He played inspector Hanuman Prasaad Pandey in SAB TV’s FIR and Dash in Shaitan (June 2011). Now, the 27-year-old Shiv Pandit from Mumbai is ready for his Tamil debut, Leelai. Playing an IT professional, Karthik, in the film, Pandit is keen on exploring different avenues in Indian cinema. With Leelai scheduled to release today, Pandit opens up on his language skills and the difference between the two industries.
In the beginning
Pandit has come a long way from his commercials (Airtel and Sprite). Recalling how he was tracked down for his Tamil debut, he says, “It was comical. Andrew (the director of Leelai) spotted me in an Airtel ad after which he wanted to meet me. There was no audition but when he saw me stepping out of my car, he knew I was the guy. At least, that’s what he says (laughs).”
On the sets
“I play the role of an IT guy. I am a rascal in this movie, a complete yet harmless flirt. And as the name of the movie suggests, I do a lot of leelai (mischief). I am not a flirt in real life so my director would tell me stories about his experiences in college,” says Pandit.
Having to act in a foreign language can be difficult but Pandit was up to the challenge. “My co-star Mansi and I would sit on the sets, not knowing what the technicians were saying. Before we started shooting, I took the script back home and studied it for more than five months, and understood every line,’’ adds Pandit.
Open to experiment
Identifying the difference between the Tamil industry and Bollywood, he says, “People in the South are more open to ideas, and accept new stories. But in the North they just want commercial movies.” And while he did get his big break on the small screen, Pandit says he gets easily bored with similar roles. ‘‘I want to reinvent myself. I am open to all kind of roles and do not want to restrict myself to a particular genre,” he concludes.
I love sitcoms: I’ve just finished watching the entire season of Game of Thrones on HBO. Next up are Wire, featuring Dominic West, John Doman and Deirdre Lovejoy, and Boardwalk Empire, which won an Emmy award.
F for food: I eat a lot and I have a sweet tooth. I eat so much that I have to work out accordingly. And I love ice creams.
Play on: I play at a friend’s house. I did not get myself a PS3 as it would be hard to concentrate on anything else. I can go on a video game riot, not eating and sleeping for days together.
Do the sport: I love basketball. I have been a district level player. I play football too. I enjoy adventure sports and have tried rafting, snorkeling, sky diving, trekking and bungee jumping. I prefer activities that give me an adrenaline rush.