By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
A gift from the super-gifted Benegal. Sammir Dattani who turned 27 on Tuesday couldn't have hoped for a better birthday gift.
A call from the prolific and super-gifted Shyam Benegal's office offering him a role, the veteran director who made his youngest film ever Welcome To Sajjanpur last year, has cast Sammir as the romantic lead in his latest Abba Ka Kuan.
"Working with Shyam Babu was a dream," says Sammir. "I saw Sajjanpur last year and I must confess it was my first exposure to Shyam Babu's cinema. I then went back to all his best-known films like Ankur, Nishant, Bhumika, Manthan and Zubeidaa. I was bowled over. You won't believe this. But I had wished for a Shyam Benegal film for my birthday. And I got it."
Meeting the director was a dream-come true. "He told me about my role and assured me he'd flesh out my character. This is the man who has discovered and worked with the best of talent Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri... Even if Shyam Babu has offered me a walk-on part, I'd have done it. But my role is pivotal."
Sammir gets to team up once again with Minissha Lamba in Abba Ka Kuan. "The last time we worked together was Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate where I had a guest appearance. We used to constantly pull each other's legs. I met her again for Shyam Babu's film. Minissha has changed so much! She has become quite a femme fatale. But I'll continue to rib her and have fun off camera. That won't change."
Another attraction for Sammir in Abba Ka Kuan is to work with Boman Irani. "He's an actor I've fiercely admired for a long time. Boman becomes whatever character he plays. Yeah, I think I've lot to learn in Abba Ka Kuan."
Sammir who brought in his birthday quietly with a group of friends has a marital drama Love Ka Tadka coming up for release. "It's funny. I'm far from getting married in real life. But I've already starred in two marital dramas. One was the very successful Kannada film Amrith Dhare which will soon be remade into Hindi, and now Love Ka Tadka. Maybe God is trying to tell me something."