Digital Spy caught up with the former 'Mr Asia UK' to uncover more about his soon-to-be-released British Hindi romantic thriller.
7 Welcome to London - what is the significance of the title?
"Lots of people have asked that, and if people are intrigued by the title, then that is half the job done. I originally had two titles in mind, one was 7 and one was Welcome To London, but my inner voice told me to use both of them, and that is how we came up with 7 Welcome to London.
"I wanted to make an outright commercial popcorn film, but one that showed the real London, as Bollywood audiences are used to seeing the unrealism of a Hrithik Roshan driving a Ferrari on the streets of London in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Most people can relate more to my London than how Shah Rukh Khan lives in Hampstead in Ra.One."
How would you describe the genre of the film? Is it more Bollywood romance or gangster flick?
"I think the whole gangster thing is a myth that people may have picked up on from the poster. I would say it is totally, completely, utterly Bollywood - but with a slicker approach. Gone are the days of Tom Alter where you would get a white person to speak Hindi. We are not doing that.
"If you spend an average day in Bombay you tend to speak 80 per cent Hindi and 20 per cent English, and our film has followed that pattern. The hero only really speaks Hindi with his friends and loved ones, whereas the English is very situational and action-based."
You were crowned 'Mr Asia UK 2004'. Like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra, was winning a beauty pageant a stepping stone into Bollywood?
"Actually, I never planned to enter the competition. I simply went along to support a friend and to check the talent out. But when I got there, only registered applicants could enter, so I found myself filling in the form. Winning 'Mr Asia 2004' was my first step into the industry. I had just graduated and got a job as an investment banker. Winning the title gave me a sense of self-belief and made me think that maybe I could take this further."
Since winning the title you are perhaps best known as the face of Brits Bollywood. Has working as a VJ prepared you for your debut?
"Absolutely. When I arrived in Bombay, within three days I had my Zee music debut. Within a week, my first music video 'Ya Ali', and within six months I was the face of Options and Boy London. I did lots of commercials and wanted to make my name.
"I am not a producer's son. I am not from the industry. I am just a boy from East London, so it was important that I create that market. For the last two years I have been the face of Brits Bollywood. I have honed my skills on this, audiences have got used to my face and I have created an identity. Although saying that, in the film you won't see VJ Asad, you will see the character of Jai."
We are used to seeing Shah Rukh Khan playing an NRI, but here we have a British Asian actor playing a Delhi boy.
"A lot of massive preparation went on. I have friends and family in Delhi and have spent time there shooting. When I was in Bombay, I used to spend a lot of time with Delhiites. Jai is an educated Delhi boy. He is not a boy from the street, he has worked in a call centre and is from a decent background."
Everyone from John Abraham to Hrithik Roshan is going down the shirtless route. Have you followed suit in your debut film?
"If you see my body right now I am totally toned and have abs. But in the film, Jai has a very lean look. He looks good and is a lean machine, but I stopped working out for a month, to make him look more realistic. He is not showing too much muscle for a purpose. But what I will tell you - and this is an exclusive - Jai does take off his shirt in 7 Welcome To London."
Your track 'Tera Saath Ho' has had over 200,000 YouTube hits in the past few weeks. Whose idea was the guyliner in the video?
"My make-up artist Shreya Patel said that Jai - for the first time in the film - would look dreamy. It's a lip-synched romantic number, and we wanted to present him almost as a demi-god. The guy that everyone wants, just from the way he looks in your eyes. So we went with 'smoky eyes', and it has done the trick because everyone is now talking about it and it has hit the masses."
As a VJ you have met lots of Indian cinema actors. Who would you say is the nicest star, and who has been the biggest diva?
"To me, all of them are nice. But the nicest person has to be Amitabh Bachchan. We just clicked. He is amazing, incredible, so charming. I had heard that he was serious and does not open up, but with me he was lighthearted and even nearly tried to push me in an action scene when I was interviewing him. It's always a pleasure meeting Imran Khan, he is a dear friend and so chilled out, and we are the same age.
"Kareena Kapoor is a delight. When I do my interviews I don't hold back. When she came to promote We Are Family, my first question to her was, 'When are you getting married?'. Throughout the whole scene she was sitting at the edge of her seat looking at me wondering what else I would ask. We just had a right laugh afterwards that I gave her such a tough question, she was a great sport.
"The biggest diva, someone very particular about his look, was Anil Kapoor. He always wanted to check his hair, put an extra pillow on the seat and check the mirror before doing every shot. But I respect that, he has lasted longer than anyone I know."
We hear you are also having a premiere of the film on March 8.
"Yes. We have a special premiere-cum-screening in Ilford. The Cineworld in Ilford is actually one of the world's highest-grossing cinemas for Bollywood films. We have got drums, we have got dancers and a massive audience at one of the busiest Hindi film theatres outside India."
Iconic Productions UK and Zee Network's 7 Welcome To London is released on March 9.
Watch the official video for 'Tera Saath Ho' below: