Mumbai, Mar 17: Delhi-based actor Sanjeev Jaiswal will play the role of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in Ram Gopal Varma's forthcoming film on 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
After auditioning around 500 applicants for the role, Ram Gopal Varma finally zeroed in on Jaiswal to play the terrorist, the media report said.
Ajmal Kasab is presently in the high security Arthur Road jail awaiting execution.
Kasab's casting was the most crucial aspect of the film.
Says Ram Gopal Varma: "Kasab was the face of the entire episode. No body knows the faces of the other terrorists. He became the centre of attention in terms of being the only surviving terrorist.
"And the fact that it is an extremely realistic portrayal of Kasab, I wanted my actor to look very similar to the actual person."
Ramu had a tough time finding his Kasab.
Says Ramu : "Kasab was just about 21 years old back then. So to find a guy of his age, who matches Kasab's height and has a similar face and is also a terrific actor is a tall order."
"Casting for a typical film where you need an actor to fit a profile is different from sending out a word that you are looking for a guy who looks like Kasab. That's how I found my Kasab."
The director adds, "When he walked into the room I was dazed. I was further shocked to see the range of his performance during the audition. You wouldn't expect a guy of that age, to be able to understand and essay such a complex character as Kasab.
"He has got a very strong command over the language and from the time we zeroed upon him, he learnt to speak Urdu. By the time he came to meet me, he was fully prepared and probably knew more about Kasab than me."
The film's shoot has begun on Friday.
According to Ramu, the first scene to be shot is around Kasab entering Mumbai.
Producer Parag Sanghvi adds, "Since it's a very sensitive matter and we are shooting in the sea, we took permissions from the Navy, the Bombay Port Trust and also the Customs and the Police."
Actor Sanjeev Jaiswal hails from Jamshedpur.
After spending a few years doing theatre in Delhi, he is a currently doing a small role in a TV show.
When asked if he is worried about being typecast in the industry after playing the notorious terrorist, he says, "I am nobody so why will I worry about the image?
"In fact I am thrilled to be working with a director like Ramu in such a big banner film. I have got this role after struggling for four years."
Speaking about prepping up for the role, Sanjeev says, "I have read a lot about Kasab and I also lost weight to look like him."
The actor, who is engaged to be married, says his family and fiance are not apprehensive about him playing the terrorist. On the contrary, they are reportedly thrilled.