The very name of ‘Arslan Goni’ may not be known to everyone today. But, if the mint fresh trailer of his debut film Jia Aur Jia is anything to go by, then it won’t be wrong to say that, he is definitely a name and a face to watch out for in the future of Bollywood. Hailing from Kashmir, Arslan Goni, besides being blessed with good looks, is also equally blessed with acting prowess.
Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with the debutante actor for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts:
Is it true that your name Arslan means ‘Lion, the King of jungle’?
Yes. According to all the myths, ‘Arslan’ does mean by a lion, which happens to be the ‘king of the jungle’.
Speaking of being the ‘King of Jungle’, have you set your eyes on being the King of the Bollywood jungle?
Very honestly, I have not thought about so far. Right now, I am very excited to be a part of the jungle. Eventually, everybody wants to be the king of the jungle. But, as of now, I am fully concentrating on my career. It’s going to be one step at a time.
Since you hail from a family of lawyers and high ranked government officials, did it come as a culture shock to your parents when you announced your decision to join the entertainment industry?
Surprisingly, for a long time, I never told my parents about my interest in the entertainment industry. At that time, I was studying law in Mumbai. Since we have lots of lawyers and political people in our family, I thought they will discourage me from doing so. But surprisingly, my parents were extremely supportive and kind about my decision. I feel extremely blessed.
Generally, people come to Mumbai in search of their love for acting. Is it true that you came to Mumbai in search of your real life love?
She was my first girlfriend. I did not come searching for her; I was already in Mumbai with her.
What, ultimately happened to your real life love story?
She got married! Not to me … though…. (laughs). It was quite long time back!
When and where did the showbiz bug bite you?
As I told before, I always had that bug in me but then I never had the guts to think about it as a full-time career.
You have been paired with Kalki Koechlin and Richa Chadha. How was it to work with both of them?
I met both the girls at the airport when I was preparing for the shoot. Even though I was extremely nervous when I met them, both the girls were extremely nice to me. When we reached Sweden to shoot for the film, I felt as if I knew the girls for the longest time. It never ever came across that I am shooting with them for the first time. Both of them are extremely dedicated actresses. Kalki, so to say, has practically handheld me during the entire course of the film. She was aware that I was a newcomer and the problems that I could face as a newcomer. She assured her full support and was practically with me through the film. Richa, on the other hand, was extremely fun and encouraging to work with, even though she bullied me a bit! (laughs). Both of them are fantastic performers in their own right.
Is there anything that you have learnt from them?
With them around, every single day was a learning experience for me.
The film’s trailer is definitely breezy and comes across as a breath of fresh air. What was your first reaction after seeing the film’s trailer?
I was extremely happy. As you rightly said, the trailer does give the viewers a breath of fresh air.
Being a non-smoker, Kalki reportedly found it tough to play the role of a smoker. Is there any scene which you found uncomfortable doing in the film?
Yes. There is. But, that scene is not there in the film. There is a scene in the film where I was supposed to jump in the water. Even though the scene was not to be shot as it was to be spoken about, Ali Abbas Mughal thought that we should shoot it. As a part of the said shot, I had to jump in minus two degrees of water! And when I jumped in the water, I realized what the term ‘skipping a heartbeat’ was all about! (laughs).
Since Jia Aur Jia primarily revolves around Kalki and Richa, will it be right to call it as Bollywood’s first film on girls’ road trip?
The film’s story is basically about three individuals, the protagonists being both the girls (Jia) as the title suggests. In a nutshell, Jia Aur Jia is a coming of age story. It’s about three strangers coming together and forming a bond of friendship. And yes, This is the first time a film has been made on girls’ road trip.
Since the film is about only one and a half hour duration, what are the ingredients which the director has packed into the film?
There is love, romance and also a great amount of maturity in the story. It’s an extremely well-written script that’s very fresh and ups your excitement quotient.
If you had to sum up the personalities of Richa Chadha and Kalki Koechlin in one word, what will that be?
While Richa Chadha is an electrifying and live wire actress, Kalki Koechlin is a no-nonsense kind of human being.
The film’s director Howard Rosemeyer is a choreographer as well. Did he make you dance to his tunes? How is he as a debutante director?
What are your fond memories of Sweden, the place where the full film has been shot?
It was my first experience to go to Sweden. The people out there are very educated and extremely down to earth. I am glad that my first film was shot there. Also, one of the producers of the film hails from Sweden. The best part was the food that was served to us.
Lastly, what’s next for Arslan Goni?
I am in the process of reading scripts. You will hear from me the moment I finalize something!