Your character in The Newsroom is an Internet buff. What’s the one thing you have read on the Web that made you laugh out loud?
It’s actually watching Prabhudeva in Urvashi. The first time I saw that, I could not stop laughing, but I was also in awe of how cool he was.
You have a 1st Dan black belt in Taekwon-do. What has it taught you about yourself and your body?
It actually helped me get rid of any violence inside of me and be a calmer person.
The best thing about being an Indian-origin actor and the worst.
Being an actor of any colour is a privilege and I don’t see any downside in it.
Any similarities between you and your character Jamal Malik in Slumdog
I think in some aspects, we both like to persevere and we like to view obstacles as an opportunity.
Your most embarrassing experience at an award show.
There are a couple. One of them would include getting slapped by Sharon Stone, as I asked her to prove to me that I wasn’t dreaming while standing next to her on the red carpet at the Baftas.
What do you miss about filming in Mumbai the most?
The energy, passion and the excitement of the crew that works there. What I liked most about India was that so many people came together to tell this one story and everyone on that set was just so happy to be employed. I have never felt so alive as I have being in Bombay.
Did HBO’s The Newsroom make you take what you see on TV more seriously?
The Newsroom has given me much more respect for the newscasters and journalists.
Where do you go to escape fans and photographers?
I find my life very low key as I try to live it as un-Holloywood as possible, so there is not much escaping to do. There are some fans that come up to me in the supermarket, and I am more than happy to sign an autograph or take a picture.
How do you keep grounded after being so successful at just 24?
One phone call from his mother can ground any man (chuckles).
One Indian destination you think the rest of the world should discover.
I recently shot in Pondicherry, which I fell in love with. I will still say Bombay,
because I feel that there is so much to discover in the city.
Three songs on your iPod?
The song that gives me strength is a song called Depth over Distance by Ben Howard, it’s a wonderful song and very inspiring to the human soul. The second one would be a rap song by Kendrick Lamar, and lastly, Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein by Adnan Sami, as my dad used to sing it as he drove me to school.
Five musts in your wardrobe.
One is socks and towels; watches as I am a watch-buff; a good Burberry suit; a cool baseball cap for a bad hair day and a whole collection of grey and black shirts.
One movie you would have loved to be a part of.
It’s a French film called A Prophet.
The book that changed your life.
Arvind Adiga’s The White Tiger.
The best piece of advice you have ever received.
It’s a quote that my friend told me, "Strength shows, not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over".
From HT Brunch, November 2
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