'Films are my first love'

Getting philosophical

Tennis player turned model turned actor, modest and unassuming Bikram Saluja has put his acting career on hold to devote himself to a book, which he has based on two iconic films. “I can’t really talk about it just yet as the release is scheduled for October and it will ruin the suspense. Let’s just say that there is plenty of beautiful still photography that I invested a lot of time and effort in.The book is a tribute to excellence in film-making and although it is primarily meant for private circulation, we will be having launches in major cities,” he smiles.

Bikram was a hot young tennis star in the making when he moved from his home town Indore to Pune to get his sporting career on track. In spite of succeeding upto a point on the international tennis circuit for a while, he soon realised that it was thus far and not much further. So he adroitly changed tracks swapping the tennis court for the ramp. Winning a couple of male beauty pageants and major brand endorsements, he was well on his way to becoming a full-time pin-up boy.

Everyone knows that successful modelling stints often lead to the Mecca of Indian glamour viz Bollywood. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Bikram had his fair share of theatrical experience. So combining his good looks and acting ability, he debuted in Hrithik Roshan’s film Fiza playing Karishma Kapoor’s spurned love interest. Fiza was followed by a few films that did moderately well at the box office like LOC and Page 3 and a few others that sank without a trace.

Today, the long haired and bearded Saluja looks different from the well-barbered persona he used to project and is a tad philosophical about the turns and twists his life has taken.

Referring to his most recent film 42 Kms, he says, “I played the role of an industrialist who has to lose weight in order to win a client’s confidence and thus enters the marathon. The character was based on a real life episode of Anil Ambani and was scheduled for release in January this year coinciding with the Mumbai marathon.

Unfortunately, the film never saw the light of day. It’s a frustrating business when you give your best and yet you are defeated by circumstances beyond your control,” he says with a trace of bitterness.

Has he considered moving South to explore options? “Well, the language would definitely be a challenge but if the right role comes up who knows. Films are definitely my first love,” he says and signs off.

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