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'I am free, but I am not cheap'

Anthony kaun hai'

I can't tell you that. That's the crux of the story. It is basically a thriller with lots of humour. The humour is not in your face. It is very subtle, like we have had in old films like Chashme Baddoor and Angoor. It's an intelligent film and is representative of the sensible cinema we as an industry are moving towards.

Are you the next bluffmaster'

In Anthony Kaun Hai, I play this forgery artiste who specialises in duplicating passports and identity cards. Then things start going wrong and he has no idea why these people want to kill him. So now he has to find out who Anthony really is and what got him into this mess.

Isn't it ultimately about the chemistry between Sanjay Dutt and you'

The hero of the film is the story. Whenever there has been a successful actor pair, it is under pressure to deliver. The same with Sanjay and me. The chemistry between the two of us will always be there in every movie we do together. It's just because we act well together. But as characters we have to understand the requirement of the movie.

Isn't there a strong Munnabhai hangover in Anthony Kaun Hai'

See, Munnabhai is different from every other film. It is a very character-oriented movie. People come in to see Munna and Circuit and not Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi. In Anthony Kaun Hai, they will come in to see us playing the characters of Master Madan and Champ.

[Wife Maria Goretti's picture flashes on Arshad's Nokia handset. 'I am still here at the venue of the press conference,' Arshad starts explaining. 'These guys didn't ask me a single question at the conference and now they are asking me all kinds of personal questions!']

But Lage Raho Munnabhai comes just weeks later. Isn't that too much of the same thing'

There's no doubt a gap between the two movies would have been good but then things can't exactly be planned. Munnabhai 2 got delayed a little bit for reasons not in our control. Anthony Kaun Hai was made right on time. But please don't compare the two films. If you come in to watch Anthony expecting it to be a comedy, you will be disappointed.

You have even sung for the new Munnabhai film'

Believe me, I am the worst singer in the world. I can't even sing 'Happy Birthday' properly at someone's birthday party. I did sing some lines for Lage Raho Munnabhai. But please, please don't ask me to sing it here.

Kabul Express has made it to Toronto International Film Festival. Another shot at serious cinema'

I am really happy because Kabul Express proves to the world that Indian cinema is not only about song and dance. It was really tough shooting there but it's part of the job. As far as doing serious cinema goes, I have always done whatever is required of me. I personally find doing comedies more difficult than serious roles because you need a lot more energy all the time.

Was money the reason you turned down Rituparno Ghosh's Sunglass'

Yes, pay was an issue. I am free, but I am not cheap. Now, Rituparno is a good director and I am a good actor. I am sure we are going to work some time in the future.

But you also turned down Naseeruddin Shah and J.P. Dutta!

I didn't have the dates. I really regret not doing both Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota and Umrao Jaan. Yun Hota' because of not getting the chance to work with Naseer. I have been a big admirer of his. He too is very fond of me and was one of the first persons to message me after Munnabhai had released. Umrao Jaan because of the role I missed out on. It's a lovely role played by Naseer in the original version.

Don't relationships sour after such rejections'

Depends on the reasons involved. If the reasons are genuine, which were in my case, I don't think it should matter. It's a small industry, ours. All it needs is one phone call to verify if an actor is lying or he seriously has date problems.

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