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'Sholay' happened by chance'

Prashant Raj, who plays Jai in Varma's 'Sholay', speaks to Subhash K. Jha about his role in the film.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2007 14:12 IST

Prashant Raj, who is currently shooting for Ram Gopal Varma's 'Sholay' as Jai, the character essayed by Amitabh Bachchan in the original film, is elated at the way his career has evolved in Bollywood.

The 29-year-old had initially wanted to pursue a career in advertising in Los Angeles, but a quirk of fate brought him to the glamour world of films.

"Look at destiny. I was planning to settle down in LA to pursue a career in events and advertising by becoming a liaison officer, when 'Sholay' happened. I'm a major movie buff, but I didn't really think of a movie career," Prashant told IANS.

Confident and extremely talkative, Prashant's voice lights up when he talks about his adventurous life in the last six years. "I've walked the ramp in the most exotic spots of the earth including Ecuador and Venezuela, won prizes in places in South America that I didn't know existed outside the map!"

One senses certain restlessness in Varma's latest discovery. His penchant for adventure is compounded by a welcome honesty. "I'm aware that my role of Jai has earlier been done by Amitabh. To step into his shoes isn't just a mammoth task but an impossible one too. I'm not even going to try to be equal to that task. To my relief Varma's Jai is quite different."

Amitabh is playing Gabbar Singh in the new version. Apart from him the film also has Ajay Devgan, Sushmita Sen and Nisha Kothari. When told that his playing Jai had resulted in his stepping into the shoes of Mohit Ahlawat, to whom the role had been earlier offered, Prashant laughs.

"I'm aware of that as well. But when I came on board, I had no knowledge of what I was doing. When Varma told me I was stepping into Jai's role and that Mohit was signed to do it earlier, I was like... okay! I've never met Mohit but I knew who he is. What can I say? We get what's in store for us."

Prashant had been offered a few films before."But they were heroine-centric. I guess I'm not too impulsive. I think before I act. Thank god I waited for 'Sholay' to happen." One of Prashant's happiest moments was when he told his family about his presence in the new 'Sholay'.

"Of course my family, who moved from Delhi to Mumbai a few years ago, were delighted. But it was my 90-year-old grandmother who was the happiest. She did my aarti... It was a full-on scene from a family drama."

Prashant has a penchant for different kind of films. "I like darker films like 'Sarkar' and 'Omkara'." Tell him he's being politically correct by mentioning Varma's favourite films and he quips: "Then let me be more politically correct and say I've enjoyed working with my co-star Ajay in the last two days."

The experience has been an eye-opener for the debutant. "I can't believe that in eight days my life changed. Of course, I've been working in the public eye for six years. I was the first runner-up in the Grasim Manhunt contest. And let me also tell you I've participated in the most amazing reality show in the world called 'Amazing Race Asia'."

There's someone special in his life, he says. "My girlfriend is really happy with the way things have worked out for me."