Shiney Ahuja, the cerebral actor who has been hovering on the edge of Bollywood’s A-list for years, has got his crossover breakthrough. And he has done what no other star before him could — Shiney has bagged the role of an American, not Indian American, in a Hollywood film being made by Michel Shane, executive producer of Catch Me If You Can (Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio) and I, Robot (Will Smith).
Shiney’s film, Silver Cord, is being directed by James Ordonez, who has earlier helmed Proof of Life (Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan), and he is cast alongside stars like former Batman actor Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames. His character, Richard Edmonds, is an American officer. Among the cast and crew, Shiney has only met his director and found a great comfort level with him.
“James short-listed me after watching Gangster and then Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi,” says Shiney. Therefore, he did not have to physically audition for the role. “I never expected there would come a day when I’d be acting in a Hollywood movie,” he adds, clearly jubilant. The best part is that he has avoided the ethnic trap — playing an immigrant or a terrorist or something as hackneyed.
The plot goes like this: a young man induces an out-of-body experience to find the woman he loves, but the silver cord that connects his soul with his body snaps. His friends have to save him before the body is cremated.
Shiney describes his role as “pivotal” and to prepare for it, he shifted his mental gears. “Instead of thinking I’m playing a foreigner, I prefer to think that I just belong to a different culture so that my thought process begins to mirror that culture.” There, didn’t we tell you he is cerebral?