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The ladies’ man

Priyanka Gill on Martin Henderson’s hunky looks, oodles of charm and his road to Hollywood fame

Martin Henderson is rather peeved with the traditional Bollywood formula as it made a lingering on-screen kiss with Aishwarya Rai in Bride and Prejudice virtually impossible. But apart from that, he is one happy trooper in Gurinder Chadha’s band of merry actors. He has a couple of Hollywood credits under his belt with The Ring and the action flick Torque.

Henderson is one of those leading men who look much better in person rather than on screen. When I saw him he was dishevelled with a sexy stubble and long hair, (which he says is for a role), and it looked really good on him. The straight-laced Mr Darcy he plays on screen does him little justice. He first heard about Gurinder Chadha on a flight. “I was surfing the in-flight channels and I chanced upon the gorgeous Kiera Knightley in Bend it Like Beckham on the tiny screen. I saw the entire film, and liked it, despite the fact that I was not really interested in the British-Asian subject,” Henderson said. A few years later, he read the script for Bride and Prejudice and took on the role of the narrow-minded American millionaire who looks down upon all things Indian. “It was difficult to play someone who was so dismissive of the Indian culture, because I was having a ball revelling in all its wonders,” says Henderson.

Not surprisingly, playing the Bollywood hero was quite a challenge. As Chadha explains “Santosh Sivan would try and take a lingering close up on Henderson and I would be laughing behind the camera as he looked so out of place.” He is also clearly uncomfortable with the musical sequences. “Thankfully for everyone watching the film, I am not doing a lot of singing,” says Henderson.

So, a career in Bollywood might be out of the question for Henderson, but all eyes are on the film to see if Chadha will jumpstart his career as she did for Kiera Knightley. Whether the film is a hit or a miss, one gets the feeling that Henderson will make it — hunky looks, oodles of charm added to the fact that he can actually act, this Kiwi actor is well on the road to Hollywood glory.

October 16, 2004

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