Bollywood newbie Arjun Mathur says he's attracted to roles that others are scared of doing

Still basking in the glory of his last release “My Name is Khan” in which he played Raj Bohra, the intern-reporter, actor Arjun Mathur relives the moments he shared with Bollywood's undisputed Badshah, Shah Rukh Khan. “As expected, SRK was a thorough professional, and it was a superb experience working with someone I grew up idolising,” confesses the UK-born Indian actor.

Arjun was seen in Zoya Akhtar's debut venture “Luck by Chance” in 2009, in which he played the role of Abhimanyu Gupta, the struggling theatre-actor friend of protagonist Farhan Akhtar. He is now all set to make his presence felt in Onir's “I Am Omar”, which is a series of four short films.

“‘I Am' isn't a mainstream film. It is topical and focuses on issues mainstream cinema hasn't tried to tackle yet. Based on real life stories, the four short films deal with the general theme of fear,” says Arjun.

“I play a male prostitute in “I am Omar” and I've been paired opposite Rahul Bose.”

His love scene with Rahul in the movie has created much hype. In 2007, Arjun was cast opposite Irrfan Khan in Mira Nair's “Migration.”

Even before he is asked what's with him and homosexual roles, he explains: “I'm not attracted to gay roles. It is just that I have no inhibitions playing offbeat characters.I would say I am attracted to roles that others are scared of doing.”

Rigorous training

He's trained at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, New York, Barry John's Imago School of Acting, New Delhi and Kishore Namit Kapoor's Acting Laboratory, Mumbai, and been a part of a slew of short films.

“Every film I've done has been done for different reasons, either for money, to get noticed, or simply for that soul-satisfying experience. My short films have indeed satisfied my soul. Also, I do believe theatre people are more intelligent!” Right now, the critically-acclaimed actor claims he's dying to do comedy.

For someone from a non-filmi background, interested in offbeat roles, creating a niche in B-town isn't the easiest thing but Arjun believes: “The niche one carves in the industry is simply the viewers' perception of that actor. Personally, I'm not caught up with getting noticed as the next big thing nor am I consciously making an effort to create a niche for myself. What you project is what people perceive and think of you; my acting does all the talking.”

Arjun has served as an assistant director in movies such as “Rang de Basanti”, “The Rising-Mangal Pandey” and “Kyun Ho Gaya Na” before he took to acting. “Someday I want to direct movies but I don't see that happening in the near future.”

While Arjun is not fully certain about the projects lined up for him this year, he does hope to find time to do what he loves best… paint.