Paresh Pahuja, a Sindhi boy from Ahmedabad has finally managed to live his dreams. He started his work life with client servicing and now, he has ended up debuting with a grand film like Tiger Zinda Hai from Yash Raj Films. Just in his debut film, Paresh as Azaan has garnered a lot of appreciation from the audience! Apart from Salman Khan, it was Paresh who attracted several eyeballs and he is being loved by everyone. Also, in a film like Tiger Zinda Hai, being it a multi-starrer film, making yourself stand out from it, is a huge task. But Paresh has flawlessly marked his presence in the film.

Recently, in an exclusive conversation with Koimoi.com, Paresh candidly spoke about her grand debut, how he bagged Tiger Zinda Hai, his equation with Salman Khan, his love for music and much more!

Tiger Zinda Hai’s Paresh Pahuja Exclusive: Salman Khan Really Helped Me To Play Azaan’s Character
Tiger Zinda Hai’s Paresh Pahuja Exclusive: Salman Khan Really Helped Me To Play Azaan’s Character

1. First of all many congratulations for the film. To start with tell us how did you bag a grand film like Tiger Zinda hai?

(Laughs) I am still wondering that how did I bag the film! You know the good thing was that I was never aware of which film is it or what is it because when Shanoo Sharma called me for the audition, she didn’t tell me what is it all about, the auditions and all. She just told me that, ‘There is something, are you free for this time of period? Come tomorrow, we will audition you.’ And I was like okay! But for which film she was going to audition me was unknown. So, I went for the auditions and they gave me a scene to do it. Apart from me, there were other boys too. I gave my audition and left from there. I didn’t receive any response from them for a month. And I also forgot about it, got busy with my other things. One day, she calls me again, exactly in a months’ time, she was like, ‘You have been shortlisted, come again and we will give another scene.’ Then I just thought that if Yash Raj Productions has shortlisted me, then it would be something big. In the second round, they made me sign an NDA also and asked not to reveal anything about the scene to anyone. After completing my second round too, I didn’t receive any call from Shanoo or YRF for a month. Then one day she called me and said, ‘Listen, you have got the film!’ So, I asked her for which film I have been selected for? So she said, ‘This is for Tiger Zinda Hai and you will be a snipper.’ Honestly, I was very excited but somewhere I was also worried that the film has such huge stars like Salman Khan, I really worship him, but at the same time, I was also nervous in a way that if I might get overshadowed in the film. In my debut film, if my presence gets over-shined, as in the end, it is a Salman Khan film. So then I asked her if I can read the script once, and she was like, ‘Yes, please!’

I went to read the script, I also spoke to Ali Abbas Zafar sir, I had some questions about my character and he cleared them. Yes, that’s it! Then I said yes and I was on board.

2. What was your first reaction after you were signed for the film?

My first reaction was very mixed ya! Actually, I was not able to understand if it is happening for real. I was thinking that I got the film in just two rounds, so it might be a very small role or there will be 2-3 scenes only, like a supporting role. Because from what I had heard was for getting a film under YRF banner, one have to give at least 10-12 rounds of auditions. I wasn’t particularly happy happy but I became like one thoughtful person, I want to read the script and then decide. Then when I read the script that blew my mind! I was amazed by reading it and how beautifully it was written. I was totally in love with the part of Azaan.

3. Debuting with a banner like Yash Raj Films and actors like Salman, Katrina and Paresh Rawal, it is a dream for every new actor. How does it feel to be a part of Tiger Zinda Hai and the great thing is that your character of Azaan is being loved by everyone. How is the feeling right now?

This is way beyond than what I expected out of this film. Despite reading the script, despite doing everything and shooting and spending that kind of time with them, I wasn’t sure about how my character will look like when it comes out. Because it is a multi-starrer at the end of the day and we have such huge actors in it. The film has so many different tracks of the nurses, then there is Kumud Mishra and Paresh Rawal’s role is so important. So I didn’t expect that my character will be out like this and it will be well received the audience. But I prepared like a lead only, like I trained for 3 months and watched all videos for the same; even I did martial arts too. So, I did everything for my role. Then Salman sir was very welcoming, warm and caring!

4. How was the experience of working with Salman Khan?

You know this is a question that has been asked in each and every interview that I give and I don’t know what I should say about him! Every time, I get stuck on this question. Because the kind of feeling he has given me, I can’t describe it. He is extremely loving, caring and human, like a brother, like a father. But there was something more ya! Working with him, there was a lot more spiritual I would say, it was divine. He makes a part of his family and he takes care of your food, your workouts, everything in a very personal way. So that was very beautiful! He is a very lovely human ya!

5. You know, for an actor it becomes a bit difficult to make himself/ herself stand out in a film where there are so many huge stars already. And in your debut film, you have successfully managed to do so. What do you have to say about it?

I would say that I cannot take any credits for this. I think all the credits go to Ali sir! Because he has given my character Azaan such a beautiful graph and layers to him which makes him stand out. I didn’t do anything extra in it, he has written that character so beautifully and my character also has a patriotic angle to it. So whenever you see the flag in the film and even in the last scene, you think of Azaan. Also when I had read the script that was the major reasons that Azaan has his own track in the film. I would give all the credits to Ali sir and Salman sir also, he really helped me to play this part.

6. How did your parents react when they saw you on the big screen?

They all started crying, like literally sobbing! Everyone had gone together to watch the film and as soon they saw me on-screen, everybody started crying. I haven’t met them yet because of my work.

Tiger Zinda Hai’s Paresh Pahuja Exclusive: Salman Khan Really Helped Me To Play Azaan’s Character
Tiger Zinda Hai’s Paresh Pahuja Exclusive: Salman Khan Really Helped Me To Play Azaan’s Character

7. Was becoming an actor always on the cards? 

Becoming an actor was a dream but not a plan. Because you don’t believe these things when you come from a smaller city or a middle-class family. So the normal plan of life is to do a master’s degree and find a job and then get married one day and die. So, that was my plan also. But that seed inside you which is planted somehow, it doesn’t go! I had done a lot of theatre work during my college days and I used to be like a big movie buff. So, somehow I landed up in Bombay for my post-graduation. From there I got a job in Advertising (client servicing), then I got a job in a production house and after that, I started giving auditions for advertisements. So now that I was so close to the industry, I thought to give it a try. I have given around 300-400 auditions. After that, I started getting ads and that’s how it started.

8. When I stalked your Instagram account, I came to know that you are passionate about singing too. So can we see a musical debut anytime soon?

I would love to do that ya! I would love to sing for AR Rahman, Vishal-Shekhar, Amit Trivedi…these are my favourites!

9. Now that you have worked with Salman, are there any other actors on your wish list?

Amitabh Bachchan! I want to work with him very soon, and I think I will! I would also love to work with Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh.

10. What kind of genres you enjoy the most or you want to be a part of?

I would love to be a part of a big YRF romance! I want to be the face of big YRF romance directed by Aditya Chopra just like a DDLJ! I also like intense kind of romance which is Sairat or a Rockstar. I would love to play a musician and also a sports biopic too! I will do everything (laughs).

11. Lastly, what’s next on the platter?

Nothing confirmed yet! I have been reading a few scripts but nothing is confirmed. It is in an initial stage yet. I am waiting to be approached by my favourite directors like Aditya sir, Rajkumar Hirani, Aanand L Rai, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and the list goes on!

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