'The film reflects our personal struggles': Punit Pathak

By Hindustan Times

New Delhi, Feb. 24 -- It's safe to say that when ABCD - Any Body Can Dance released earlier this month, not many expected it to do business worth R41 crore in all of two weeks.

The young filmstars, who until a few weeks ago, were only known for their dancing skills, are now looking forward to promising acting careers. Basking in the success of their debut film, Salman Yusuff Khan, Dharmesh Yelande, Punit Pathak and Lauren Gottlieb reveal what lies ahead.

Did you expect your film to do this well? Salman: I always knew it would work. The youth wants something new and the film gives them that.

Lauren: For me, coming to India with no knowledge of the culture, language or lifestyle was a big risk. I am still soaking in the moment of my first film. During the premiere, I cried a lot.

Dharmesh: I was a bit scared. It's a movie about dance and people were comparing it to the Step Up movies. But the audience's response has been heartening.

Punit: When people forget the actor and connect with the character, you know you have succeeded. When I went to watch the film in the theatres, one old lady shook my hand and said, 'I cried a lot when your character died (in the film). I am happy to see you alive.'

ABCD is a small-budget film, with choreographers in the lead roles. It's an underdog film about underdogs. Were you nervous?

Punit: We were all very nervous. After the first screening, Dharmesh and I just hugged each other. We all have come from humble backgrounds with dreams of becoming dancing stars and actors. And the film too reflects our personal struggles and lives in a way.

Salman: I am a mechanical engineer and come from a conservative Muslim background. When I participated in the dance reality show, my relatives were afraid that I would disgrace our family. But I have got here by God's grace. ABCD is my life's story. Every youngster who doesn't have a godfather in his own field, will relate to it.

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