An Encounter with Parvin Dabas!

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He’s versatile, he’s good looking and he’s supremely talented. Parvin Dabas has it all! And to top up this list he’s got a fantastic list of acclaimed releases behind him and an even more exciting list waiting to blow audiences away. Parvin Dabas belongs to the young and innovative breed of stars who are not only craving for personal recognition but striving to take Indian cinema in a new direction with their unconventional yet supremely entertaining ventures. With one internationally acclaimed project to his credit and one soon to release, an actor simply could not ask for more! BollySpice brings you an exclusive encounter with this powerhouse performer in which he reveals the steps to success and his philosophy on his flourishing career graph!

Firstly, a very obvious question. Your debut was for the Deol home production Dillagi. How did this happen for you?

They were looking for someone to play the particular role and I went for the audition and just got the part.

After this you landed a very prominent role in Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding which received both critical acclaim and audience appreciation. How did you land this role at such an early time in your career?

Well yes, it was just my second film. Once again this happened by an audition. Of course hailing from a non-filmi family this was the only way for someone like me to be seen and noticed. I think we all know how the system works. So for this role I was called by the casting director who had previously liked my work. It was a general audition which mainly consisted of putting yourself on tape. Mira saw quite a few of these general audition pieces and from those chose people whom she’d personally met and auditioned and a couple of months later I was on for the role.

Were you nervous or excited that such a huge opportunity had been given to you at such an early stage of your career?

Frankly speaking, and I don’t mean to be immodest, but I am never excited or nervous when I start something. For me the focus is on doing the job to the best of my ability because someone has put their faith in me. So it’s about maximizing the big opportunity that is given to me rather than gushing about the opportunity that I have been given. Of course I don’t think either reaction to such a situation is right or wrong, but this is simply the way I react to projects. I feel that when you get too excited or nervous you stop concentrating on really doing the job properly. You are more concentrated on how to get over the nervousness or something else. So every film that happens to me I react by reading the script and thinking about how I’ll do the job properly. The nervousness and excitement happens when the director says “wrap” for me, just before the film is about to release.

Your filmography contains a vast variety of genres and roles, all very unconventional. Was this a conscious decision of yours to choose such roles or was this a mere work of fate?

I think it’s a bit of both to tell you the truth. I really like taking up a challenging film and role. A lot of the time I am offered conventional roles of course, but it seems to not excite me as much. Although having said that, I am a big fan of the typical India cinema and the naach-gaana style of cinema, but of course it needs to be the right kind of film with the right kind of maker, especially because we see today that a lot of these sort of films can go the wrong way in the wrong hands. So yes, it has to be the right kind of film with the right kind of maker for me to say yes because like I said, I am not against such roles at all. I in fact enjoy them. Although yes, I do enjoy creating lead characters that are unconventional, take for example my character from Khosla Ka Ghosla, a very unconventional guy. He’s not your typical Hindi film hero – he’s introspective. He has difficulty communicating with his loved ones but all these characteristics made the character and film interesting. One can’t always focus on what people will understand and what they won’t. Of course if they do then that’s great, but one cannot be insecure and think that they should make a character loud or funny to suit what the Indian audience expects and wants. I think it’s important that I focus on what I think the character should be and be faithful to the film.

Whilst on the subject of Khosla Ka Ghosla, did you expect it to be such a huge success amongst both audiences and critics?

No, honestly with both Monsoon Wedding and Khosla Ka Ghosla I didn’t have such expectations of the film doing so well because we were making small films. But what I feel worked was the honesty in which both films were made, and at the end of the day they were both very entertaining films as well as saying something. That is the kind of cinema I’d like to always be associated with, the kind that entertain but also say something, a message at the same time.

Is there a particular one you particularly enjoy?

Well I enjoy all kinds of films. Comedy, of course, one does enjoy. The thing is that it’s harder but it’s enjoyable if you get it right. Drama is much more intense and drains you out a lot more. They all have their pros and cons.

Prior to films you did theatre. Has that enhanced you skills on screen?

I did theatre as well as that I attended acting school. All of these experiences do help in creating a character. All such experience do help but of course at the end of day there is certain amount of talent required that you either have or don’t. But at the end of the day all this teaches you how to look at a script and create a character.

To you what makes a great performance? What do you think you need to do to say to yourself that you’ve done your job well?

I think honesty is the make element of a great performance and also not pandering to the audience. Take Naseerudin Shah for example, an actor I hold in great regard. He is always so truthful in his performance and never theatrical. There is big difference in being truthful and being theatrical. I feel a truthful performance stays longer.

It’s no secret that you’re an avid photographer, so say for example you were torn between the two professions, photography and acting, which one would you choose?

Well, if I were given a choice between the two professions I’d definitely opt for acting because not only is it my first love but it feeds me (laughs). It also feeds my photography which is a very expensive passion and hobby. So definitely acting because I do have to pay the bills at the end of the day!

This year what can we expect from you on the screen in terms of projects?

I’ve got Sanjay Gupta’s Alibaug and a small but fantastic role in Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan. Releasing soon there is The World Unseen which was shot in South Africa and has released in America and Canada. Now it will release in India and Europe and possibly reach Australia. It’s something a little different, it is in English. It stars alongside me Lisa Ray and Indian-American actress Sheetal Seth.

Speaking of different films do you feel that in the 21st Century Indian audiences are more receptive to different styles of film and variety on screen?

Definitely, especially in India we’ve seen the rise of multiplexes, small cinemas which showcase a variety of films and so the audience has been cultivated to want to see a variety of styles in cinema and look forward to different styles of films.

Rapid Fire:

Favourite actor?

Naseerudin Shah

Favourite director?

Worked with: Mira Nair & Dibakar Banarjee. People I want to work with: Karan Johar, Sanjay Gupta (both I am working with now) apart from them, many, Nagesh Kukunoor, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Farhan Akhtar. There are so many talented, young directors today in the industry!

What role would you like to recreate?
I think I’d like to do Brave Heart, one of my favourite movies and roles.

Favourite film?

Worked in: Khosla Ka Ghosla. All time favourite: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron

With such honesty and dedication, one simply cannot imagine success not tapping your door at every step of this rollicking roller coaster ride. As Parvin embarks on another ambitious journey to entertain in the year 2009, BollySpice wishes him all the very best for this noble journey and we simply cannot wait for him to once again take our breath away with his trademark powerhouse performances!

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