Connecting with the young scene-stealing Siddharth Nigam who plays the junior Aamir Khan in the mega-blockbuster Dhoom 3 is not easy. Siddharth, who does a lot of gymnastics and magic tricks in the film, and that includes holding his own against Aamir in the surrealistic sequence that they share, turns out to be a national-level gymnast from Allahabad.
Says the Dhoom 3 director Vijay Krishna Acharya,"Siddharth is fantastic. He's a national-level gymnast. All the jumps and flips that you see him do in the film were done by him. He's a boy from Allahabad. When I saw him, I saw something special in him. You know children are so unaffected. He was with me for three months. I designed a workshop with him....He was here to see the film last week. I am waiting for the kid to grow up so he can do Dhoom 10. I am hoping he remains unaffected."
I locate Siddharth far away from Mumbai in Allahabad where he studies at boarding school and trains for gymnastics at the school.
Though he plays a 10-year old in Dhoom 3, Siddharth is actually 13. And a normal excitable 13-year old.
Asks Siddharth, "What are people saying about me in Mumbai? I did attend the screening. But after that, I came back to boarding school. I really enjoyed the experience of being in this big film with big stars. So far, I had only seen those stars on screen. Suddenly Jackie Uncle and Aamir Uncle were in front of me. It was unreal."
Director Vijay Krishna Acharya saw him in a Bournvita ad and signed him on.
Says Siddharth, "They had seen my ad. They called me. I went for the auditions. And I was on." Since Aamir had two different roles to perform, his junior avatar too had to go through the very complex motions of creating two different characters.
The boy sailed through the task. "I had no problem doing any of the scenes. The only time I had a problem was when I had to call Jackie Uncle, 'Papa'. That felt ....strange. Otherwise kab shuroo hua kab khatam pataa nahin chala. Bahot mazaa aaya."
After the shooting, Siddharth returned to Allahabad and boarding school but was again back in Mumbai to see the film for a screening to which he was invited.
Says the wonder kid, "When I saw myself on screen, it felt like it was someone else, not me."
At the film's screening Siddharth met his idol. "Amitabh Uncle was there. I had never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd actually see him in person some day. But then I never thought I'd be in a movie either."
Gymnastics are Siddharth's first love. "I'd like to focus on that. But if I get good offers, I'd be happy to do more movies."