Even as he readies to face the critics with his performance in the upcoming film, Fugly, actor Arfi Lamba (who had a cameo role in Slumdog Millionaire) will act in a Hollywood film – The Key Project – which reportedly, also stars Lady Gaga and Akon.
Team MissMalini spoke to him about all things Fugly and also, his Hollywood project. Here’s what he told us.
Team MissMalini: Tell us about your role in Fugly and how you landed the part?
Arfi Lamba: I play the role of Aditya, who is often called Hairaan Haggu by his friends. The boy is from a middle-class family and his father has a business of selling toilet pots. He is the voice of reason as middle class values are storming in him and he often comes across as a fattu. But the character gets into some hilarious situations that will make him very endearing to the audience. I guess all of us will relate to him and you will find a part of yourself (or a friend like him) in your life.
Director Kabir Sadanand was auditioning for this part and I knew about the character but he never asked me for it. There were two – three actors being considered before me till one fine morning, while we were at the airport on our way to Delhi, he asked me what Aditya would do in such a situation. I casually said that he would measure the sizes of people’s arses and would imagine what pot can fit them. And Bingo! I was on for an audition. He was trying to see if Aditya exists in me by discussing the character in depth with me. What followed were embarrassing situations where he actually made me do all of that at the airport. So when Ashvini Yardi saw my audition, she was sure that I can play the part and that’s how Fugly fell into my lap.
Team MM: What was it like shooting for Fugly? Tell us some fun/crazy anecdotes from the set?
AL: While shooting, the F in Fugly meant fun and friendship for us. We were a very young team. Our director is very young and so is our producer, Ashvini Yardi. We have played a lot of pranks and have had a lot of them played on us. Kabir is a wonderful actor and a brilliant director but he is a task-master on sets. Once Kiara Advani and I were mimicking how he and our DOP, Milind sir, take shots on sets and we did not know that one of the ADs had recorded that. And of course, he got to know about it. That day on set, all me and Kiara heard were, ‘Abey, apna scene to hora nahin, Kabir ki acting karenge’. And we both did not know where to hide.
Team MM: What did you learn from your co-star, Olympic medalist Vijender Singh?
AL: Well, Vijender is an achiever, someone the whole country is proud of. Though he was thrown into a totally new space of a shooting set, it did not take him much time to learn the tricks of the trade. He is very dedicated, focussed and mentally strong. He has done an awesome job without any formal training in the field of acting and that’s a huge inspiration in itself. He is established in his area of work and is taking a plunge in a totally new field and that takes courage but he is very confident and very humble.
Team MM: Is The Key Project the first international film you’re doing after Slumdog Millionaire?
AL: I had signed The Pollutant, which was to be directed by Prakash Belawadi (The guy who plays the villain in Madras Cafe and is a national award winner) and was to be produced by Hepp Films, which is a renowned Swedish Production House. The project got delayed. Now I am glad that The Key Project is happening.
Team MM: How did you land this role in The Key Project?
AL: I have been traveling to Cannes and Berlin International film festivals and have made friends in most of the foreign film markets. It’s in Cannes last year that I met some members of the team but the project was at the ideation stage. But recently I got a call and we are waiting for the final script to move ahead.
Team MM: Any idea what your role is about and if you will share screen space with Lady Gaga and Akon?
AL: Lady Gaga being a part of the project is a surprise for me too. I still do not know how sure this news is. But I am looking forward to be a part of the project with Akon. I cannot talk much about it because of contractual obligations.
Team MM: What is the first thing you would tell Lady Gaga if you met her? And Akon?
AL: I do not know if I meet her (as I do not know if she is a part of the project) or the two together, but If I do, then I will sing her that Akon anthem, Wanna be my Chamak Challo? LOL!
Team MM: If you could gift Akon and Lady Gaga something from India, what would you gift them?
AL: I would definitely like to take a Nehru bundhgala jacket for Akon and maybe some classical Indian music CDs.
Team MM: Where will The Key Project be shot and how are you preparing for your role?
AL: There will be a final announcement for this soon and I am also looking forward to them announcing the final locations.
Team MM: And finally, why do you suggest the public should go and watch Fugly? What is the USP of the film?
AL: It is a journey of four friends. We face the same issues that the youth faces right now. We have tried to bring home a message though the thrilling journey of four youngsters without being preachy at all. You will find yourself and your friends in Aditya, Gaurav, Dev and Devi. The message is simple, Lets Fight Ugly. That’s Fugly for us!