He neither drinks, nor does he smoke - but actor Shiv Pandit went out of his way to learn how to roll joints for his Bollywood debut Shaitan.
'We had a lot of workshops for Shaitan to get the right chemistry on screen. So in one of those workshops, we learnt how to roll joints. We have shown the use of drugs in the film, and it was really interesting to figure out how they do it!' said Shiv.
The 29-year-old, best remembered for his role as Hanuman Prasad, a corrupt cop in comedy TV show F.I.R, plays Dushyant Sahu, a coffee shop owner and conniving mastermind in Shaitan.
'My character in Shaitan has no parallel to my life. It is a completely unknown character for me to play and I had to really figure out how to essay it to the best of my ability.'
The movie, directed by Bejoy Nambiar and produced by Anurag Kashyap, narrates the story of five carefree, thrill-seeking youngsters in Mumbai's urban scape. It releases June 10.
'The film is actually quite a gamble for me because the audience knows me for comedy, and this character is diametrically different from my small screen role. It took a lot of hard work, but I didn't want to shy away from experimenting because I really want to be a regular, working actor in films now,' said Shiv.
The hunky actor studied literature in Delhi University's Hindu College and was a theatre enthusiast before he shifted base to Mumbai six years ago. He has come a long way since then.
'Theatre helped me get a lot of confidence because it breaks your inhibitions about being in front of a large audience. For the initial two years that I was in Mumbai, I worked at a radio station as a radio jockey and producer. That helped me with my diction...and then I got onto ads and TV, which brought me to a comfort level with the camera,' said Shiv, who has earlier featured in advertisements for brands such as Airtel, Sprite, Colgate and Tide.
Even though small screen gave him his comic timing, he says it wasn't a stepping stone to films for him.
'I really enjoyed my stint on TV. But I could feel that if I would have continued to play Hanuman Prasad for longer than I did, I could have got stuck in it. As an actor, I didn't want to do that mistake. I have a long way to go, and I've always wanted to figure out more aspects of showbiz with time,' he said.
In fact, the actor also doesn't rule out writing a script or direction in future.
Well, I am definitely not averse to it. I am trying to write a script, but these things are a long long way off. For now, its Shaitan!'