Imtiaz Ali launched Brazilian model Giselli Monteiro in Bollywood as a coy Punjabi girl in Love Aaj Kal in 2009. He also gave lingerie model Florence Brudenell-Bruce a part in the same film, as Saif Ali Khan’s British girlfriend.
Not to mention US model Nargis Fakhri, who got her break in Rockstar. But that’s not all. The filmmaker has also introduced another new face to the industry in the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer — Brazilian model Moudif Aziz, who plays Fakhri’s Kashmiri NRI husband in the film.
While loads of female models are making their mark in Bollywood, rarely do we hear of male models getting a break. “I was also talking to Imtiaz about the same thing. And eventually we realised that I am the first international male model, at least in the recent past, to have acted in a Hindi film. I don’t know if it’s an achievement, but it definitely feels good,” says Aziz.
Born in Brazil to parents of Portuguese and Arabic origin, Aziz has been living in Mumbai for the past four years and during his modeling career, he has shot ads with actors Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif. He also admits that he considers Aamir Khan his “idol”.
He has his ad-modeling career to credit for Rockstar too, as his casting agent noticed him in one and asked him to audition.
“After three rounds, I was chosen because Imtiaz wanted someone who looked Kashmiri as well as someone who’s lived abroad,” says Aziz, adding, “Both Nargis and I come from modeling backgrounds. And we’ve worked internationally too. Plus, we both are newcomers who struggle with Hindi, so we got along well.”
Aziz is also friends with model-actor Giselli. “Interestingly, we met for the first time in India and ever since, we’ve kept in touch. I treat her like a younger sister, and she looks up to me as an older brother.”