Well-known TV artist Harsh Chhaya, who is playing a gay designer in Madhur Bhandarkar's Fashion, says the film may have been inspired by real characters, but the director is not trying to be mean to anyone in the fashion fraternity.
"It is very much close to reality because Madhur is making it. But it is very well researched also. I am sure, to a large extent, all the characters have been based on real people but they are not exactly lifted because it is not a nice thing to do," Harsh, who was in the capital for a play, told IANS.<b1>
"The filmmakers take care of such issues and try not to offend or hurt people. Even if real people inspire characters in Fashion, Madhur is not trying to be mean to anyone. He is not trying to get back at someone."
"He likes to base his films on reality but at the same time make it entertaining. That is the nature of work that Madhur is known for anyway," added Harsh who was recently seen on the big screen as Rani Mukerji's mean boss in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag.
Harsh carved a niche for himself on the small screen with his performances in serials like Hasratein, Swabhimaan and Astitva.
Fashion stars Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranauat in the lead roles. This is Harsh's second film with Bhandarkar after Corporate, but he was nowhere in the picture when the director was finalising the cast.
"It is interesting how I got the part. I was nowhere among the probables for this part. One fine weekend in a Mumbai Plus issue I read this piece that Madhur is looking for an actor to play gay. I sent him an SMS that I would be interested in playing this part. And he replied, 'Okay, I will keep in mind.' It was, I guess, a polite way of saying 'no', which is understandable.
"Next weekend I read the same thing and what I did was I bought a few costumes, wigs, took a whole gay getup and made a five minute DVD. I went to meet Madhur with the DVD and requested him to see it. I said 'don't cast me if you don't want to but have a look'. After a week or so I got a call that 'you are on' for the role."
Harsh plays a big time fashion designer in Bhandarkar's film.
When asked why he was so keen to play a gay, Harsh said: "I want to do it because as an actor it is a challenge. It is exciting for me especially when people around me don't expect it of me. Any professional would like to take challenges because playing safe all the time gets boring."
Another TV artist, Samir Soni, is also playing a gay designer in the movie.
"There are different types of gay characters in the film - some gay characters are not feminine and some are and I am playing a feminine gay," he said.
"I made the video with supporting props but it has worked out in a way that it has given me and the director enough confidence to just go along without props, which as an actor I think is a much better thing because it becomes much more challenging.
"I face the camera the way I am and within that I try and play the character," he said.