Anuj Saxena’s height phobia

The television actor who is all set to make his Bollywood debut talks about how he overcame his height phobia while shooting from rooftops

Anuj Saxena’s height phobia

Anuj Saxena of ‘Kkusum’ fame, is all set to make his mark in Bollywood with Sachin Gupta directed film, ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’. It is a story of unsung love that blossoms in famous lanes of sizzling hot, mouth-watering paranthe in Delhi with the backdrop of theater. Sachin, who is a theater stalwart and winner of National Award for ‘Natya Bhushan’, is bringing it to cinemas on January 17, 2014. Anuj talks about his Bollywood debut and conquering his height phobia.

What made you take on this film knowing that it was Sachin’s debut as a director?
Honestly after meeting Sachin and knowing that he is a theatre director inspired me to take on this project. In fact, I was keen to work with him because he has experience of ‘Broadway’ theater. It is not that one gets such chance every day. When he came to me he was all done with his homework. He knew about his characters in the movie, the songs and scenes and almost everything was crystal clear. I connected with him and it’s been a wonderful experience.
Does the reel life character connect with your real life character?
Haha, not at all! In fact it is so much opposite of what I actually am. But it was very interesting to do this character because I have never played such a role and the whole package of this character was so well planned and organised. I was willing to become like him. My friends and family are surely going to be shocked after seeing me in this role.
How different is this film from other films?
This isn’t at all a typical film like ‘Bullet Raja’ and ‘R…Rajkumar’. But yes it’s a very entertaining commercial cinema. It’s a sweet, feel good film to which all North Indians will connect immediately and everyone will come out of the theatre with a smile. In fact it’s a film that will motivate everybody from a 10-year-old kid to a 70–year-old person. It’s a story of passion and dreams. It’s the story of realm and indulgence. We loved shooting and surely audience will enjoy watching it.
How does it feel to come back after 4 years and that too in the silver screen?
I have been out of sight for such a long time from the industry, but it was such a pleasure to see that that people still remember me. During the shoot when I realised this, it was very overwhelming. Even the fans were also so happy to see me back. It was in all a very good experience shooting in the old Delhi, performing street plays in front of live audience for the film shots. Everything was so real that at times, I felt as if I am really a theater actor. It truly gives me a comeback feeling with this movie.
Any interesting incidents during the shoot?
Many were there, but I will never forget the fact that I had to shoot a lot of scenes on third floor and rooftop. Most of the time these roofs did not even have a boundary wall or railing and I suffer from height phobia. It was awful but as an actor one has to do whatever the director is asking. On many occasions, I felt giddy, so I avoided looking down. Another experience is of eating paranthas in real for the shot and that was a torture because I am diet conscious. And my diet got thrown out of the window.
Comment on your co-star Neha who is a debutante?
She is very bubbly and full of life. She is playing the character of live wire ‘punjaban’ in the film and she has done a fantastic job. It was a pleasure working with her.
Was there any acting workshop conducted?
Yes, we had workshops because we were shooting at actual locations with live audience. So, there was not much scope for retakes especially in the scenes where we were on road or by-lanes. Sachin held workshops and we all were very attuned to each other once the shoot began.

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