Two Hollywood movies, a British venture and an Indo-French collaboration... Gulshan Grover has his hands full with serious-themed international projects. But the Bollywood bad man insists he hasn't bid adieu to Hindi films, specially the villainous roles.
"I haven't quit taking such roles (of villain). I gained my popularity, stardom, success, love and adulation by fans by doing villain roles here," Gulshan told IANS in an interview.
"When I played a villain, I knew I was creating a brand. And today I am in a position where my capability of doing other roles is not doubted because of that," he added.
Gulshan insists crossing geographical boundaries is necessary for an actor to grow.
"I decided years ago to extend my craft in other countries as well. Natural growth for me means to take my craft to the next level as an actor... whether it is Hollywood or other international cinema. I am glad I could do it," said the actor who was last seen in Bollywood dud Acid Factory.
The 54-year-old actor is set to feature in Hollywood movies Prisoners of the Sun and Nephilim (yet to go on floors), British picture "Honour Killing" and an Indo-French collaboration with participation from Unicef titled I Am Kalam.
Directed by Avtar Bhogal, Honour Killing is about British Asians.
"It basically deals with people who stay in London and live a modern life. But when it comes to their own daughter, as in if she falls in love with a boy from some other community, their perceptions change," Gulshan explained.
I Am Kalam on the other hand has been directed by Madhav Panda.
"The film is about a young boy's dream who gets inspired after watching a speech by our former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. I am a hurdle in his ambitions initially and I try to demoralise him but the kid is persistent and it's his story if he makes it big or not just like Kalam," the actor said.
" Prisoners of the Sun is more like The Mummy where I play a dashing Indian curator who can decipher all that was written centuries ago," he said.
Gulshan has earlier worked in foreign projects and collaborations like Tibetan film We're No Monks, Italian movie Les Mystres de Sadjurah, Blind Ambition, Sweet Amerika and My Bollywood Bride, to name a few.
Gulshan made a mark in Bollywood with negative roles in movies like Sohni Mahiwal, Ram Lakhan and Shola Aur Shabnam.
Asked if he was disappointed with the current role reversal in Hindi cinema where the hero often ended up playing villain too, he said: "The good, bad and everything have got merged. There is no clear black and white now. Moreover, the actors who played the hero (earlier) were not interested in playing negative roles. And now everybody is ok with the trend.
"So it doesn't matter. That way even I've played romantic roles in Jism, Boom and in Chehre (forthcoming). But the hardcore villain in Hindi films cannot go. The nasty villain however has gone now," Gulshan said.
The actor admitted that he was finicky about his scripts.
"I don't want to choose a boring film so that it becomes archetypal and is being played only in a festival. I want audiences to come, watch it and like it. I am a commercial movie product and movies at the end of the day mean business," he said.
His forthcoming Hindi projects include Chatur Singh Two Star, Chaloo Movie, Chehre, Mittal versus Mittal, Mastang Mama and Mahayoddha Rama (voice over).
Gulshan said that he is quite content with his career.
"It's a very exciting phase of my life...where I am getting everything from name, money, respect and commercial films to performing roles," he said.