I was nobody before 'Iqbal': Shreyas Talpade

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Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Bollywood actor Shreyas Talpade, who plays the main lead in Shyam Benegal's forthcoming comedy "Welcome to Sajjanpur", gives credit to his debut film "Iqbal" for getting him recognition in Bollywood, but adds that working with Shah Rukh Khan gave him global exposure.

"I was nobody before 'Iqbal'. The time that I had gone through before 'Iqbal' was weird. It was horrible," said Shreyas, who featured as Shah Rukh Khan's best friend in the hit movie "Om Shanti Om".

"In 2003, I was left with no work because I had made a conscious decision not to do daily soaps. I was going through a very bad phase. I did a film called 'Hangman'. I had a lot of expectations from the film, but it never got released. Then 'Iqbal' happened and it changed my life as an actor," Shreyas told IANS.

He admits that "Om Shanti Om" fetched him recognition not only in India but abroad as well.

"As Shah Rukh is an internationally recognised star, so working with him gave me exposure in other parts of the world too," he said.

Though "Iqbal" gave Shreyas the long awaited break, the actor thinks his success came in progression with the other films that followed it.

"With 'Iqbal', people recognised my acting talent, but they did not know anything about my dialogue delivery because I played a dumb (character) in the film," said Shreyas, who was earlier associated with Marathi stage plays.

"And with 'Dor' people came to know about my dialogue delivery. Then they had apprehensions about me fitting in an urban character because both the films - 'Iqbal' and 'Dor' were set in a rural background. But 'Apna Sapna Money Money' changed that too," he said.

Shreyas said he was cast in "Om Shanti Om" by Farah Khan because of his work in "Iqbal" and "Apna Sapna Money Money".

"Farah said she was casting me in her film because she wanted an actor who can carry both the urban and rural look. Farah said she saw me doing it successfully in films like 'Iqbal' and 'Apna Sapna Money Money'."

The actor said he was fortunate to have worked with noted directors like Sangeeth Sivan, Farah Khan and Shyam Benegal.

"They all come from different backgrounds and have their own unique way of telling a story. I enjoyed working with all of them and had explored several things while working with them.

"Shyam Benegal is very passionate about his work. The same thing I experienced with Shah Rukh, who is highly enthusiastic about his work. Both of them, inspite of several successful films to their credits, are as passionate about their work as a newcomer would be."

Shreyas feels the subject of "Welcome To Sajjanpur", which releases Friday, is unique and only a filmmaker like Benegal could have done justice to it.

"An entire film on a letter writer can only be made by a person of Shyam Benegal's calibre."

In "Welcome To Sajjanpur", Shreyas plays a character called Mahadev, who is an aspiring novelist but ends up being a letter writer outside a local post office.

After "Welcome To Sajjanpur", Shreyas' next release would be Rohit Shetty's "Golmaal Returns" followed by "Click" and "Paying Guest".

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