Chirag Sethi, who played the second lead to South Superstar Vijay in AR Murugadoss` Tamil super hit `Thupakki`, will be seen in the same role in its Hindi remake `Holiday - A Soldier Is Never Off Duty ` starring Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and Govinda. Chirag plays the role of a character named Siddharth, the youngest member of Virat Bakshi`s (Akshay Kumar) team.
Speaking to Zee News, he talks of his journey; from featuring in ad films to his stint in Mollywood, to the making of `Holiday... `. Thanks to his good looks and modelling background, Chirag looks all set to conquer the film industry.As an actor and model, he is currently based in Bombay and has featured in a number of ad films with Katrina Kaif, Shah Rukh Khan and Virat Kohli.
The multi talented actor has also worked in the Hollywood movie `Million Dollar Arm`.
How has the transition from working in advertisements, regional movies to Bollywood been?
It was an amazing experience. Every aspect of shooting with such varied technicians, directors and their team has been enriching. The locations and the working environment is what makes it different.
Initially I wasn’t selected for the role of ‘Siddharth’ in `Holiday` because I looked too young. However, the director A R Murgadoss recommended me to the casting director since he was aware of my acting ability and he had directed me in the original Tamil film.
Though I played the second lead in `Thupakki`, I had to give an audition for `Holiday – A Solider is Never Off Duty`.
What made you say yes for Holiday?
The fact that I had already worked with Murgadoss Sir and shared a comfort level with his entire team made me say yes. But of course the idea of sharing the screen space with the super fit superstar like Akshay Kumar was the cherry on top. Who wouldn’t want to kick start a Bollywood career with such a personality, right?
How challenging was it for a newcomer like you to prepare for a big budget Bollywood production?
Among the cast of the supporting army officers to Akshay Kumar’s character, all the actors were of a certain age and I looked the youngest. So in order to get the exact look and match my other co-stars I had to eat heavily and build my body to look older. I had to follow my “food hogging” diet after which I was offered the role. My character in the Tamil version with superstar Vijay was very different.
He is younger than Akshay Kumar and I had to follow my normal fitness regime because I had to look athletic. Time management is the biggest lesson I got to learn during the shoot and it made it easier for me to fit in the character of ‘Siddharth’.
How is it different from working in international projects?
Acting is my first love and acting in a film of any language with a meaningful role to play is what I prioritize in my career. I had shot for an Iranian film with the Longinus Fernandes, the choreographer of A R Rahman’s world renowned song ‘Jai Ho’ from `Slumdog Millionaire`. He selected me for the role for which we shot in Delhi, since the Iranian film had a 45 minutes track wherein the lead actor visits and I was to support his character. For `Million Dollar Arm`, I had auditioned for the main lead role. I was later offered a cameo which I wasn’t too keen about. When I discussed about this offer with my friends who are into casting and acting, they advised me to accept it keeping the international fame and the rare opportunity in mind.I was instructed to demonstrate a ball throw by action director Mike, by which he was fascinated and questioned me on how I was so good at it.
Then I revealed to him that I was trained for cricket under Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s father Yograj Singh. I then shot for the film in Mumbai and Lucknow. I will never be able to forget the fact that I was treated like a star on the sets. It was truly unbelievable.
Also, I must say that the international crew is slightly more relaxed, composed and patient when it comes to completing the shooting process.
What can your fans expect from the movie?
At this point of time all I can say is that you must go watch the film in a theatre near you and watch out for my character in `Holiday`. I have given my best.
What are your expectations from the film? Are you nervous?I believe this is Akshay Kumar’s biggest release, the plot is kick ass and the action is real, which makes it a full on entertainer. `Holiday` is worth spending your money on and I hope it crosses the 200 crore mark.
Personally, I expect my acting and action skills to stand out in the film and hope other film makers recognize my talent. I’m not nervous about the film at all because I’m confident that everything about the film and my character will work for me in the industry.
How was your experience working with the action king Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha?
Khiladi Kumar is a very jolly and fun loving person. I would like to add that he’s a true Punjabi at heart and a thorough professional, one of the most fit and caring superstars. Though, I have not interacted much with Sonakshi Sinha, from what I have seen she is a very decent, down to earth and a lovely girl.
Who would you like to work with in Bollywood?I would be honoured to work with all the big directors like Raj Kumar Hirani, Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar. Among the younger directors I would like to work with Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banarjee and Vikramaditya Motwane.
What are your future projects and plans?Currently, I’m in talks with the casting team of a few Punjabi and Bollywood films. I have my fingers crossed and hope the films in the pipeline work out for me.
A message to your fans...Watch out for me in `Holiday` and I hope you appreciate my work. All I need from you is a lot of love and best wishes for the film`s success.