Do you talk to yourself? I do and I do it quite often. I just hit the pause mode and tell myself — ‘oh God! Can you believe it, you are actually standing in front of ‘Ametabachan’ (that’’s how I referred to Amitji as a child) and delivering a line. You are singing and matching the steps to a song, You are actually starring in a movie with him’. Is this a dream? Yes this has to be a dream. I am sitting with Shah Rukh (my most favourite actor) and having a conversation with him over a cup of coffee or dancing with Madhuri Dixit on a stage in New York.
Despite having every ingredient in it to be a dream, it was still a reality. How did I ever get here? How did I ever get to be in a film doing funny scenes with Akshay Kumar or an action sequence with Ajay Devgn. I have no idea.
I never took these decisions; I guess life took them for me. I never wanted to be an actor and here I am, born into a political family, graduate in architecture, standing in front of a camera waiting for my director to shout ‘Action’, just as the horses at the race-course are waiting for the flaps to open before they take their first stride.
I love films. I have grown up watching them. Thanks to the video revolution in the late 70s and early 80s, we had access to every movie on a VHS format. I remember rushing to the nearest video library as soon as the school was over to get two video cassettes. This was a daily ritual until weekends arrived, as two would become four. 80% of the movies would be Hindi, second choice would be cartoon films and then Chinese martial art. Rarely we (three brothers) would go and rent English titles. If we ever did, it would be either action or comedy.
The moment the cassette was pushed into the player, we would enter a fantasy world. Totally mesmerised, we used to do our home work with movies on, play games with movies on, we ate with movies on and we actually slept with movies on too. I was an absolute fan of movies, actors, directors, music-basically everything that a VHS or a cinema had to offer.
Life has its own screenplay. After graduating, I started my architectural firm. Within a few months I get a random call asking me, if I wanted to do a film. They say ‘you are known by the choices you make’ — with that call, I made mine. An architect picked up the call but a fan answered it.