Some could argue that this isn’t exactly his film debut as he was earlier signed on for a BR Chopra film called Purani Jeans that never got released. But for Rati Agnihotri’s son, Tanuj Virwani, Love You Soniyo will always be his official launch.
The 24-year-old is currently shooting for the romcom helmed by Joe Rajan. “I play a college going catholic boy,” says Tanuj, about the coming-of-age story. Because he’s had a non-filmi upbringing, his decision to act was sudden. In fact, his mother thought it was a joke. “I decided two years ago. Before that, I had no plans, I was more interested in working behind the camera; in writing or direction, something I still want to do,” says the actor, who was a fat kid with glasses and bad skin before he started grooming himself. Either way, his mother, Rati’s profession had nothing to do with his choice. “She quit acting after marriage and then till I was 16, she hadn’t started. I don’t know whether she influenced me or not… maybe subconsciously.”
As part of his preparation, Tanuj did a three-month acting course with Kishore Namit Kapoor, made a few short films and even assisted directors like Ken Ghosh on Chance Pe Dance (2010). But it was a chance meeting with Madhur Bhandarkar that earned him the part. “I met him a few months ago and since he and Joe are good friends, he mentioned my name to Joe,” says Tanuj, who will be seen acting opposite Neha Hinge, former Femina Miss India.
Excited to finally be part of the Bollywood clique, Tanuj is confident. Though he won’t say much before his film releases, he has no qualms admitting that he admires Ranbir Kapoor’s career graph and is a big fan of Shah Rukh Khan. “I like the way their careers shaped out. I don’t want to restrict myself either,” he says.