New Delhi: He made his Bollywood debut opposite Nandita Das in Bas Yun Hi in 2003, but after that Purab Kohli lost touch with his co-star. But their communication gap came in handy when seven years later they got together for Onir's I Am, in which the two share an uncomfortable chemistry.
"I never kept in touch with Nandita after Bas Yun Hi. We used to bump into each other at events occasionally but there were no special efforts to stay connected. That worked really well for both of us while we were shooting for I Am," Purab told.
Released Friday, the film has four stories woven together and one of the stories is titled "Afia" that sees Nandita as a single woman wanting to have a child by herself and Purab plays a sperm donor.
"Imagine a young boy in his 20s, meeting a stranger woman, who has used his sperm to get pregnant! Suddenly two strangers have such a strong connect between them... so the film required us to share a very uncomfortable chemistry.
"Onir wanted Nandita and me to rehearse together before giving the final shots, but I insisted we shouldn't meet because the story demanded the characters to be disconnected. It was good to have no association with Nandita all these years because it worked very well for our film," said Purab.
The video jockey-turned-actor, who has done films like Supari, Vastu Shastra, My Brother Nikhil, Woh Lamhe, Awarapan and Rock On!!, is confident the I Am series, made of four short films, will strike the right chord with the audience.
"This film brings Onir back to himself. He made My Brother Nikhil with his heart, and then ventured into making Bas Ek Pal and Sorry Bhai. But I would say Onir is back to his heart with I Am. Sensitive stories told in a crisp manner is something that the audience will appreciate," he said.
The film has opened with rave reviews.
There was a fifth film "Rudra" that was supposed to be part of the I Am series.
"Initially, there were going to be five films, and I was going to feature in 'Rudra'. But then Onir felt shooting it would be complex. So we spoke about it and decided that the script could be turned into a two-hour film too. I am hoping we work on it, and produce that story separately as a feature film," Purab said, without divulging the subject of "Rudra".
It was when "Rudra" was scrapped that Purab was roped in for the small role in "Afia". But Purab says he is always game for meaningful cinema, and there was no question of not being a part of I Am.
After I Am, Purab will be busy shooting for Jal, a movie about how far people in the Kutch region go to preserve water.