Wide curious eyes, a sense of humour, an extrovert... the boy in Pathanis is now in jeans, vanilla shirt and typhoon hair. When someone I’ve seen grow inches-and-feet right before my eyes, there’s a connect.
Sikandar Kher nicknamed Siku is a big boy now, all of 26 and ready to go with the Sanjay Gupta-produced Woodstock Villa and Sohail Tatari’s Summer of 2008.
“I’m good,” he says somewhat bemused that he’s being interviewed, nixing watertea-coffee-milk. And as I call for him, (addressing him as Siku), he quickly points out, “Don’t call me that. I don’t want to be called that anymore.”
Ask him if he could have started his career earlier, and pat comes the reply, “I could have. There was an offer from IDreams years ago. Ever since I was four years old, I didn’t hide the fact that I wanted to become a hero. I’ve done an acting workshop with dad, then a course at NSD, assisted Yash Uncle on Dil To Pagal Hai and Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Devdas.”
Interestingly, Kher was supposed to make his debut as one of the three boys in Dil Chahta Hai.
“That was such a long, long time ago. I was at the Otter’s Club. Farhan (Akhtar) just asked me if I wanted to act. I’d lost 55 kilos in five months. Farhan had thought of Hrithik, Abhishek and me. I guess he saw me, even if it was just that day, in the role done by Saif Ali Khan. It was just one of those things.”
On the personal front, Kher insists that his mum and biological dad's (Gautam Berry) separation didn't affect him much.
"Maybe because I was just four or five then. If I'd been 13-14, it would have been tough. They separated smoothly, there were no ugly scenes from what I can remember. And then Anupam Papa was wonderful. I actually lucked out, I have two dads. Umm, Dad Gautam is very methodical. And Dad Anupam's gentle. He's fantastic with kids, he didn't have a child of his own. From the outset, he has loved me as his own."
Sikander also speaks highly of friend, Abhishek Bachchan.
"He treats me like a kid brother." And what about bhabhi Aishwaryaji? "I haven't spent too much time with her. I'm happy that she takes care of him."
Live life kingsize
Remind him of the brawls… like the one with Sohail khan and pat comes the reply, "I've always thought of everyone as a friend. I'm this 6'2" guy who'd speak from the heart. Now I speak from the head. There was a minor misunderstanding which went to another level."
And as we talk about a former Miss India (read Gul Panag), he says, "Umm, she has great dimples. We're working in Summer of 2008. Since I'm focused on my work, there's no time for distractions."
But didn't Gul and Dad Gautam get along very well? "They're both Capricornians... but no bahu situation, please."