Get set for some fair-skinned man candy. From Brazil, no less! Moufid Aziz, newbie actor in Rockstar, showcases his debut enacting Nargis Fakhri‘s husband in the Imtiaz Ali-helmed flick. Ajit Ramachanddran quizzes the international model whose love affair with India kickstarted in 2007…
No cakes. No candles. No flowers. Hah, lofty hopes! What you’re lavished with, though, is the presence of birthday boy Moufid Aziz (November 9), brimming with vigour, striding right into the chic confines of Inega Model Management Pvt. Ltd. in suburban Mumbai at the appointed hour for an… inter-phew!
Togged in a simple checked shirt and denims, Moufid Aziz or more appropriately, Moufid Abdel Aziz Jr., is the man candy in Rockstar who’s also bound to catch the discerning eye of cine-goers, apart from lead players Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri.
Enacting newbie Nargis Fakhri’s husband in the Imtiaz Ali –helmed flick, Moufid Aziz, who came to India in 2007, with the express intention of a three-month stay… stayed put … and consolidated his mark as a model of merit.
With Rockstar, Moufid (pronounced Mufid) has zoomed into the rarified territory of Hindi cinebiz.
Excerpts from a chatathon with the Brazilian model of Portuguese-Arabic origin…
You’re playing the role of Nargis’s Kashmiri NRI husband in ‘Rockstar.’ Tell us something more about your role?
My character is named Jai and he is a rich businessman who is running the big family business. He has lived and worked abroad and he cares a lot about his family, his mother, his wife and sisters. He is pretty busy with his family and business and he tries the best for everyone…
You were finalised after the second audition?
After my first audition, my second meeting was with Imtiaz Ali and he is very particular about his work and who works for him. I didn’t expect him to come in the picture at the time and I was very excited to meet him. I was actually finalised after the second meeting and I didn’t know about it till much later, when Imtiaz asked if I was interested in the role.
Is it true that Mukesh Chhabra, the casting director of ‘Rockstar’ saw you in some ad and selected you…
Yes, Mukesh saw me in some ad, though I don’t remember which one. He saw my work with Katrina and Priyanka and he showed the ads to Imtiaz and that’s how it clicked…
Giselli Monteiro from ‘Love Aaj Kal’ is a good friend of yours and Imtiaz Ali’s. Did she recommend you for the role?
No, unfortunately, she did not put in a word for me at all. She would have if she could. She is a good friend of me and I sometimes I call her my younger sister. I think I got the role by being at the right place at the right time.
What was your audition like? How did you clinch the deal finally?
I think what worked for me was that I was fully relaxed. I wanted this role but at the same time, I knew it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t get it. I knew that because I am not an Indian, I ddn’t have the proper accent and the diction. I think it’s because I went there and tried my best, Imtiaz wanted me for the role as he liked the fact that I tried my best.
Have you dubbed your own lines for the film? Are you learning Hindi now that you do plan a career in Hindi cinema?
They had got a dubbing artiste to dub my lines. But yes, I am learning Hindi at the same time…
What was the very first shot that you filmed for ‘Rockstar’?
My very first shot was at the airport where I am with my wife and I am trying to get her to India. I specially remember that shot because after the shot was completed, Imtiaz Ali came to me and congratulated me on completing the first shot. I think the first shot was the easiest and Imtiaz chose it like that…
You’re a model of Portuguese-Arabic origin. Did you train to be an actor?
I did a few workshops, but I thought about being an actor in India. I always thought I had potential but I never really pursued acting at the time and then I did some workshops in US and some in India.
Is Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’ the very first movie that was offered to you?
Rockstar was my first offer, my first audition and my first film in Bollywood and I was lucky to get it.
What can you say about the styling of your character Jai in the film..
Well, Jai is a rich businessman. So he dresses very stylishly, but in a businesslike way…always with a nice tie and a nice suit and a waistcoat…
What kind of colours have been used in the styling of Jai?
The designers have used a lot of dark colours, dark blues, gray and maroon…
Which is the most difficult scene that you shot for the film?
I still remember that scene quite well. There is a scene where I meet Ranbir Kapoor for the first time and we had a long dialogue sequence between us. The scene was shot at 2:30 am in the night and I had to deliver 6-7 lines in Hindi and Ranbir had to keep nodding his head and saying ‘yes…yes’. I struggled a bit with the accent but Ranbir and Imtiaz were quite helpful and supportive to me. After the scene was shot, Imtiaz came up to me and said that if he could say even half of what I said in Hindi, in Portuguese (my mother language), it would be a big deal indeed. I made the scene after 5 or 6 attempts before it went ok.
What is Imtiaz Ali’s strong point as a director?
Well, Imtiaz is quite focussed at what he does. When he is doing something, he is fully there. You see people doing other things at the same time, but Imtiaz is completely focussed on whatever he is doing at the time. When he is shooting, if you talk to him about the shot or anything, he will be there but if u want to talk about something else, he will not be there and such a kind of focus is very helpful…
You bagged the opportunity of acting opposite Ranbir Kapoor, one of the best young actors of Bollywood. What have you picked up from him as an actor?
