Singer-actor Talat Aziz says he enjoys acting which is why he immediately accepted "Gulmohar" director Rahul V Chittella's offer when the filmmaker approached him for the Sharmila Tagore-Manoj Bajpayee starrer.
Known for songs such as 'Zindagi jab bhi teri bazm mein', 'Phir chhidi raat baat Phoolon ki' and 'Na kisi ki aankh ka' among others, Aziz said he is fortunate that he can do a "decent" job in both acting and singing.
"I enjoy acting. If I didn’t enjoy, I would not do it. I believe in three things, passion, persistence, and practice... Acting, shooting is not an easy job. It is a 12-hour shift, you have long gaps in between, after two shots you have to at times sit in vanity van for two hours. It is a very tedious process and physically tiring also," the singer-actor told PTI in an interview here.
“Acting is a craft. If you ask an actor to sing, he won’t be able to sing, or most of them (won’t be able to). Here, if you are a singer doesn’t mean you can act. I am fortunate that I can do both and do a decent job,” Aziz added.
The musician said while he already knew Tagore, he and Bajpayee met in a cafe to break the ice before the shooting of the film that revolves around a family whose members are about to embark on their individual journeys. He plays the family friend of Tagore's character in the movie.
"Rahul V Chittella approached me in December 2021 and said he would like to meet me for a film. We had dinner together, we spoke, he told me about the film he is making. He said, ‘we would love to have you on board’.
"He said, there is music, but you are not a singer in the film, you will be singing but you will be enacting it. He said the film has Sharmila Tagore, Manoj Bajpayee, I said, 'fantastic and I would love to do it'. He sent the script to me. We did the look test all that was decided. The shoot was fixed but it got cancelled due to Omicron and Sharmila ji couldn’t come from Delhi so everything got delayed. Then we started shoot in Delhi in March. We shot it in actual location," Aziz said.
The ghazal singer said he had played cricket with the nephews of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Tagore's husband and that's how she knew him.
"She was supportive and it was a good experience. Manoj (Bajpayee) is good, we met at a cafe, he likes to learn music. I was like, 'I will teach you'. It was just breaking the ice," he said.
Aziz described himself as a "natural" actor, who is equally spontaneous and willing to surrender in front of his director,
“I am a natural actor. The best advantage I have is language. I am comfortable in English, Hindi, I can relate to the language, the emotion. You surrender yourself to the camera or the music,” he said.
“There are certain things that are not in the script but I do it. The little touches you add. Like, if you have a good bonding (with your co-actor) you react to each other,” he added.
Recalling the beginning of his journey in acting, Aziz said he was first approached by Mahesh Bhatt in 1989 for film "Dhun" but it did not materialise.
He continued his journey as a singer, doing concerts internationally, before the boom in television pulled him back to acting. He appeared in many TV shows in the '90s including “Sailaab”, “Sahil”, and “Ghutan”.
“He (Bhatt) wanted to make a film on a jazz singer. It was about father-son, music, that film got made, it had great music by Laxmikanth-Pyarelal and Anand Bakshi, Mehedi Hasan sang the 'bhajan' with me. Sangeeta Bijlani was paired opposite me.
"It was a good film but it was not meant to (happen). I forgot about it then. Then I went abroad, lived in the US and came back in 1994, restarted my career with music, did some TV shows. I was busy for the next ten years, composing and acting in selected series.”
Director Abhishek Kapoor approached Aziz for his 2016 film “Fitoor”. He was last seen in Hansal Mehta’s short in “Modern Love: Mumbai”, and has two more films in his kitty, one with Mehta again and Hrithik Roshan-starrer “Fighter”.
“So, one led to another. Some worked, some didn’t. I had to let go off a project because of date problems. I am doing a cameo in ‘Fighter’. I am playing Hrithik Roshan’s father’. There is another major project that I am doing in August-September with Hansal Mehta, which I can’t reveal.”
The 66-year-old actor-singer said he believes in evolving with the time and hence he enjoys every bit of his life.
“For instance, I was in Pune at a mall, there were people who sat for two-and-half hours when I sang for that much time non-stop, nobody left. I got tired (and I stopped). I am constantly evolving on stage, I am not doing the same thing. Generally also, I am just enjoying my journey. I teach music to students online, I do my concerts, I travel, meet friends, and sometimes watch Netflix.”
“Gulmohar” is set to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on March 3.