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  • Vizag boy Saahil Sehgal is all set to debut in Hollywood!



    How did a Vizag boy end up making his acting debut with a Hollywood film starring Oscar winner Brie Larson, really? “It’s a mix of a lot of things. I dreamt of becoming be an actor. And over time, after numerous struggles, auditions, acting schools and more, it happened,” says Saahil Sehgal , who is making his debut with Basmati Blues.

    It seems like Saahil was destined to bag the role. “I auditioned for the film and the casting director loved me. She wanted me to fly down to the US, but my visa had just expired and there was no way I could get it renewed in a week. The casting director was as disappointed as I was when that happened. I was shooting for an ad in Kolkata when I got a call and was told that the director and producer are coming to Mumbai and wanted me to re-audition for the role. I auditioned again and the role was mine. I began shooting for the film just two weeks after,” he explains.

    The film that was shot in Kerala, Mumbai, New York and Los Angeles will see Saahil play the role of William Patel. “He is basically an Indian, born and brought up abroad. But he comes back to India to take over his family business. The film is a romantic musical, and Brie Larson, an Indian-American actor called Utkarsh Ambudkar and I play the lead roles. The story revolves around the three of us,” explains Saahil .

    Directed by Dan Baron, the film revolves around a multinational company called Mogil. “The CEO sends a scientist, played by Brie, to India to sell a genetically modified variety of rice to the farmers in India. And I play the guy who helps Brie get the farmers on board. But we discover that the seeds are sterile. Which means, the farmers will have to keep going back to the company to buy seeds. What happens next forms the crux of the story,” he adds.

    The film, which has been in the making since 2013 is finally set to hit the screens soon. Explaining why it took so long, Sahil says, “We shot a major chunk of it in 2013 and then there was a lot of patchwork left that was shot in 2015. It’s an independent film and the director is a debutant too. He wanted things to be a certain way and kept making changes. He wanted the film to be as perfect as possible, so that took a while.”

    Ask him what it was like to work with Brie Larson who won an Academy award for her role in the 2015 film, Room, and Saahil says, “Brie wasn’t the Academy-award-winner-Brie back then. She was just another co-star on the sets who was fun and easy to work with. We were both just playing our parts.”

    Admittedly Saahil was more excited when he found out that he will be sharing the screen with Don Sutherland. “I walked in for the costume trials and saw Donlad Sutherland’s name on the cast sheet put up on a wall. I got excited as I had no idea that he was going to be a part of the film. I love his work in everything from Italian Job to Hunger Games. I even have a song with Donald in the film and it’ll be the first that he has sung in his whole career. It was a really great experience,” adds Saahil .

    The film’s trailer, which released recently, ran into trouble with many criticising Brie Larson, of playing the ‘white saviour’ in the film. While the makers have clarified that the film is not about ‘an American going abroad to solve India’s problems’, social media is rife with Indians calling out the makers for ‘cultural appropriation’ and yet again, projecting India as a country with bad English, spicy food, song and dance, and nothing more. Saahil however, says, “People jumped the gun really fast on this one. Reacting this way has kind of become a part of the dysfunction right now. And I’m not saying that just because it’s my film. People need to be able to take a step back and give something a real chance. Because whatever they’ve been claiming, that’s not what the film is about at all.”

    He goes on to add, “Director Dan Baron and his wife had spent time in India and fallen in love with the country. That’s why they wanted to make a film about India. They even watched a lot of Bollywood musicals before making this one. Yes, the film has a white person coming to India and eating spicy food. But then again, cliches are cliches. I feel the reactions to the trailer have got more to do with one’s personal convictions than any real issue at hand.”

    For now though, Saahil is just excited about finally getting to see himself on the big screen. “From my childhood, ever since I decided I wanted to be an actor, this is the moment that I was waiting for.”

    When asked what’s next, he says, “I shoot for a lot of commercials, but I auditioned for a few roles in LA and New York. Nothing is finalised yet, really.”

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / by Neshita Nyayapati / TNN / November 25th, 2017

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