New Delhi: Had it not been for his publicised acquaintance with David Coleman Headley, who was charged with scouting targets for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Rahul Bhatt, son of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, says he would have never got a call for reality show `Bigg Boss 4`.
"I am well aware that I`m getting an opportunity in a show like ‘Bigg Boss` thanks to my friendship with Headley, however peripheral it was. It is indeed because I made a lot of news due to Headley," Rahul, a gym trainer, told reporters.
Rahul, 28, feels the reality show will provide him an opportunity to clear his name.
"But I am here to get the two monkeys -- Headley and my dad Mahesh Bhatt -- off my shoulders. I have always been known as either Mahesh Bhatt`s son or the guy who knew Headley. But do people know me for what I am? I think ‘Bigg Boss` is an excellent platform for me to clear my name since the media almost painted me as a terrorist," he said.
Rahul was under the scanner for his acquaintance with Headley, who used to work out at the same gym where Rahul once trained. But Headley`s connect with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack came as a shock for Rahul.
"I didn`t know his real identity. For me, he was just another person who had come to my country, to my gym and I had a few cups of coffee with him, saw movies…it was well, a good old clean friendship. I liked him for what he was…he was not a moron. He was an intelligent man who made for interesting company." Rahul said.
"He didn`t even ask me for any favours or ever said that he wants to meet Salman Khan or Mahesh Bhatt. I didn`t know about his intentions. But when I got to know about him, it came as a rude shock. I felt betrayed," said Rahul.
All said and done, Rahul has no regrets about what happened and feels he came out as a "stronger and enriched" person after the episode. He also thinks "Bigg Boss" couldn`t have been offered to him at a better time.
"I have been through so many obstacles and have faced so much that no amount of bickering and bad-mouthing will affect me. So definitely, there could be no better time for me to do this show."
"I won`t even miss anything inside the house because I lead a monk`s life. I don`t smoke, I don`t womanise, I don`t drink…all I need is a gym and that is there inside," he added.
Rahul, who claims to have turned down a movie offer, says he did face resistance from his father for entering the show, but he followed his instinct.
"Dad was a little hesitant and told me that ‘Bigg Boss` is like a ‘choron ka sammelan`…it`s a show of infamy. But even I am a stubborn man. I can`t be influenced and I have a mind of my own. I just listened to my heart and my instinct told me I have to do it."
"Bigg Boss" features 13 other celebrities and controversial people locked inside a house for three months without any communication with the outside world. The show is the Indian version of international show `Big Brother`.