Posted by Fenil Seta
He has consistently done a variety of roles over the years. But Bhuvan Arora has been noticed widely after a powerful performance in Naam Shabana. The Delhi-born actor played Karan (pictured above) responsible for killing Shabana’s boyfriend in the film. In this exclusive interview, Bhuvan speaks about the feedback that he received for his performance, his experiences as a student at Pune’s prestigious Film And Television Institute Of India (FTII) and a lot more! He also shares an interesting anecdote that occurred in 2001 thanks to his ‘iconic’ name!
What kind of reactions have you got post Naam Shabana?
Whenever I have done a film, I always get recognition for it for 3-4 months. But Naam Shabana has been an exception. The reactions have been fantastic and something else. This is the first time I have done a negative role. I went to see the film with my friends and they found me convincing.
How was it working with Taapsee Pannu? The action scene with her before the intermission was one of the highlights of the film.
She is very jovial and we bonded as we both are Punjabis. Hence, we bonded a lot over food. Also, she is quite dedicated and it’s commendable how she put her heart and soul into the film. I have done martial arts before and so for me, it was not that difficult. But she managed to shoot some of the difficult action shots in just one go.
How was it working with Neeraj Pandey who has produced and written the film?
Neeraj Pandey was present on the sets though it was director Shivam Nair who called the shots. But for Neeraj, this film was quite special as it’s a prequel to one of his much loved films, Baby. He told me that he doesn’t want my character to talk a lot and that I should express merely with my eyes. Hence, I’ve hardly spoken any dialogue in the film. Also, he gives some very precise instructions which made my life easier. For instance, he explained to me the difference between being intoxicated and stoned. He told me exactly how to perform when my character takes drugs or is high on alcohol.
Were you always interested in acting? And how was your experience at FTII?
I used to do theatre in school a lot. I was mediocre in studies and hence to skip that, I pursued dramatics. It gave me a lot of popularity which was quite a great feeling. At that time, we used to do nukkad theatre in Delhi. We used to enter Central Park and start performing without permissions. Once cops came to shoo us away. But they enjoyed our play so much that they ended up sitting and watching the entire performance! After the performance, they told us how much they loved the play and praised me more since I had directed the play.
Later a friend told me that I should apply at FTII. I had never heard of it and asked him what it is. He replied that it’s the IIT of film studies! I then enquired whether one can get into by simply paying the fees. To which he said that the process of getting into it is quite rigorous. I filled the form and luckily I got into it. It’s only after getting into FTII that I realized that what it’s actually all about. They taught us the craft of acting and this is something I’ll never forget. Even if you bunk, you’ll end up learning something at the institute.
Tell us something about your upcoming film, Bank Chor.
It’s finally releasing on June 16 and it’s a story about three morons trying to rob a bank. I play one of the morons in the film apart from Riteish Deshmukh and Vikram Thapa. The trailer will be out on May 1.
You are also a part of the web series The Test Case. From the promos, you seem to be playing a negative character who’s not happy with Nimrat Kaur’s character. So after Naam Shabana, once again you are creating obstacles for the lead female character I guess?
Well, not exactly. I play a character who feels that men are superior. He respects women but he feels that women should be protected. He’s not someone who would eve tease a girl. His dad is a General in the army and he’s brought up in a family who believe in male superiority. His grouse with Nimrat Kaur’s character is that she shouldn’t be trying for the Special Forces. Otherwise, he has no problems with her joining the army.
What kind of prep did you undergo for The Test Case?
It was a lot as we had to understand what these jawans go through. We were taught how to hold the gun and how to shoot. Also, the research was massive. What we have seen in films is not even 10% of what all happens during the prep for Special Forces. The jawans are tortured. In the end, they have to undergo Stress Test in which they are told to be awake for 36 hours. Then they are dipped in water, garbage and what not. If anybody gives in or faints even in the last minute, he’s out. Moreover, they try to break you psychologically as well – an officer, while you are doing the test, will persuade you to quit and go back to your regiment. But once you pass, you are honoured with a maroon beret which holds a lot of significance and respect. An ordinary soldier can at the most meet his senior to discuss matters. But a Special Forces officer has the authority to even meet the General.
Apart from Bank Chor and The Test Case, which other films or ads are you a part of?
I have done some 20-25 ads and I don’t have time to do more ads now as I’ve been busy with other projects like The Test Case whose shoot is not yet complete. I don’t have any film and waiting for the right project. I have refused a couple of projects but Naam Shabana was something I couldn’t say No to. After all, it was a Neeraj Pandey creation and secondly, I had a very significant role, despite it being there only in the first half.
While talking about nukkad natak, you mentioned that you have directed plays. So any plans to direct films?
Yes, definitely and I keep writing scripts though I don’t show it to the world! Director Maneesh Sharma once made an observation that I could write well. He in fact told me to share my script with him and if he liked it, he’ll like to produce it. I however am waiting to write a great script worthy of being made into a film. Just because Maneesh Sharma gave me this wonderful offer, I’d not like to get excited. I’d rather work hard on a script and then share it with him.
Your name is Bhuvan, which was also the name of the iconic character of Aamir Khan in the classic film Lagaan. How did your friends and family react to it when the film had released?
You won’t believe this but till today, people joke about my name although it’s been 16 years since Lagaan released. The moment I say my name is Bhuvan, majority of the people say ‘teen guna lagaan dena padega’ and I have to pretend that this is the first time I am hearing this ‘joke’! I still remember that I saw this film in Eros theatre in Jangpura, Delhi. We were sitting next to a group of Sardars and we started talking to them and became friends. After the film was over, they asked me my name and when I told them, they couldn’t believe it. They thought I was joking or that I was smitten by Aamir’s character. I had to show them my school ID card and only then they were convinced!
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Bank Chor, Bhuvan Arora, Bhuvan Arora interview, Film and Television Institute of India, Interviews, Lagaan, Maneesh Sharma, Naam Shabana, Neeraj Pandey, Taapsee Pannu, The Test Case . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.