What is Shuddh Desi Romance ?
The true meaning of Shuddh or pure as you call it is undiluted romance. It’s like stories of our life, it’s not fantasized, it’s not aspirational and is like every love story in any other film. While talking of societal behavior its Desi very rural and romance is just another romance.
How much do you believe in such romance ?
You can either lie or tell the truth when it comes to romance but I think deep in your hearts everyone believes in such romance. I believe in romance completely.
Your take on relationships ?
Our society is hypocrite when it comes to relationships. When you are talking about romance or live in relationships almost all of us follow and have a stereotypical persona there is discrimination in terms of gender, male chauvinism and in terms of marriage there is a lot of confusion. The youth of today is confused whether to follow age old traditions or to follow their heart. They hide a lot of things. They say something and do something else. The film is interesting in a lot of ways. The characters simply follow their heart they are very open with their thoughts and believe in things they do. It’s funny also. I feel one has to be free and follow the heart and I am doing what I believe in my real life too.
How has your family taken to your live in relationship ?
I am getting married in a year and half. They know that I follow my heart and have appreciated my decisions in life. They don’t say anything.
You just said that the youth is very confused in life. How much do you follow your heart ?
I do follow my heart and have always done things which I have believed in. When I was doing my engineering I wanted to drop out of college and join theatre and learn dancing. Everyone discouraged me. They said stick on for a year and then take up the profession you love. But I was adamant and just dropped out of engineering. I did theatre and took up dancing for a year. I was successful in both. I won a lot of awards for my dancing. Then I did television and when I wanted to quit television people once again discouraged me from quitting it as I was the highest paid actor. I quit television as I wanted to do films. Then again when I wanted to do Kai Po Che I was told by my friends not to take up the film as it was not the typical commercial venture there was no fighting or dancing in the film. I was a trained dancer and martial arts expert but I did the film and it was widely appreciated. Now again when I was in a relationship I was told not to talk about it as it would hamper my career. A lot of actors don’t talk about it. But I was clear with what I wanted I have been very open about my relationship also.
You have just started doing films and you have been open about your relationships and now you plan to get married. Don’t you think you are letting your fans down and won’t your marriage hamper your career ?
I want to change this mind set of people. They say theatre actors are over the top. Television is overexposed. I wanted to change this mindset and proved myself. For example when I sat with 25 friends watching Kai Po Che they were sitting with me and crying at the climax of the film. They knew I was just acting in the film but I convinced them in my role. That believable factor is there. So I think when people don’t know me how will it make difference to them. My job is to convince them as an actor and it is not going to make difference to them or bother me. How will it make a difference if I am married or not. They are paying money for entertainment. If you are good as an actor your personal relationships will not make any difference to your life. So many Hollywood actors get married and divorced so many times but when they are doing their role efficiently it makes no difference to the audience. Most of our stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan were married when they just started doing films and it has not made a difference to their careers. Our lives are different on screen and off screen.
Kai Po Che and Shuddh Desi Romance are both small town stories. Don’t you want to do a commercial film ?
Kai Po Che was set in Ahmadabad and this film is set in Jaipur so they are big cities and not small towns in any which ways. The day I play a glossy role I am sure you will be able to believe that I can play such roles with flourish. At the end of the day I am an actor and my job is to make people believe in the roles I play convincingly.
How supportive is Ankita of your career and what is her response to your onscreen intimacy and lip lock scenes ?
She is an actor and is not at all insecure and very supportive. She knows that if you have to tell a story in a realistic way you will come across such scenes. She knows that I am doing my job.
What are your future plans do you plan to do off only beat films, what about Television. It is often said that television actors cannot have a great career in films ?
I have never planned anything in life. The only thing I ever planned was to do theatre while I was studying. I never planned to get into television but I have. I never planned to do films but today I have signed a three film deal with YRF. There are so many actors from television but when you see their body of work you never say that he’s from television or theatre. Today television is a very powerful medium and you cannot deny that.
What is the status of Fitoor the adaptations of “Great Expectations” heard that Ekta and Abhishek Kapoor had a fall out on this ?
I don’t know if they have had a fall out. I still have to talk to him about it. Abhishek had a clear vision in terms of what he wants to convey through the character and I believe it will go on the floors soon.
What did you get to learn from both directors Abhishek Kapoor and Maneesh Sharma ?
I definitely got to learn a lot. They are so clear about what they want. One similar quality they have is that they are so clear about their aspects of acting. They know what they want to convey their audience.When you have so much clarity they don’t need to be spoon fed. They have so much faith that they let you improvise or approach the character in your way. They convey that in their stories.
What are your expectations as to comparisons with other actors. You will be in the near future ?
I don’t know about comparisons as I am still new here and let me clear one thing. You can’t compare two actors. You can compare two stars to each other. The money they charge, the directors or actors they are working with, will their films make hundred crores. I cannot be compared as I am not a star; I am just an actor who is one film old like Kai Po Che. I cannot be compared but inspired by actors.
Who are the actors who inspire you ?
Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The body of work they have behind them. They are a different character and actor with every film and every role they do. I am baffled how they manage to do it with every film. As an actor you need to understand the psychology of these stars because a lot goes into making of these stars.
You are doing Dibakar Bannerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. Have you read the books on them and watched their films ?
There are around 33 stories and I have read a few. I have also watched Rajit Kapur’s serial and some Bengali films on the character. Uttam Kumar had also done one of the films based on this character. I am working on it. I had even been to Kolkatta to scout locations and study the character. I am working on my looks now and I will do anything everything that will convince you that I am Byomkesh of 1942. Heard Ayushmann and you had differences over some cream commercial how do you react to such news. I listen and forget it. If there is no truth behind I don’t pay attention. I don’t want to clear such stories because I don’t believe in them. It’s not in my hand. I rather utilize that time to concentrate of my work.
Are you open to working with Ankita ?
I definitely will but we have not got offers but if something interesting comes up I will do it. So far no one has offered us films together.
How was it working with Parineeti Chopra and new girl Vaani Kapoor ?
One thing about Parineeti is very spontaneous. You just react and when you improvise on the scene she is so alert that she reacts. Chemistry looks real. Vaani’s not had a formal training she is very comfortable and confident. She is willing to learn and is very hard working. She will improve a lot and has done a fab job for her first film.
Tell us something about Rajkumar Hirani’s Peekay ?
I am very excited doing the film and working with Aamir Khan. It’s a dream come true for me but I can’t speak about my role. You will have to wait and watch for the film.