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From English theatre to Hindi film

Madhur Tankha
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Ruchir Raj takes a calculated risk by debuting in “404”

A Thriller in flashback:A scene from an unconventional film based on the conflict of illusion and reality.
A Thriller in flashback:A scene from an unconventional film based on the conflict of illusion and reality.

English theatre actor Ruchir Raj knew he was taking a calculated risk by debuting in an unconventional film, “404”, that is set for release in theatres across the country this Friday but was confident that the script would play a key role in the film's success.

More than the film, it is the role that no new actor would have dared to accept: that of a ghost. “I knew that accepting the film was a risky decision but went ahead because I believed that the film will strike a chord with the multiplex crowd because of its intelligent narration. I am playing Gaurav, an original occupant of Room No.404 of a medical college. The film moves in flashback and my character is revealed,” says Ruchir.

The main character, Abhimanyu, is essayed by Rajvvir Arora, who stays in the room that was earlier occupied by Gaurav. “Abhimanyu is a rational person who wants to dispel all rumours by moving into the room that has been left unoccupied for years. Soon Abhimanyu gets obsessed with the ghost (Gaurav). He even sidelines his love interest to find out what Gaurav is trying to explain to him. People around him think that Rajvvir is hallucinating but he is actually able to see the ghost,” he says.

Veteran actor Satish Kaushik is playing Professor Vaidya, while Tisca Chopra ofTaare Zameen Parfame is playing Dr. Meera. Another character, Chris, is being played by Imaad Shah.

The film was shot mostly at the Forest Research Institute in Dehra Dun where director Praawal Raman was able to design a set that had a mortuary, office and Room No. 404.

Hailing originally from Lucknow, Ruchir comes from a political family. “My father's constituency is Khushinagar that is the resting place of Lord Buddha. It is teeming with monasteries and temples funded by donors from abroad. ..After finishing my schooling from Delhi Public School, Noida, I graduated from an advertising and graphics institute in Britain. I was employed with advertising company for 13 months before Praawal Raman met me in Goa and asked me whether I had an acting background. I told him about my performances inOthelloandRomeo and Julietand other theatrical shows in Shakespeare Festival. And he signed me for404.”

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