Four years and six films later, Sidharth Malhotra (above) says he is “grateful” for what he has achieved in Bollywood. As he prepares for his first world tour, the actor talks about his career so far, his “comfort” with Alia Bhatt, and more.
Are you at peace with the way things have progressed in your career?
It is difficult to be peaceful in Bollywood. There is no such thing, especially at this stage of my career. Everything comes with a lot of ups and downs, anxiety, struggle and excitement. I think I am still exploring. But I am grateful for reaching where I am. I have no complaints. It’s a learning process, as I have to go through the grind. It is like a boxing match, where you take the first few rounds to figure out your opponent, before you start pounding or strategising (smiles).
You are a Delhi boy, so being an outsider, how difficult was it to survive in Bollywood?
It is a big task. First, you need to start dreaming. If people don’t laugh at your ambitions, then you’re being safe. Ten years back, if my parents or friends wouldn’t have smiled or smirked at my Bollywood dreams, then what I have achieved now wouldn’t have been so special. It’s more about how driven you are. One thing that was a constant in my heart and head was my dream. Now that I’m here, I don’t want to be average or mediocre. I want to be the best in the industry.
You have worked with Kareena Kapoor Khan and Katrina Kaif. Were you ever their fan?
These are two women I have had major crushes on. I am a big Bebo fan and have always admired Katrina’s work. It was exciting to work with them. It was like a dream come true, when Katrina danced next to me or did a scene with me. It was surreal since I have done a full film with her. Both of them are extremely attractive.
Your personal life is always under the scanner, especially with regards to Alia Bhatt…
Film stars and the media share an interesting relationship. I recently read Karan Johar’s article about the media and actors, and I agree with him when he says that we are like husband and wife, who keep having tiffs. You don’t really leave your wife, you learn to live with her and appreciate the good things in her (smiles), without taking certain opinions to heart. It’s difficult, but as long as it doesn’t cause any harm to anybody, I have pretty much learnt how to live with it.
Did Alia throw a party to introduce you as her ‘boyfriend’?
Alia is not launching me in a film; Karan did that four years ago. So, she doesn’t need to introduce me. I was surprised when I heard this. But it is definitely not true.
Alia says she is fond of you. Are you two ‘just friends’?
Nobody can decide that. No one knows what can happen in the future. We want to make the most of our time [in the industry], and during that process, you connect with people. I have done two films with Alia, so, it’s only natural that we both have a lot of fondness for each other. There’s a great amount of comfort because we’ve worked together. It’s great if you get along with a colleague.
So she is just a colleague?
Yes, Alia is a very dear colleague (smiles).
There is so much competition in your age group. Does it push you to work harder, or does it worry you?
For me, anything that is challenging pushes me to do better. Positive things drive me. Earlier, my motivation was that I needed to make it in this industry. I didn’t want to go back without a job. But there was no shortcut to enter the industry and become a star. I had to go through the grind, and keep myself driven to make it. Collaborating with someone who is attempting a new film, telling a novel story, or trying to prove his or her craft drives me more, instead of worrying about kaun kya kar raha hai (who is doing what). I would rather be a person who does something new every time.
When the release of your film is coming up, what’s your state of mind? Do you still get butterflies?
I think the butterflies keep getting bigger and at times, they enter other body parts too (laughs). My new film has been most challenging, especially because it has a high-concept love story, and I’m portraying a character across multiple age groups. It is a big challenge, and I am anxious and excited since it is my sixth film. I feel there has been an improvement in my craft, as I enjoy playing around with different emotions.
Is it frustrating when people call you a good-looking actor, and take the focus away from your talent?
It is not frustrating; looking good can’t be a negative thing in the entertainment industry (smiles). We are here to sell dreams and glamour. But I do believe that I have much more to offer than just the way I look. I think I am in the early stages of my relationship with the audience, so they are still mesmerised with the way I look. I think once they are used to my face, they will start seeing beyond it, and will realise that I have more hidden talents and emotions to show on screen (smiles).