He's on the ascent. Critics have thumbed up his performances...but the psst psst columns haven’t been too kind to the actor who has been linked with women galore and accused of throwing major attitude within showbiz circles.. Shiney Ahuja sorts out rumours with Hiren Kotwani.
The strong buzz is that you have a major attitude problem and you are also labeled as being high-handed.
Ha ha! That’s not true at all. It could be the buzz in the media but not in the film industry. Why should I have an attitude?.. you tell me, you’re a journalist.
It could be because some people have not been able to accept me for what I am. Maybe they think I’m a small-time guy who’s trying to make it big and I don’t deserve it.. which I think is unfair.
Apparently, you only want to do lead roles now.
Well, of course I want to do only lead roles. At the same time, I don’t mind being one of the leads. If it’s a multi-starrer, it all depends on the importance of my role in the script.
Who are your friends in the film industry?
My directors Sudhir Mishra and Anurag Basu.
Why the parting ways with Mohit Suri? Reportedly, he doesn’’t ever want to work with you after Woh Lamhe.
Really? (Pretends to break into sobs) He never told me that. Ooh, I’ll never be able to work with Mohit Suri.. isn’t that sad? (Pause) Arre yaar, Mahesh Bhatt saab is very fond of me. It’s he who decides who will do what in his films. I want to work with Anurag.
Gangster was exciting, Anurag is a terrific director. All the directors I’ve worked with, have cast me again.
<b1>You’ve been portraying directors and actors in the movies (Woh Lamhe, Metro, Khoya Khoya Chand). Isn’t there the danger of getting typecast?
Hmm, at least, I’m playing well-defined characters. I’ll have to elaborate on the differences between the various characters extensively .
But broadly speaking, when I do three serious films, people tag me as a serious actor. If I do a couple of comedies, I’ll be asked if I can do serious stuff. I’d rather look at the upside. I know that I’m not playing a director in my next four films.
Has the Delhi boy in you adapted to Bombay?
What I love about Delhi is the city itself. What I love about Bombay are its people.. so there’s never been a period of adjustment.
Have you changed in any way?
Everything around me has changed, but I’m still same. I have the same kind of opinions and views that I used to. The only difference is that earlier no one would hear me out, today they do.
What would you say are your limitations as an actor.. can you play a soft guy.. can you carry out a dance number?
Well, my character in Metro is a softie.. he’s a loser.. and I love that.. because we’re not all superheroes in life. As for dancing, I think I’m a pretty good mover.. I need a good choreographer and enough time to rehearse.
The last time I performed at a couple of shows, I rehearsed for just an hour or so.. others practised for four-five hours. The more you rehearse, the better your dancing. It’s not like acting.. while emoting you can be spontaneous at times.
Couldn’t you have avoided that inconsequential role in
No yaar. I don’t think like that. I knew it was a brief role when I took it up. I didn’t think I’d be questioned. But when I’m asked why I did it, I see that positively, that some believe I’m worthy of better roles.
Do you seen anyone as your mentor?
Many and none. No one.. because no one particular person launched me. That said, I would count Bhatt saab, Sudhir Mishra and Anurag Basu as my mentors in a way.
Are you playing a role modelled on Guru Dutt in Sudhir Mishra’s
Khoya Khoya Chaand?
Yes and no. There are some similarities because the film is set during the time of Guru Dutt movies and my character makes the kind of movies he did.
He goes through personal problems pretty much like Guru Dutt did..but still it’s not a film on Guru Dutt. I did not research the part to play it like him..my performance has come out the way the director wanted it to.
Can you handle criticism?
I haven’t come across criticism visà-vis my work so far. Only one critic was very angry with me for doing Fanaa and said so in his review. But trust me, Fanaa will be good for me in the long run.
Do you mean to say you’ll land a Yash Chopra project soon?
I’m not saying a word on this. Whatever I’ve gained, you’ll know about it very soon. I heard that there were some major problems between Akshay Kumar and you during the shoot of Bhool Bhulaiyya in Jaipur.
Not heard, you mean read in the magazines. It’s not true at all. Akshay is like an older brother, he has made it on his own and he knows I admire him for that.
<b3>Okay, so, what about the BMW and a road accident in Jaipur?
You guys said that I don’t own it. So why are you asking me about it? Should I show you the documents? You can also look at the car to see if it’s damaged.
Sanjeev, from my staff, was in the car. We were going to the location. Suddenly a Honda cut in , I speeded up for security reasons I shouldn’t let anyone near my car. I didn’t know it was a ‘race race’ as such. Only after I reached the spot, I saw Akshay there and he laughed that it was a race.
Rumour is that you’re more than just “good friends” with Shilpa Shetty.
Are you implying that something is going on between us? This means that none of your sources is giving you the right information about me. Honestly, Shilpa is just a good friend.. that’s it.
Okay, at least you’re saying that besides directors, some artistes are your friends too.
Well, yes, Akshay Kumar, Shilpa Shetty, Sushmita Sen and Vidya Balan are friends. Although I’m not in touch with Vidya regularly, we call each other up whenever we want to.
Doesn’t your wife question you on those reported affairs with Ruchi Narain, Tanuja Chandra and recently Shilpa Shetty?
Rumours don’t affect her at all.. because she knows they’re not true..
There are also rumours that there are problems in your marriage.
Let there be rumours. If there can be rumours about me with other women, there can be rumours about my problems with my wife too. Strangely, she’s been called a doctor, a cardiologist.. all sorts of careers have been given to her.
So if the media is at fault, why haven’t you clarified matters?
I’m not saying the media is at fault. Some journalists have been irresponsible. Otherwise, I love the media and have some very good friends who are journalists. So, I even know what you’ve been writing about me and why. (Laughs) Chill, I’m just kidding.
Lastly,what worries you?
(Laughs) Doing this interview maybe. But seriously, nothing.. I came here with Rs 1600 in my pocket.. I’m doing okay.. so why worry, just be happy.