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At 6'4'', the strapping Arunoday Singh stands out in the regular stream of newcomers in Bollywood. The 26-year-old also happens to be the grandson of a former Cabinet minister, Arjun Singh. "I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable when people ask questions about him," says Arunoday, in heavily accented English. "My grandfather is very amused by my career choice but I've had full freedom when it came to choosing what to do," he says.
Ironically, Arunoday makes his debut portraying a terrorist in Piyush Jha's Sikandar, which deals with the plight of children in strife-torn Kashmir. He is eager and animated while talking about the movie: "I play a torn human being who is dealing with his conscience while being a trained killer."
Mumbai-based Arunoday went to a boarding school in Kodaikanal and says he loved performing in school plays but it was Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront that had him hooked to acting. Despite a family tradition of politics, he says, he never considered it seriously. "Politics has always been beyond my realm of concern. It interests me only at an intellectual level," he says, referring to the long dinner-table conversations on politics with family. He describes his relationship with his grandfather as formal. "We have different opinions when it comes to politics," he says diplomatically.
Arunoday has spent eight years in New York, nurturing his skills in various acting workshops and playing bit roles in a couple of productions, but eventually the roles dried up and he was forced to head back to Mumbai. "I wasn't getting anywhere there and I returned to Mumbai. Being in familiar territory is great," says Arunoday. So far, he only has one other small movie opposite Konkana Sen-Sharma called Mirch and hasn't entirely given up on New York. "My future is in Mumbai, but New York has taught me everything I know," he smiles. "I will go where the work takes me."