Dishoom is another hit in your career. Do you feel like a star?
It is my seventh release and all of these films have been hits. Do I feel like a star? I do. But then I remind myself that I’ve a long way to go. So there isn’t much time to feel like a star. Dishoom opened decently. But the rains created havoc with the opening.
We were worried. But it held on well in the second week and then we heaved a sigh of relief. I am very happy for myself and for my brother Rohit.
So are you all planning to get together for a sequel to Dishoom?
It all depends on when we come up with a script worth doing.The buddy-cop genre which we have revived in Dishoom had gone out of vogue in our cinema. Dishoom brought back the genre.We were not even sure how the audience would react to it.Now that the audience has reacted so positively to the film we’ll definitely like to take this forward.But none of us in a hurry.
Why are you doing so few films?
I’d rather concentrate on one film at a time rather than let my attention wander over various projects. Ultimately one works for job satisfaction.I want to feel those butterflies in my stomach every time I take on an assignment .I want to ask myself, ‘Will I be able to do it?’ I am constantly searching for roles that challenge me.
In Dishoom you had no leading lady. Didn’t you complain to your brother?
Not at all. Every generation has its own ideas of stardom. Earlier you had to have a heroine opposite you to be considered a hero. My brother Rohit deliberately conceived my character Junaid as a happy-go-lucky dil-phenk young man. In this film I didn’t have romance to rely on to carry my character forward. I relied on comedy action and drama.Like I said, I am always on the quest for something new to do.
You seem to share a very warm relationship with the media? That’s rare these days.
Ever since I came into the film industry I’ve been meeting more media persons than family and friends. I feel comfortable with mediapersons. I know them individually and I do share a certain bond with them. Even the paparazzi is only doing its job I am very comfortable with a section of the media. That section is very very intelligent and sensitive.
I’ve actually had journalists protecting my words when I’ve spoken too much. I remember I had spoken too frankly with Rajdeep Sardesai.And he actually cleaned out the interview for me.The concept of the media has changed drastically now . It also includes social media which is huge and illimitable. The media’s voice has been revolutionized the worldover.
Do you enjoy performing live on stage?
Oh absolutely. That’s when I am a hundred percent in my element.All my button are on when I am on stage. You feed off the live audiences’ energy.And when you’ve a successful film behind you, then you go on stage with more confidence.
Why aren’t you doing the sequel to Student of the Year?
Nooooo! I was a student three years ago. I can’t remain a student any longer. I’ve graduated.
So you can play a teacher in Student of the Year?
I don’t think that would work either.I can still play the student. But not in this film. It wouldn’t be exciting for me to do and the audience to watch. I think it’s smart move to do a sequel to Student Of The Year with a new cast. Puneet Malhotra is directing it. And Tiger Shroff who is playing the lead ticks all the right boxes.
Do you miss doing things guys your age do?
I don’t get time to do fun things.Most of the time I am happy doing what I am doing. I get to live my dream.If I didn’t love what I was doing I wouldn’t do it.
What about the lack of privacy?
Ya, that is a bother.But I’ve made peace with the prying eyes.They are doing their job. I am doing mine. I’ve tricks to dodge personal questions.
Like you recently said the man seen with your alleged girlfriend was your twin?
But it was my twin.
How do you keep you head on your shoulder?
The people who are close to me keep me grounded. Even if I do get carried away—since I am at that age when I can get swayed by success—I am immediately pulled back to earth.It’s extremely important to have friends outside the film industry.
How do you continue to be so affable in spite of the work pressures? Do you have to work towards being a nice guy?
If you have to work towards it then you are not really a nice guy. And I don’t think I am that nice a guy. I am just a normal joe. When you try to be anything, nice, cool, macho, whatever, it doesn’t work. I truly believe in friendship and loyalty. And I can’t fake my feelings. I honestly can’t work with anyone I can’t respect or get along with. If I’ve to work with a person I don’t like I’ll have to leave that film.
Suppose you sign on and then discover your co-star to be a jerk?
Luckily I’ve gotten along with everyone I’ve worked with. And I’d never do anything to damage a producer. But yes. It’d be really difficult to work with someone I don’t get along with.
You, Siddharth Malhotra, Arjun Kapoor, Alia and the others who came in with you seem to get along.Is there a genuine friendship among you all?
It’s not a pretense. There’s a genuine camaraderie. We are not best friends. And if that’s how people see us then it’s not true. However we do get along very well and there’s no professional rivalry among us.We are all doing our own thing.And experimenting with so many different genres.None of us covets each other’s work.
You’ve turned down several biopics?
I’ll do something if it interests me. But so far I haven’t been offered a real-life character that interests me.
What is that one role you want to do now?
I want to do a sci-fi film.And I want to play an Indian soldier.
What about a super-hero film?
That would be great. But only if it’s something exciting.
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