Aftab Shivdasani: I would love to play a negative role again; it's a great high

The actor talks to us about his forthcoming film, Setters, and more
Aftab Shivdasani: I would love to play a negative role again; it's a great high

Aftab Shivdasani has completed 20 years in the industry - he made his debut as a leading man with Mast (1999). The actor describes his journey as “adventurous and amazing” and adds, “I have done over 50 films. I’ve enjoyed every bit of the last 20 years and I look forward to the next 20!” 

In his upcoming film, Setters, a crime thriller directed by Ashwini Chaudhary and produced by Vikash Mani, Aftab plays a cop. The film is about a racket, which arranges brilliant students to appear for examinations in the place of weak students for money. Set in Banaras, Jaipur, Mumbai, and Delhi, the film is scheduled for release on May 3. 

Excerpts from an interview with the actor:

You took a while to zero in on a film after Great Grand Masti (2016). What made you say yes to Setters?

When Setters was offered to me, I found it really excited. It's a very relevant script with a wonderful director (Ashwini Chaudhary). It also gave me an opportunity to play a man in uniform, something I’ve always wanted to do. 

What is the longest period you have spent between releasing a film and signing another? 

This has actually been the longest time between two releases of mine -- a little over 2 years. I keep myself busy by doing different things like travelling. The most important thing I’ve learnt is not to lose faith in myself. I am currently toying with two scripts, and I will make the announcement once things are confirmed. 

You are known for romantic comedies. What was it like to play a cop in Setters?

Contrary to my image, I love doing intense roles. For Setters, I interacted with many senior IPS officers from Delhi on a one-on-one basis. During the time I spent with them, I was exposed to quite a bit of classified information and also how they get into the minds of criminals in order to nab them. That really helped me formulate my character better.

Shreyas Talpade plays the antagonist in the film. Would you have done his role if offered to you? 

Yes, I would have, since both roles have an equal amount to offer. I would love to play a negative role again; it’s a great high. 

How is your camaraderie with Shreyas Talpade? Is it as good as the one you share with Ritesh Deshmukh? 

It’s great! He did a guest appearance in Great Grand Masti and we got on very well. This time we bonded more. We have a mutual respect for each other’s talent and a great chemistry as well. It’s unfair to compare the camaraderie I share with Ritesh with the one I share with Tushaar or Shreyas. 

You are doing a couple of films in the South as well. Can you tell us a bit about them?

I did a Tamil film, Bhaskar Oru Rascal, with Arvind Swamy and Amala Paul in which I played a negative character. At the moment, I am doing a Kannada film called Kotigobba 3 with a very dear friend, Kichcha Sudeep. In this action thriller, I play the Interpol chief who is based in Europe.

Your long-time collaborator Vikram Bhatt, with whom you've done eight films, is busy with several web projects. Any plans to work together again, possibly on an OTT project?

The web is a very exciting medium. I would love to do something again with Vikram Bhatt as it’s been a while. But we don't have anything in the offing.

These days you sport a Zen-like calm that you seem to wear like a second skin.

(Laughs) I just try to work on myself as much as possible, apart from working in films. My spiritual journey has helped calm me down and life’s experiences have taught me a lot too. And most importantly, I have a partner who has had an amazingly positive influence on me for seven years now. I’m blessed to have a wife like Nin. She brings out the best in me. 

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