‘I snatched the role’

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Role call Harsh Chhaya volunteered to play the character
Role call Harsh Chhaya volunteered to play the character

Harsh Chhaya is gung-ho about the negative responses to his gay character in ‘Fashion’

Reading Bollywood titbits can be a profitable venture. Harsh Chhaya realised this. It was a filmy snippet about Madhur Bhandarkar being on the lookout for an actor to play a gay character that landed him the gay designer’s role in Fashion.

Bouquets and brickbats

“It’s not just bouquets that are pouring in. I seem to have pissed off a lot of people also for playing the gay character. But I take that as a compliment. An abundance of negative responses means people have taken note of my performance,” Harsh says.

Harsh recalls how he messaged Madhur his inclination and asked for a screen test. “Madhur was not too convinced I would be able to pull off the character. I could understand his reservations as I’m not effeminate at all.” Harsh went on to prepare a five-minute DVD of himself as a gay designer and hopped over to Madhur’s office.

“Madhur had a good laugh, but within a week I got a call from saying that the part was mine. I literally snatched the role from him,” Harsh adds.

He explains the character was not based on anyone in particular. He brushes away the fact that people are identifying it with ‘someone’ as a coincidence. “The look was brought about through trial and error. Madhur, the direction team and I thrashed out the character over several sessions. There were discussions over whether the character should have a wig or not, should he be flashily dressed or not, how much effeminate should he be, should we keep him hyper, should he have a lisp, should he be loud or understated, what should be his mannerisms, ” Harsh recounts.

Right now, Harsh is working on projects that were signed by him prior to the release of Fashion. “I haven’t signed any new movie or TV project. I’m just being careful, ” he adds.

Will he be back on TV? He answers, “There’s no question of being in and out of TV. I’ve been acting in serials. Just that the ones that I’ve shot for are being aired on channels or time slots that people have not taken note of.”

Harsh is excited about Sunny Deol-Shilpa Shetty starrer, The Man, which is being co-directed by Sunny and Neeraj Pathak. “I can’t talk much beyond this about The Man. Sunny wants to keep the project under wraps and I can’t violate the contract that I’ve signed, ” he says apologetically.

He will also be seen in the thriller Blue Oranges, a small film by a first-time director. Another project that he has in hand is a US production, Blood Money, where he essays a Lebanese character.





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