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Interview Hindi

People usually think of me for negative roles, says actor Shaji Chaudhary on his career in Hindi films 

The actor, who made his debut in Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar, talks about his love for Rajasthan and his forthcoming films. 

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Actor Shaji Chaudhary made his mark in his debut film role itself, where he played Adham Khan in Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar (2008).

After the success of the film, Chaudhary was seen in films like Shootout at Wadala (2013), PK (2014), Mohenjo Daro (2016), Kaabil (2017), and the Thugs of Hindostan (2018). 

Talking about how he began his career in films, the actor said, “Jodhaa Akbar was my first film and it was a big break for me. Before that, I was modelling. On television, I was in season 2 of the serial Shaktimaan. I went to meet Ashuji [Ashutosh Gowariker] randomly, as I had heard that he was making a historical film. He asked for a screen test and an audition. The following day, I received a call saying that I was shortlisted, but had to do one more audition. I was almost finalised for the role of Sharifuddin Hussain, which was ultimately played by Nikitin Dheer. But then I got jaundice and was in a bad state. The shooting was to start in 10-15 days, so finally they decided that I would play Adham Khan.”

The role proved to be a godsent gift and brought recognition to Chaudhary, whose career in cinema took off from there. “After Jodhaa Akbar, people started looking at me differently. I got a brand with that film, so things changed a lot and became easier,” he said. 

With his height and personality suited to commanding roles, Chaudhary is often cast either in negative roles or in commanding ones, where he plays a police or army officer. He said, “I would like to do all kinds of roles, but because of my height and personality, people usually think of me for negative roles.” 

At the Rajasthan International Film Festival, held in Jaipur from 18-22 January this year, the actor lamented on the lack of space for Rajasthani films, saying, “I belong to Rajasthan and feel very proud that such events are taking place in Rajasthan and I try with all my heart to attend these events. I feel very sad that we do not have space for Rajasthani films as such. In comparison, regional films, like Gujarati or Bhojpuri films are doing so well. I feel very proud whenever the name of Rajasthan comes up.” 

His forthcoming films include HE Amjad Khan's Gul Makai, a biopic on the life of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who championed for free education for women. Chaudhary plays an army officer in the film that is set to release on 31st January. 

Other projects include Bedaad in February where he plays a police inspector from Punjab, the web-series Mirzapur 2 and Rohit Shetty’s next, Sooryavanshi. 

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Rajasthan International Film Festival