Second Innings

Aashiqui 2 may have crossed the 100 crore mark, but how many people changed their hairstyles after watching it? With original Aashiqui, that's what happened," says model-turned-actor Trivikram Mattoo, who eagerly jumps in defence of Rahul Roy his co-star and the poster boy of Bhatt camp once upon a time.

Sitting across the table, 45-year-old Roy, too, is amused. "Mohit Suri is a brilliant director and his film had phenomenal music, but whether it achieves a cult status or not can only be determined 23 years from now," says Roy, who was in the city to announce his film, To Be or Not to Be, a psychological thriller with newbies Akanksha Shivhare and Mattoo.

Twenty-three years, and Roy still carries the Aashiqui tag. Afterall, he touched dizzying heights at the age of 24 with just one film. But something went terribly wrong post his meteoric rise, and Roy agrees, citing reasons for his sudden fall. "After Aashiqui, people lined up outside my house to sign me and I remember asking Mahesh (Bhatt), what do I do now? I had no filmy background or mentor to guide me," says Roy. Nineties, according to him, was a time when the industry had single producers trapped in formulas, and a famine of stories and ideas. Overworked, the reluctant actor, who saw only flops thereafter, decided to call it quits around 1996 and became a full-time family man. Soon he was into construction business and moved to Australia.

For an actor who was craving for intense roles, Roy agrees that parallel cinema did exist with directors such as Prakash Jha, Govind Nihalani and Shyam Benegal, among others, but somehow "the twain never met". He also agrees that he never worked as hard as his contemporaries Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan, who are superstars now. "I was a stupid guy at that time," he says with a laugh, adding how he has seen it all, even beyond what the stars of today witness.

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