Sid Mallya isn’t new to controversy. He’s been termed a rich, spoilt brat, and linked with various women even after moving away from India — to Los Angeles, USA — to pursue a career in Hollywood.The latest allegations are of him causing actors Freida Pinto and Dev Patel’s alleged break-up. Sid, who partied with Freida on her 30th birthday in October, clarifies the rumours about them dating, as well as his equation with a few other actors.
Tell us about your friendship with Freida. We saw pictures of you together on her birthday.
People party with their friends on their birthdays, and I happened to be in that group. There were five of us in the pictures, but I guess I was the only one deemed newsworthy. When the story broke in the UK, they all wrote just about her having a good time. Then, journalists in India saw the pictures and said, ‘Hang on, we know that guy.’ Suddenly, there were rumours of us dating. It’s absurd.
Speaking of dating actors, you were in a relationship with Deepika Padukone. What about the other link-ups?
Yes, we were dating, and I’m still in touch with Deepika. There were also rumours about Anushka Sharma and I being in a relationship. I swear I’ve met her only twice, and that too, at parties that I attended with Deepika. There was also a link-up with Sonam Kapoor at one point; and something about Priyanka Chopra looking for a house in town, and me apparently helping her find one. I can categorically tell you that apart from Deepizzle (sic), I didn’t date anyone.
You could’ve easily funded your own Bollywood launch. Why take the long route by moving to Los Angeles?
I have an American passport, so moving there wasn’t an issue. Of course, I could’ve easily funded a film by now. I could’ve put X amount into a project and said, ‘Give me a role.’ But what does that really achieve? I’m in this for the long run. It’s not about being famous. Shortcuts always have detrimental effects. I’m not a struggling actor who has to make ends meet to pay my apartment bills. I admit that I’m very well taken care of here, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a struggling actor. I still have to walk into an audition, stand there, slate my name, give my height, do the audition, get the nod and hear, ‘Thank you very much. We’ll get in touch,’ and never hear from them again. There’s no preferential treatment.
Did you never feel the need to join your father’s business?
First, acting and modelling are something I’ve always wanted to do. However, being born into the family that I’m born into, you’re expected to toe the line, to give it (business) a go. How would I know that I enjoyed it or not, unless I tried it? I would’ve started acting at a much younger age, but I wasn’t born into a normal family. I had other commitments and responsibilities I had to look after.
So, if acting is your passion, why not Bollywood?
Bollywood would not have worked for me; I don’t speak Hindi and I can’t dance. I’ve got three left legs. And I just don’t have the sensibilities. It’s a very different world out here, and I’ve never been into the whole Bollywood world; it’s a great entertainment industry, but it’s not something I could’ve been able to do. And if it was similar to the west, wouldn’t there have been a lot of Bollywood actors making it in the US? It’s obviously different. I wouldn’t even have been able to do justice to it here. If you’re a boy living in a village, who has saved his month’s allowance to watch a three-hour film, he wouldn’t have liked to watch me looking like this, talking and swearing like this. They can’t relate to me. It would’ve been very difficult.
Didn’t you get any offers from Bollywood?
There was never any concrete role.