Aftab Shivdasani celebrates 23 years of ‘Kasoor’: I wanted to play something completely opposite to what I did in ‘Mast’; Vikram Bhatt helped me in my transition – Exclusive | – Times of India

After garnering praise for his debut role in ‘Mast‘, Aftab Shivdasani defied expectations by embracing a starkly different genre in his second film, ‘Kasoor’. As the movie celebrates its 23rd anniversary, the actor engaged in a candid conversation with ETimes, shedding light on his decision-making process, experiences working with Lisa Ray, the guidance he received from Vikram Bhatt, and more.Read on for excerpts from the interview…
‘Kasoor’ has completed 23 glorious years. How do you look back at the film?
Time really flies! Looking back, I feel a sense of nostalgia and a mix of emotions regarding “Kasoor”. It’s a film that holds a special place in my heart and has taught me a lot.
While this film marked your second film as a lead star, it was Lisa Ray’s debut movie. How was it working with her?
It was wonderful working with her as she was making her debut with the film so we both felt like newcomers. She was very sincere and hard working. Even though she was not fluent in Hindi, she made every effort to work on her diction and delivery which was amazing.
Do you remember what you guys bonded over on the sets of the film?
On set, our focus was entirely on staying in character as our director Vikram was keen on maintaining consistency and intensity throughout. He became a mentor to me, bringing out the best in my performance.

How was your experience working under Vikram Bhatt’s directorial?
It was my first film with Vikram Bhatt. He has just given a massive hit with ‘Ghulam’ but I found a very good friend and mentor in him. He was someone I looked up to, trusted and surrendered to as a director. He brought the best out in me in that film and guided me at every step, every shot I gave.
Any fun or interesting anecdotes that you can share from your shooting days?
I remember on the third or fourth day I walked onto the sets in my usual casual self and sat next to Bhatt saying ‘good morning’. He turned around looked at me, asked me to get up, turn around and go back out and re-enter the sets as Shekhar Saxena. He wanted me to be Shekhar Saxena (the body language) even when the camera was switched off as he wanted me to live the character and rightly so as I had just come out of Mast and was playing a character who was much older and colder as a person.

Aftab Shivdasani on picking up only limited films in Bollywood

What really appealed you to be a part of the psychological thriller?
I think it was the thrill of playing someone older and of course playing a negative character so early on in my career which I believed would challenge me as an actor and bring out the best in me. I wanted to play something completely opposite to what I did in Mast. Also I loved the script and I was getting an opportunity to work with Vikram and Vishesh films.
You also shared screen space with actors like Ashutosh Rana and Irrfan Khan in the film. How did it feel?
I would just look at them in awe as they were so polished and accomplished as actors and had such command over their craft. Unfortunately, I had very little work with Irfan bhai and had more scenes with Ashutosh sir. But I got to learn so much from both of them which I am grateful for.
After making your debut as a grown-up actor in a film like Mast and later taking up a character completely opposite to it must have been a difficult transition.
Yes, it was quite a challenge as like I mentioned I wanted to do something starkly different from the character I played in Mast. Vikram was instrumental in helping me with that transition. He would almost enact it out for me and make me imbibe those body languages into my own.

What kind of reviews and feedback did you receive for the movie? Were there any critical feedback?
I remember mostly positive reviews for the film and critical and positive appreciation for the role I played which caught everyone’s attention. I had received nominations for the best actor in a negative role at quite a few places as well.
Apart from the gripping storyline and the romantic track, what pleased the audience was its music. The songs of Kasoor became a rage amongst the youth at that time.
Yes the music I believe was one of its strongest points apart from the storyline and gripping screenplay. Nadeemji and Shravanji’s music was timeless and gave the film the impetus it needed at the time. In fact even today 23 years later, the music is so relevant and melodious that I still get messages for the music saying how it’s touched so many peoples hearts.
Do you have a favourite song from the movie? Any special memories attached to the same?
‘Dekha jo Tumko’ is my fav track from the album even though I love the entire album. I just think the melody, moments and feel of the song makes it likeable straightaway and has a great recall value. Even the way the song is shot is very beautiful, it captures the transition of the relationship of the characters taking the story forward as well.

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