In all fairness, Tony Luke is more famous as a model than as an actor. No one to blame here, for the international model, with his chiseled jaw line and insanely good looks, has burnt the walkways from Mumbai to Milan and been the face of many an international brand. Lately, he has acquired another tag — that of an actor. He has made the successful transition from the runway and cover shoots to films. Tony was part of films like Oozham, Aadhi and Sakhavu, and all the characters he has played have stood out by virtue of his acting potential. Currently, he is excited about the Jenuse Mohammed directorial 9 which has Prithviraj playing the lead.
He admits, “After Aadhi, I got a lot of offers, but none of them interested me. One day, I got a call from Jenuse informing me about a role in 9. Incidentally, Jenuse and I are school buddies. He had seen my performance in Oozham, Sakhavu and Aadhi and thought I could carry off the character.”
All that Jenuse wanted was someone who could show a lot of spontaneity on screen in the role of Prithviraj’s assistant. Tony still recalls Jenuse’s exact words: ‘This character is a character!’ “Jenuse wanted me to be quirky, easily excitable and spontaneous — like a big teddy bear,” he laughs.
Tony told Jenuse that he needed a day. And then he went back home and did his homework. “I have a cousin in the US who had all these traits, so I asked him to send me his videos and observed his mannerisms, which were cute yet classy,” he states. Tony then said yes to the role.
Tony had to put on some weight to pull off his role. What proved to be a challenge was playing a comic role for the very first time and again, it was situational comedy. “I had to enact the scenes without being intentionally funny, but bring in the situational humour through my voice and body language. I am actually the comic relief in the film,” he says.
Tony gives credit to Jenuse for giving him the freedom as an actor. It is not that Tony has not been offered lead roles, but he has a sound reason for not accepting them right away. “See, I belong to a middle class family and I believe in starting from the lowest rung even in modelling. I came up the hard way after struggles which moulded me. That is why I lasted for 10 years in the modelling circuit. Similarly, in films, I want my base to be strong. According to me, in a film with top actors, if I cannot stand out in a character role, then I should not play the lead!” Tony wants to play as many character roles as possible and then graduate to a lead role.
That dream is coming true with a lead role in a Hindi film, which he prefers to keep under wraps for now....