Mirror broke the story on March 8, 2014 that after a long dry spell following his arrest, rape-accused actor Shiney Ahuja has finally landed a role in Anees Bazmee’s Welcome Back. We called up the actor, who is shooting in Dubai, on Friday. Excerpts:
How did it feel to land a role after two years? Welcome Back happened just like that. Shahid from Anees bhai’s (director Anees Bazmee) office came over to tell me that he wanted me to do his film and suggested that I meet him. We drove down to Firoz’s (producer Firoz Nadiadwala) house where I met both him and Anees. A few years ago, my life had changed in just two hours. It changed again, in two hours. Anees and Firoz have brought happiness back into my life.
How did your co-stars react to you on the sets? Anil Kapoor and I were on the same flight. He hugged me and said, “Welcome back, listen, you gotta rock now. You need to start concentrating on your acting again.” In Dubai, John Abraham and Nana Patekar have been friendly, and Naseeruddin Shah hugged me so tightly that it said it all. Anees too is very encouraging. Everyone can’t be demonstrative, but they are all trying to make me feel at home.
Is your wife Anupam with you in Dubai? No, but she will be joining me here for a few days. She is overjoyed. When I called her from Firoz’s house and gave her the good news, she called my dad in Delhi and he started crying on the phone. He even broke down when I was about to take my flight to Dubai. I believe these guys had concealed their emotions. It made me realise how important it was for them to see me go back to work. Sitting home jobless was tough for me too, very tough.
You’ve kept out of the public eye… Without work, how could I be seen in public? But I used to go to restaurants often with my daughter Arshiya and wife. I spent a lot of time with my daughter. I would take my daughter out to the playground, even drop her to school and pick her up. Let me tell you, I owe this second chance to her and my wife.
Did your daughter tell you anything at some point? She is too young to react. Uske liye tab bhi main shoot pe jaata tha, aaj bhi shoot pe hoon. I used to look at her and my wife and wonder, “Who will take care of them if I die?” That though kept me going. I never gave up.
Did you consider an alternative career at any point? Film people don’t consider other options. We wait to come back with a bang.
You went to Bhatts asking for work, but nothing materialised… (Long pause) No comments.
Where did you go wrong with Hijack and Ghost? An actor cannot contribute to the script and the direction. Let’s say we did our best but failed. Which star has a 100 per cent track record?
How much has Shiney changed? Every human being strives to become a better person–professionally and personally. I am no different.