Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer Tiger Zinda Hai has now become a blockbuster at the box office as the film has so far collected Rs 254.75 Crore. Well, ever since the film got released, many people have been praising the film, its lead actors, action, supporting cast performances. Among them, there is one actor’s whose acting has not only loved by the critics but also his patriotic character of Azaan has directed connected to people’s heart.
Yes, we are talking about newcomer Paresh Pahuja who has debuted with Tiger Zinda Hai. His character Azaan, has thought the real meaning of patriotism to the nation. Hence, we couldn’t let him go as recently Sumit Rajguru of Free Press Journal asked him about his overall experience in Tiger Zinda Hai. Moreover, the 26-year-old actor has revealed some interesting incidents of his life.
Let’s take a look what he has said –
How was your experience debuting in Bollywood with Tiger Zinda Hai?
First of all Bollywood is a dream and it was a dream for me also. The experience has been beautiful because of the first film that too with Yash Raj, that too with Salman Khan, that too with Katrina Kaif and that to a film which has already become a blockbuster. So, this like a life-changing moment for me. It was wonderful.
Tell us how you got the role of Azaan in Tiger Zinda Hai?
I got the role of Azaan through audition. I was auditioned by the casting director Shanoo Sharma who had seen one of my ads. Thus, she called me and she gave me a scene. First of all, they never told me about which film is it, what is it. Then, first round they gave me a scene, second round they gave me another scene and then one day she called me and said you are locked for the film. I was like which film then she said this is for Tiger Zinda Hai. I went and read the script. I also asked them few questions. After that, I was locked. Later, we came and did a lot of training as I played sniper in the film. Then, I started shooting. 4th May was first day my of the shoot.
Describe your experience of the first shot with Salman Khan?
It was beautiful. It was the shot that we were waiting for. But I was a little nervous because the ‘Salman Khan’ was in front of him. There was Paresh Rawal, Kumud Mishra, Angad Bedi and I was the only new person in the team. So, I was very evidently quite nervous. So, we did that shot. But before the shot, I asked Salman sir’s bodyguard that what’s the time. Then, Salman sir said why? I said, sir, it is my first film’s first shot and I just want to make a note of it. (laughs) Then, we did that shot and we came back and I saw Salman sir was sitting at the monitor and we were checking the shot. Suddenly he gets up and hugs me after seeing the shot. I felt that that was beautiful and he made me very comfortable, throughout the journey. My first interaction with him was very warm and loving and very caring.
Has the role of Azaan taught you something?
That’s a very interesting question. Nobody has asked me this (laughs). Azaan has taught me how to take pride in my country, how to be optimistic about my country and appreciate the good things and work on the things which can be improved. Azaan is someone who is so patriotic. Despite all this, he believes in humanity, he believes in a good side of things and believes in that country needs to have some kind of faith and need to work on a little bit on it. I spoke with a lot of army guys also and I asked them. In fact, I shared a post on my Facebook wall which is now viral. I asked them, how do you feel patriotic? How do you feel for the country? Because you know you are at the border fighting for what reason because every war is nothing but politics. Every war is just created to make these fancy weapon making companies. Because, if there is no war then how will they sell their weapon. So, that was my battle inside that how do you feel for the country. They said if you don’t then they will be like who’ll do it, there will be nothing left then people will be killed and the civilisation will be gone. So, somebody has to protect it, defend it and keeping their life at cost of their sacrifice. We still live in a country where we are free to talk, free to do things, dress up the way we want to. We have social media. In a country which is communist or based on religious bias where you have to wear certain kind of clothes, have to so much in restrictions. China has only their internet that they don’t know what is happening in the world. North Korea doesn’t know what is happening in the world, because their internet also has limitations. We underestimate that living in India, we don’t value it. So, Azaan taught me that you need to respect the freedom that you have. The value and everything the country has given you. That’s been an eye opening experience for me.
How did you get inclined to acting?
Oh, that’s another interesting question (laughs)! I did theatre in college and I remember the first experience watching a film in the theatre was Karan Arjun. I was very young, about 5 to 6 years old and my parents took me to watch Karan Arjun. And, it had a great impression on me and I thought Karan Arjun is like me and my brother and we used to scream a lot like ‘Bhaag Arjun Bhaag’ (laughs). Then, slowly I realised that I’m more inclined towards acting then I went to S.M. Patel Institute of Commerce, Ahmedabad and started doing theatre. I did youth festivals, dramas in the college where I did everything like participating in singing competitions, one act, skits and many things. College life made me much more expressive, confident and creative person.
Whom do you admire in Bollywood?
I admire Rajkumar Hirani the most. The kind of cinema he makes is what exactly I want to do in my life also. So, I want to be a Raju Hirani of acting. You can see his films are very very human, innocent. His films have lot belief system in it and he doesn’t try to preach you but his films have a message in the end which you take home and changes the world. So, I believe that you have power through cinema to change the world and give people some hope and make to make a better place to live. That is exactly what he does. Munna Bhai teaches you about humanity that you don’t need to have a degree to treat people nicely and that’s how Munna Bhai is. Like Lage Raho Munna Bhai teaches you about truth and non-violence that even in today’s world you can live by Gandhi’s principles. Then, 3 Idiots teaches you about you should do what you love then, PK teaches you that religion that you don’t need to go by belief systems. I think I love Raju Hirani and I want to do the lead role in his film someday.
Why didn’t you choose to debut with rom-com film?
A debut for any actor is very very important. So, I had also done auditions for couple of films as a lead but those things didn’t work out. Some scripts I didn’t like. But when I read this part of the role, I thought that Azaan has a very clear motivation and purpose. He is very independent. So, I never thought that I want to work in a particular genre like rom-com. I just wanted to be a part that would excite me in a way that a journey of a character should give a boost to become Azaan Akbar from Paresh Pahuja. So, that’s really excited me and I just picked it up because I saw myself with that kind of patriotism, training, Marshall arts, how to hold the rifle, army training so that excited me a lot.
Tell us about your fitness regime and diet plans?
My fitness regime for the film was very strict. I did a lot of strict Marshall Arts training for this. We have gone through commando training. I am a vegetarian thus my diet was mainly lots of protein, lots of green, lots of broccoli, lots of spinach, lots of green juices. I used to have lots of boiled eggs.
Has anything changed in your personal life after Tiger Zinda Hai?
A lot of things! Now, I step down of my building, people recognised me and click pictures with me. I’m getting lot of films and offers after Tiger Zinda Hai.
Tell us about your upcoming projects?
I haven’t locked on to something but I have around three projects in my hand right now. But I’m not sure which would I have to take.
Last thing you want to say to your fans?
Filmfare voting is open. I want to be the best debutant and best supporting actor. I have already made my speech ready. Vote for me.