Working with Ranbir, who happens to be my favourite actors was good, because of his professionalism and focus. I would look at Imtiaz and Ranbir and the latter would be waiting for his next shot. Ranbir wouldn’t talk much but was very focussed and waiting for the right time to talk.
You play Nargis’s husband and it is important to have that on screen chemistry. Did Imtiaz hold workshops to ease matters?
At the outset, Nargis is a great actor and for her first film, she is doing real great and is looking gorgeous in the movie. The chemistry was easy, as she is simple and we have similar backgrounds as we both had modelled and travelled vastly. We also had some friends in common. We did our rehearsals and met for the first time on Skype, as she was abroad at the time and I was in India.
Tell us an amusing incident connected with the making of ‘Rockstar?’ Did anyone play a prank on you?
Well, most of the time we were working very hard and were quite serious and focussed. However, in one scene where Ranbir is sitting in my house having dinner with me and Nargis, the camera was aimed at Ranbir’s back of the head and my face. When the scene was underway and we had to say our dialogues, Ranbir was making funny faces, going cross-eyed and sticking out his tongue. That was one of the funniest moments while shooting…
Were there ever any creative differences with the director Imtiaz Ali while shooting for the film?
No, that never happened because we had many workshops before and every scene that we shot, Imtiaz would discuss it with us about what he wanted us to do. Moreover, he gave us the independence to do the scene in our own way…
What do u think is the USP of the film?
The main thing of course is Ranbir Kapoor as the rockstar, the musician and the journey of the character and the struggle he has to face when he gets fame and the love, the problems with the media. It’s all Ranbir Kapoor. However, there is a love story in it too and the way it crashes and all kind of things in a good movie…
‘Rockstar’ has a music composer who has won an Oscar. What do you like about the music of the film and which is your favourite track?
Well, the music sounds true..when you see Ranbir singing and the music playing, it’s like they are one. With other songs, be it ‘item numbers’ or such tracks, you see the actors moving to the music or lip-synching but you can’t see them ‘into the music’. However, with this film, you can see Ranbir being into the song completely. I recently got the translation of the song saadda haq and am in love with it.
Is the modelling scene in India at par with the international scenario?
Well, I would say that the elite of fashion in India have really developed and all but the one problem I see is that there is no balance. One day you are shooting with the best in the industry and the next day you are with someone who has no clue about what they are doing. The day everyone attains a balance and comes on the same higher level, like in Europe, it will be great.
As a model, what is ur forte: ramp or still photographs or ad commercials?
As a model, I like to do shows but the problem is that it takes a lot of your time, as you have to go for rehearsals and stuff, sometimes for days. I like to do shows, but my strongest point as a model is doing stills…
Any particular product that you would really love to endorse?
There are many things, but I would like something like Garnier for which John Abraham modelled. I had met him once and I think he is a wonderful human being. I worked with a lot of cars too, but never as a brand ambassador but always as a model. I would love to be a brand ambassador. Another high for me was representing India in an ‘Incredible India’ advertisement and it was like a dream come true.
You came to India in 2007 and stayed back. What similarities do you see between Brazil and India?
Well, there are a lot of similarities…for one, India is a very family-centric society and we like having our families with us. The same is with Brazil where the family ties are very strong. Plus, like in India, we love our food and we really enjoy that moment and of course, having friends over for meals and being together. Also, we love sweets in Brazil and both the countries are very big and have different climates and accents in different parts of the country. We are both very proud of our respective countries despite having problems…
Your b’day is on November 9 and ‘Rockstar’ is releasing on 11-11-11… a terrific b’day gift. What would be an ideal b’day gift for you?
I am in India right now and the only thing I would like to ask for is my family to be around me on this day…my parents and my siblings..
You’re from Curituba in Brazil. How did your modelling career kickstart in Brazil?
It was my mum and sister and they kept telling me to be a model. One day I finally said ok, I will do a shoot and then you got to stop about it. So I shot pictures and a friend saw them and in 30 days, I was shooting and couldn’t stop after that…
After ‘Rockstar’, have you signed on any other film yet?
Not yet, but am meeting people and waiting for Rockstar to release, so that people see my work and appreciate it. And then let’s see how it goes after that…
Moufiz Aziz: Fact File
* Raised in Curituba, Moufid Abdel Aziz Jr. is of Portuguese – Arabic origin.
* Began modelling in Brazil; has showcased himself in Sao Paolo, Barcelona and India Men’s Week
* His modelling career has taken him to Spain, Portugal, Japan, Germany and other countries, making him an international model of repute.
* The casting director of ‘Rockstar’ saw his ad commercials and suggested his name to director Imtiaz Ali.
* Has modelled with Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra.
* Came to India in 2007 intending to stay for three months.
* Been in India for four years; pays his taxes here.
* Finds plenty of similarities between Brazil and India.
* Marks his B’Town debut with ‘Rockstar’ playing Nargis Fakhri’s husband in the film.
* Loves to surf and skate at night.
* On holidays, he loves to play cricket with the kids at the St. Andrew’s School grounds in suburban Mumbai.