I’m not perfect, I’m human, says Upen Patel

Your detractors say that you don’t fit into Bollywood.
When you’re moving up, people want to bring you down. When I did ‘36 China Town’, people said that I was a model and wouldn’t be able to dance. But I was appreciated. So was I in ‘Namastey London’. You needn’t belong to a film family to belong to Bollywood. In fact, for them the pressure is more. I like being the underdog. Even though I am born in UK, I’m still an Indian. I grew up watching Indian films.

But hasn’t your accented Hindi prevented you from dubbing for your films?
I’m learning Hindi. It’s only been a year since I’ve been in films. Even Sridevi didn’t dub her dialogues for several of her early films. John Abraham, Aftab Shivdasani, Dino Morea, Fardeen Khan, didn’t get to dub for their first films either. So who am I? Incidentally, I’ve dubbed for ‘Shaka Laka Boom Boom’ as my character Reggie (a rock star) is US-based.

You’ve made more news for your relationships.
An actor comes into public scrutiny. I’m a young guy. I’ve dated many women. I’ve learnt that life is about make-ups, break-ups, deceit and betrayal. But I don’t believe in speaking ill about anybody.

Reportedly you threw wine on former girlfriend Shamita Singha at a party.
There are three sides to a story – my side, your side and the truth. I’m not perfect; I’m human. I do react to situations. I’m not here to justify rumours and give people their 15 minutes of fame. I’m easy to attack because I never react.

What makes you confident of making it here?
My greatest power is my fear of not achieving my dreams. This keeps me going. My biggest strength is my silence. It keeps my conscience clear. My biggest weapon is my work. It will silence my critics.

Right now, you seem to be the hottest poster boy.
I love every moment of it. Girls like my cleft. They say it reminds them of Vinod Khanna. Recently, a girl sent me a sample of her blood in a vial with a letter saying, ‘I’m sending you my blood, if you do not reply, I’ll send my body.’ That was scary.

What turns you on in a woman?
Her smile! It says a thousand words. It can make or break my heart.

Have you faced the casting couch?
I’m lucky; I didn’t face it even during my modelling days. Usually people blame the casting couch for not doing well. A builder, who doesn’t do his job well, blames his tools.

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