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09 Dec 2023, Edition - 3070, Saturday

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I envision a cinematic world with Asian superheroes: Rakshak Sahni

Indrani Thakurata


With movies like Lion and Slumdog Millionaire clicking big at the Hollywood box-office, more and more makers are coming forward with subjects involving Indian actors.

One such movie to go on floors soon is Eastern Crimes, with an estimated budget of 30 million dollars. Bollywood actor Rakshak Sahni who began his career in the Indian film industry, playing the lead in Kavyanjali on Star Plus, will play a parallel lead with a yet-to-be-finalized American star in this Hollywood feature film about two cop buddies.

Los Angeles based Rakshak Sahni is a dreamer. Starting out in India, he has moved to Hollywood and is now part of an International film called Eastern Crimes. The makers of the film are in talks with none other than Peter Weir (the director of Hollywood blockbusters such as The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) to helm the project.

Tell us about your role in Eastern Crimes. How did you land it?

The film is about two cop buddies and I play Luqman Shah, an Indian police officer in it. It’s a parallel lead with a yet-to-be-finalized American star. It’s rare that a role is written for an Indian actor to play a parallel action hero opposite a leading American actor in a major Hollywood production. So when writer Mansur Ahmed sent me the script of Eastern Crimes, it immediately got me excited.

You are an actor and producer. Tell us a little bit about your interest in acting. Did you always see yourself in showbiz or did it just happen to you?

I always wanted to be an actor, but began my journey in the Indian film industry as an assistant director at BR Chopra’s prestigious production house. I would say, the actor in me was first noticed by an Executive Producer (EP) from Balaji Telefilms. I was on a set at Madh Island and this EP came to the location to scout for new talent and asked me to audition for Kkavyanjali. There has been no looking back since then.

What are the projects you are currently working on? With web content being so popular, do you think it is a great time to be an actor?

At the moment, Eastern Crimes is the focus. I think, for an actor, any medium is fine to showcase his talent, be it the silver screen, television or the web. Show business is all about showing off your potential to your audience. I feel it’s the most creative of all professions as it brings out your inner self. It brings the deepest emotions of human beings to the fore. What could be more interesting than that. But yes, as an actor, one also needs to have a lot of patience along with all the passion.

Tell us some of the Hollywood and Bollywood movies you really enjoyed this year. And who are the actors which inspire you?

I liked Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron and from Bollywood it was Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. Among actors, I am most impressed with Aamir Khan and Daniel Day-Lewis. I find them thorough method actors.

Do you think Hollywood has finally opened up to people of other nationalities? Recently, Priyanka Chopra has grabbed the opportunity with both arms. Do you have any apprehensions?

Hollywood is a business. The industry doesn’t care whether one is white, black, brown, Indian, American or Chinese. If you sell, you are in business. I have no apprehensions as I have understood the business and can navigate it confidently.

How do you feel about Peter Weir being discussed with to direct Eastern Crimes?

I have watched some interviews of Peter Weir and find him a really cool person with a great sense of humour. He also uses music very well when he envisions the script and story. If he has someone like say AR Rahman on his side, imagine the magic they could weave. It could be a dream team. With a combo like that, Eastern Crimes could win multiple Oscars, just like Slumdog Millionaire.

Once Eastern Crimes goes on floor, will you aggressively pursue more projects in the West?

There are so many stories which originate from India and other Asian countries. I feel if these are converted to Hollywood projects, the filmmaking industry can have a whole new dimension. In fact, in my dreams, I see myself involved in them and even envision a whole new cinematic world with Asian superheroes in the near future

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