Jackie Shroff quits smoking, drinking for 'Sai Baba'

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Mumbai, July 27 (IANS) Actor Jackie Shroff, who has worked in nearly 150 films and played diverse roles, now plays spiritual leader Sai Baba in a forthcoming movie. And he even quit smoking and drinking to get into the skin of the character.

"I have quit smoking and drinking for the last one-and-a-half years and plan to continue with it in the future too," Jackie told IANS.

The actor has also turned completely vegetarian.

"I did not have the habit of eating non-vegetarian food much, but I have stopped it completely now," Jackie said.

Jackie, who has played a cop with élan in many films, admits that he was initially apprehensive about getting into the role of the spiritual guru for the film titled "Malik Ek". But director Deepak Balraj Vij was adamant about casting him.

"Initially, when he had approached me with the project, I did not agree as I thought playing Sai Baba would not be possible for me.

"But the constant persuasion from the director made me say yes and then I never looked back," said Jackie, who won the Filmfare best actor award for his performance in "Parinda" (1989).

Jackie, who is also an ardent follower of the spiritual guru, said: "Now I feel as if Baba is guiding me in the film and I am only following his instructions."

"Malik Ek" is slated for an October release.

Jackie is also working in Sohail Khan Productions' "Kisaan", where he will be seen as a Sikh farmer. The film also stars Sohail Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Nauheed Cyrusi and Dia Mirza.

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