skills and my modelling assignments.

Where have all the women gone?
Well, as unbelievable as it may sound, there is no girl in my life presently. I thought I’d be with 10 Miss Wrongs and then find the one Miss right. But, I am over that phase now. There is nothing more important in a relationship than mutual respect. My search is on, and when I do finally find the girl, it will be for keeps.
How about your co-star in AiAmy Jackson?
Well, she’s a lovely girl and very beautiful. I have a great equation with her.

You are a foodie. Any food discoveries in Chennai yet?
For Ai, I have been on a crazy diet of grilled chicken and broccoli. My role requires me to be lean and mean. I am also a huge fan of the biryani, served on a banana-leaf platter, I had at a restaurant in Chennai.
We hear you’ve been signed on to play the lead in a French film…
Yes, this happened through my agent in the UK. The film, an action thriller, will be directed by French filmmaker Yann Danh, and we should begin shooting by the end of this year.

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