made his relationship with Ankita Lokhande public, he has regularly been asked about his plans to get married to her. Now, the actor finally admits that the wedding will happen soon. He also reacts to reports that compare his career graph to that of Shah Rukh Khan’s.
You have been in a relationship with Ankita for five years now. Is marriage on the cards?
Yes. Ankita wants to have an elaborate wedding. So, I need to plan for it. It’s on the top of my priority list. We haven’t fixed any date, but it should happen sometime soon.
Also read:First look of Detective Byomkesh Bakshi
Are you afraid that your female fan following might take a hit post marriage?
It’s just a myth that once you get married, you lose your fan base. I think the audience will respect you more for your honesty and courage to stand by your girl. Also, as an actor, if you are skilled enough to be convincing in any role, then the audience will continue to love you.
Do you get bothered when your personal life makes news?
Why would it bother me? I am in a steady and dreamlike (sic) relationship with Ankita for the last five years, and I have always been transparent about it, and proud of it.
A recent report traced similarities between your career graph and that of Shah Rukh Khan’s.
Shah Rukh is one of the main reasons I developed an interest in films in the first place. From being a great admirer of him as a school kid, and not being able to get an autograph from him on the sets of Swades (2004), to dancing behind him at an awards show, and then, getting invited to his house last year — it has been a long journey. Maybe, what we have in common is the passion for our work and the willingness to have sleepless nights for it.
You have no godfather in the industry. Does that make things tough?
It’s very difficult for an outsider to break in and then survive in this industry. But I feel, eventually, you’ll be remembered for your passion, talent and hard work, not your surname.
Do you feel that your contemporaries are giving you tough competition?
There is competition, and it’s tough. But most newcomers now are quite sure about their priorities and choices. So, we choose to learn from each other and get motivated. There is mutual respect, and we are working together to contribute to the metamorphosis our cinema is undergoing.
Being one of the highest-paid young actors, how important is fame and money in your life?
Fame and money are important and, at the same time, tempting. But after a point, they start to lose relevance. I love the fame and money my career brings, but I somehow find other reasons to love my craft more.
There is a perception that you are cut off — going by Bollywood standards of camaraderie — from the rest of the industry?
It’s true, but that’s not deliberate. When I prepare or shoot for a film, I try to stick around the world of the script because that’s the only way I can portray my characters with confidence. And now, lately, whenever I am not shooting, nobody calls me, so I end up not socialising at all.
Your next two films — Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and Paani —are completely different from each other. So, have their preparations been challenging?
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy is set in the Calcutta of 1940s, and Paani is a futuristic film. I have learned more in six months with Dibakar Banerjee than I learnt in the last eight years of acting. I have just begun working with Shekhar sir (Kapur) and it’s magical. The last one year has definitely been the most exciting phase of my life.
Rumours are that you are doing Homi Adajania’s next with Alia Bhatt, and the MS Dhoni biopic.
I have finalised two films, but I can’t talk about them until the makers make an official announcement.
From engineering to acting, how was the switch?
Every time I made a transition, say from engineering to professional dancing and then to TV and films, it looked scary. Each day, it was like a pendulum swinging. At one point in the day, I would feel it was impossible, and the same day, I would feel certain about it.
A number of TV actors seem to be following you into films…
Actors working on TV are more confident now, and also, film-makers are opening their doors to them. It’s a welcome change.
With over a year in Bollywood, how has life changed for you?
It has changed for the better. I’ve been getting good work and it’s encouraging. People take me seriously and there are lots of expectations. It’s the beginning of a long journey.