In this interview, the actor opens up about making some wrong choices, his career plans and a recent controversy around the Pataudi Palace (the actor and mother Sharmila Tagore were served a notice for allegedly hosting a party with loud music and firecrackers on October 17, thereby violating the Model Code Of Conduct that was enforced for the Haryana Elections).
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How are your productions so different from the films you act in? Whether it was Love Aaj Kal (2009) or Cocktail (2012), both were relatable.
I don’t think Cocktail was a great movie. I feel the hero was confused. We could’ve done a much better job, if we had fixed the script. I don’t think people liked the second half much. It’s a hit, but it’s not something to get excited about because it’s flawed.
I guess the issue is that I personally prefer watching American TV and films. I don’t know why I don’t watch too many Hindi films… I guess I escape from work when I’m not working.
But isn’t it good to be updated with what other actors are doing?
I think it keeps me very fresh and different in my approach when I’m more influenced by American technique and acting, especially in the kind of films I’m doing. It’s not necessarily a great idea to be too exposed to what others are doing. I don’t think there’s a whole lot to learn, frankly.
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You got a lot of flak for your statements about Humshakals.
I gave the film my 100 per cent while shooting and even while promoting it, but I felt a little disappointed with the result and realised that it was a mistake, just like Agent Vinod (2012) was. I was trying to be something that wasn’t coming naturally to me. It’s not that I disowned the film. People who don’t turn up for the publicity of a film are disowning it. But I’m entitled to my opinion after working hard on it. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t believe in the film. But with the end result, I’m more disappointed than an idiot tweeting his opinion of me is. I’m the one who actually did the film, lived it and lost it. So who else is in the position to judge it more than me?
What kind of films do you want to act in now?
I’ve been watching some of my past films like Parineeta (2005), Omkara (2006) and Being Cyrus (2005), and I think I want to go back to doing stuff like that. Things that are well-written. Maybe we need to discover some more books, and get the rights to some Tagore short stories or something a little more in touch with my Bengali side. There’s an academic and creative side to films that has been missing from my life for a year or so, which is coming back now. And I’m really excited about it. My house is now ready; my study feels like an actor’s study with all the scripts, pens, writing and scribbling going on, which for the last couple of years I had left to others.
What’s with the whole controversy surrounding the Pataudi Palace now?
There’s a Right To Information Act, which the government — in its infinite wisdom — passed, so why don’t you ask the magistrate about my mother’s reply? We weren’t even in the palace on the night of October 17; I don’t know whether that’s funny or sad. Also, we’re not people who play shaadi music on loudspeakers. We listen to jazz on the iPod.
There were eight people there. And the Election Commission code of conduct does not apply to individuals. It applies to political parties. So, I think everybody is at the wrong end of the stick. Everybody is happy with the little handout that’s given with information on stars, but the real news, you never even get to hear about it. What makes the headlines is my bloody music in Pataudi.
It’s ridiculous that I end up getting a bad name for playing music on my anniversary and it’s made out to sound like we’re spoilt. The press is happy because they’ve been given information, the public’s happy because they’ve consumed gossip; but people are missing the picture… the real newsmakers aren’t even under the spotlight because they own this country. It’s disconcerting.
But I guess it’s fine because we still get well paid, and I suppose it’s part of karma that we must pay for it by coming across as shallow, stupid people. You can go blue in the face trying to show people that there’s more to you, but one article comes out and destroys all that.