`The role was scary... '

... says Arif Zakaria about `Dance Like a Man'

"ALL MY films so far have been flops." This is Arif Zakaria's response to "Haven't some of your films fared badly?" The actor was on a tour to promote Dance Like a Man.

His films may have failed but not Zakaria. You remember him playing a eunuch in Darmiyan. But a Bharatanatyam dancer? "It was scary. But actors look for something different. What greater challenge than to play a classical dancer with zero knowledge about the art form?" Five months of training with guru Deepak Mazumdar prepared him somewhat, but "I'd have never done it without Shobana. She chose steps that suited me, which I could handle," he says.

"I learnt a lot in doing this role, a bit of Kannada, about a wholly different milieu in the south. I began to appreciate Carnatic music." What he found most difficult was not the dancing but the scenes of conflict with wife Ratna (Shobana), each a little different in mood. Whatever they may think of his `adavus', viewers will agree that in Dance Like a Man, Zakaria has achieved an intensity matching his dignity. Like all good actors, he has revelled in shades of grey, creating a credible character, which is a perfect partner for Shobana's remarkable performance.

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