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The boy next-door grows up

Tusshar Kapoor did not get a fair Press when his debut film "Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai" hit the silver screen last year. It did not matter. The film was a hit. Now Tusshar is back with "Kyaa Dil Ne Kaha". RANA A. SIDDIQUI catches up with the unassuming young man poised for better things... .

THE CALL OF THE HEART: Tusshar Kapoor awaits the release of `Kyaa Dil Ne Kaha'.

HE WOULD like to play Guru Dutt. On the road, he might just drive down past a girls' college without many dainty heads turning. On the screen, on a group song he might just merge with the numbers. The boy nextdoor? Yes. Boy ordinary? No way. Not by a long distance. He might just looj like he has stepped out of his home with dark seven o'clock shadow. And he may never inspire you to change your wardrobe. But he is no commoner. In his simplicity lies Tusshar Kapoor's appeal. He may not scream from rooftops. He may never bring a house down with his charisma. But he does things his own way, low-key, soft-profile and all that. The crowd began to warm up to him in his debut film "Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai" where initially the media spotlight was on Kareena Kapoor. But it is unlikely to take that long this time. Tusshar is back. With "Kyaa Dil Ne Kaha" and is hoping to silently sneak into the hearts of cinegoers.

In Delhi to promote his new film, he is dressed in off-white T-shirt and blue jeans as he takes time to meet mediapersons. He impresses you with his politeness and a face without a frown at the "most uncomfortable questions" and readiness to share all about himself and the family and films. His first film `Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai' was a hit though Tusshar Kapoor was considered no hero matter. But there was one asset that proved a saving grace for the otherwise doomed hero -- his dancing skills - well appreciated and noticed. Tusshar, with a better physique and well groomed face now, is all geared up to "play himself" in `Kya Dil Ne Kaha' -- a fun-loving boy, a little obstinate, confident and definite about his goal. "I identify myself with the role as I have always been like that. A little rebellious, stubborn and like to go my own way. So much so that I would even forgo my father's command many-a-times though he is my best critic and influence," he admits without mincing words.

Here, he is quick to add that he never used his father's influence to get his first film. "I got the role solely on my own." This young man who considers "patience" his asset hates leaving things half done. "I hate to leave an incomplete work. I feel determined to do anything that I start but I never get hassled to see the result." This wait and watch approach goes with his film also. "I am not a box office man, I believe more in my performance than how the film works," he says though he believes that the film would do well for the twists in the tale never explored earlier. "The boy despite being in love with the girl refuses to marry her. The very reason for refusal has made the film different," he explains.

The film also explores Tusshar's dancing skills. "Before joining films, I did a five-month course on dancing and I certainly inherited some skills from my father also," he laughs while saying he "would not like to dance like him as he makes him embarrassed with certain jerks." Reacting on his "off-screen chemistry" with Esha, Tusshar displays a few creases on his forehead. "She is a sweet, childhood friend. Please don't read much into it."

Surprisingly, "not a movie and party goer" this "food-lover" would not have regretted if he had not been in films. "I would have been a businessman," he says, calm and composed. Coming next with Kareena in "Jeena Isi Ke Liye" and Esha in "Kya Pyar Karoge Mujhse" Tusshar patiently awaits "clean" roles that Guru Dutt did in films like "Pyasa" and "Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam".

Photo: S Subramanium

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