Model-turned-actor Rajneesh Duggal is busy unlearning the tricks of modelling to get a little filmy. And while most, especially those with hot chocolatey looks, would kill to make their debut with a romantic one, he actually “refused close to 20 films for something more challenging”.
Like 1920? “Well, yes…when Vikramji [Bhatt] first narrated the script to me, I couldn’t help but accept it. And all those who have seen the film so far, including few critics, are very positive about it,” says Rajneesh about this supernatural thriller that will hit the silver screen on September 12.
And even as he tries to hide his excitement he can’t help sharing the ‘best’ compliment that recently came his way. “It felt great when I was told that no one else could have done that role better than me; it mattered more as it came from my director.” Besides 1920, Rajneesh has also signed Girish Dhamija’s Phir.
“Girish has written films like Gangster, Aitbaar and Zakhm; the shooting for Phir will take place in London and Rajasthan.
It’s about what goes around comes around,” he says.
The ramp may have taken a backseat for him, but his fan-o-meter is running pretty fast. In fact, recently in Australia he had a narrow escape of sorts. “I was shooting for a Raymonds ad, and suddenly three girls came from nowhere — one of them
actually tried to kiss me on the lips… she would have succeeded, had I not pushed her. The cameras went berserk and I was shocked... I don’t think I’m that sexy.”
But it’s not just girls who chase him, men have also been chasing him for “over seven years now”. So how does he deal with it? “Well all this is part of the package — abhi toh aur hoga,” he says and chuckles. There have even been instances where fans have landed at his GK house for his Mumbai address and number.
Does he think his fans will be affected by his marital status? “On the contrary, my clean and devoted image will draw more attention. And I would rather have people love me for my work rather than my looks.”
Playing safe is not his mantra. “In fact ‘playing safe’ is what I didn’t want to do even with my first film. Everybody around me expected me to run around trees and dance in the rain, and that’s exactly what I wanted to avoid.” Ask him if competition makes him nervous and he quickly says how “healthy competition is necessary for one’s growth.” So who does he consider healthy competition? “Ranbir Kapoor, Imraan Khan, Muzzamil Ibrahim and Neil Nitin Mukesh” are the ones he considers worthy of competition.