FEBRUARY 29, 1pm – Shazahn Padamsee sends me a text that reads: ‘Can you make it home for lunch at 2pm?’
I am starving already.
What follows is a wild rickshaw ride to Bandra and thought bubbles such as, ‘I hope there’s not a lot of salad, I hope it’s not bland, I hope there’s dessert’.
Too much to be thinking about, isn’t it? I reach the elevator and as I open the door, I see her mother, Sharon, walking out.
She looks at me from head to toe and said: “You look like a junior Pacino from Scarface.
“Shazahn’s waiting for you. Enjoy your interview.”
I am smiling with pride. It’s a compliment coming from one of my many schoolboy crushes.
Shazahn opens the door with a smile, a hug and a kiss, before saying: “How are you? How about some lunch now? I am super hungry.”
I ponder on my earlier thought bubbles and after being served some nice spicy chole, wheat rotis and sumptuous yellow daal, I wait for the dessert.
Then I look at Shazahn, who looks like an angel in her black pants and a blue vest.
I completely forget about the dessert.
DEVANSH PATEL: You are doing big movies with top directors and you aren’t even five films old. Are you on cloud nine?
SHAZAHN PADAMSEE: Whatever little I have achieved today, I feel it’s a huge milestone for me.
Films were never on my mind, ever. I come from a theatre background. Both are completely different worlds.
Whatever I have done so far is on my own merit.
There are two kinds of success story – the overnight superstars and the people who take their time to reach the top. I’d surely be going the latter route.
I’ve had a blast so far in our industry. The way things are going is amazing.
DP: Was it a conscious decision to work with top actors?
SP: Right from the beginning I consciously chose to do films with big co-stars. Rocket Singh with Ranbir Kapoor was a great starting point that got me noticed.
Then came Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji with Ajay Devgn and now Housefull 2 with Shreyas Talpade. In between I did two south Indian movies with big stars too.
I have no qualms in saying that I’ve worked damn hard. I also want to take time out to do theatre this year… it’s time.
DP: What madness is your director Sajid Khan coming up with in this crazy laugh riot?
SP: Everyone knows that Sajid Khan is a crazy director. His Housefull was a super hit crazy comic caper. Here he has gone 10 times madder. Can you believe it?
I’ve seen Housefull five times and I think it’s the funniest movie ever. These are the kind of films I’ve always wanted to do. It can’t get more commercial than this. Sajid knows his game.
I am enjoying being in this mad set-up. There is crazy comedy and lots of mistaken identities and this film has me looking more like a Hindi film heroine.
DP: Your father, Alyque Padamsee, is a theatre personality. Will we see both of you share screen space any time soon?
SP: My father will never do a Hindi movie (laughs). Actually, he’ll never do any movie, be it Hindi or English.
His last movie was Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, in which he played the iconic role of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He wants to be remembered with that one role all his life. He got offered two big Hollywood movies recently that he declined.
I am not a big follower of Indiana Jones but my father was also considered for the part that Amrish Puri played in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
DP: How was it to share screen space with Boman Irani?
SP: Boman is my on-screen father. It was absolutely wonderful being Boman’s daughter. He has known me since I was a kid.
He did his first stage appearance in a play called Roshni, which was directed by my father years ago. I used to be a little school kid running around backstage handing over the props to the artists. Now to act with Boman in a movie is surreal.
DP: So, will Housefull 2 surpass the previous Housefull?
SP: To pull off a film with so many actors is not a joke. It’s like you’re paying to watch for one movie and you are getting double, triple, even more in return by seeing a gamut of stars in the film. From Akshay to John to Johnny Lever to Shreyas to Riteish to veterans like Mithunda, Rishiji, Randhirji. It’s a dream come true for any individual.
Housefull 2 will be more than just a Paisa Vasool.
DP: And do you have count of how many jokes your director cracks on the sets in a day?
SP: Sajid Khan cracks one joke per second. You cannot stand still on the sets. In a serious scene you have to laugh first and then act. He is a complete mad hatter. He has so much energy.
By the way, never call him ‘Sajid Sir’ or he’ll laugh out loud. That’s him.
DP: Were you able to draw on the experience and expertise of people like Shreyas?
SP: Shreyas is king of comedy. That’s his genre. Having a good co-star is so important. I’ve been blessed with fantastic co-stars.
I am a struggler right now. I am a baby. But with the experience and expertise of Shreyas, he has got the best out of me so far. He is simply superb as one of India’s finest comic talents.
I loved him in Golmaal too but Housefull will mark his best in comedy – I can guarantee you that.
DP: What have you been able to learn from your co-stars?
SP: What I’ve learned from Ranbir is quite rare. I barely had 10 days of shoot with him. I am addicted to his focus. He has a tunnel vision. He is like a horse with blinkers on.
To have two personalities on set is amazing. Ajay Devgn has been my favourite. He is so effortless. I just never felt that he acts – he was Naren Ahuja, his character. Ranbir too is like that actually.
I learned comic tricks and tips from Shreyas in Housefull. His forte is his comic timing.
DP: Does [producer] Sajid Nadiadwala have hidden talent?
SP: Not many people know this but Sajid Nadiadwala is a great actor – he should act. Someone should cast him in a comic role. He is creatively gifted, breathes cinema.
One night we all played charades. That’s the time I got to know that he is a great actor. He is super animated guy with a hidden talent.