Student Madhur Mittal (18) won the reality dance show in TV ‘Boogie Woogie’ for his Michael Jackson impersonations when he was eight. That started off his career as an actor and he was cast in One 2 Ka 4, Kahin Pyaar Naa Ho Jaaye and Salaam India.
But Slumdog Millionaire has proved to be the Mira Road resident’s big break.
After appearing as one of central characters of Salim, when he is 18 in the film, the theatre student at University of Mumbai is being inundated with offers in both Hollywood and Bollywood.
“I went for the auditions after a coordinator rang me. I don’t know why I got the role, as I have never lived in a slum. I just had lots of script reading sessions and I just really liked the character so I worked really hard on it.”
After being cast, he hung out with some of the ‘gangsters’ in Mira Road “to get into their head”, he said, as Salim joins a life of crime, works for a mafia don and rapes his brother’s sweetheart Latika.
“Most of them are just really pissed off at life because of something in their childhood and they carry that anger through to their adult life. In Salim’s case, he can’t get over the fact his mother was killed at such a young age in the Bombay riots.”
Director Danny Boyle gave him a series of the Godfather to watch as that had a crazy brother in it. Also, he had an accident which led to him getting 12 stitches which helped with the rough look, he said. He had to grow his hair long, increase his skin tan and lose weight to act as Salim.
Most of the shooting went smoothly, apart from on location in Agra, when he and his on-screen brother pretended to be guides fooling foreign tourists and the actual Agra guides got violent.
He said it was a “very typical Indian” film, as it was about “two brothers who want to be big”, “a boy loving a girl” and “a good guy and a bad guy”, and so should go down well here.
And he said it did not unfairly depict India in a bad light. “It is a very uplifting film and we need a film like that in depressing times like this,” he added.