Director Akbar Khan is quite impressed with his Taj Mahal hero Zulfikar Syed and would like to cast him in all his future projects, except Taxi Driver.
"Zulfikar comes from a very good family. It shows in his behaviour, language, attitude and walk... So, yes, I'm definitely working with him again. In fact I'd like him to be in all my projects. But he may not be in my next film Taxi Driver which requires a 40-year old father as the male lead.
"Neither of my Taj Mahal leads, Sonia Jehan (granddaughter of legendary singer Noorjehan) or Zulfikar, will be in Taxi Driver. Zulfi looks too boyish for that. He will be in Changez Khan in a pivotal role. I've already started working on his looks and diction for that film."
For the shy model-turned actor it's a much-delayed homecoming. "I did Pyaasa and Chupke Se earlier... and now I'm back," he smiles.
That self-assured feeling has returned to model-turned-actor Zulfikar Syed, better known as Zulfi, after receiving appreciation for his performance as the Mughal prince Khurram in Taj Mahal.
"I've worked very hard on getting the diction and the body language correct. Playing a historical character so early in my life wasn't easy. But the director was with me all the way. He helped me with every aspect of the character. I'm so glad people have appreciated my efforts."
Zulfi, who's a well-known model, signed no films while he was working in Taj Mahal for two years. "I wanted it to be a new beginning for me... and it is. Though I've had a couple of mishaps at the box office, I think this film proves I'm not a non-actor."
Zulfi feels the myth that models can't act has been broken. "Yes it's true that for a long time it was believed models couldn't act. But I think people like Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Jackie Shroff and John Abraham have broken that myth."
For a long time Zulfi was recognised for his underwear ad where girls make lipstick marks all over his body. "That ad not only made me a known face, it also made the product very, very successful. It was my main claim to fame so far, I agree. But I'd like that to change after Taj Mahal."
He says he enjoyed working with his Taj Mahal co-star Sonia Jehan. "She's half-French and half-Pakistani. And we shared a very good working relationship. We had difficult scenes to perform. But I think we managed to make our romantic scenes look comfortable."
How does Zulfi see his future? "I'm confident. While I was doing Taj Mahal the offers never stopped coming. But I didn't want to do just any old thing."
"Regardless of how Taj Mahal performs, I'll be eternally indebted to Mr Khan for allowing me to be part of this film."
The actor claims to be single. "Though I've several female friends I still don't have a special girlfriend. People find that hard to believe. But it's the truth. Like Shah Jehan I'm an eternal romantic. Maybe love is around the corner."