I know those out there in Mumbai are wondering why I’m not in the city with my film, Dev D, up for release next week. It’s a given today that actors should be in town to promote their films. But I’m in New York.
I’m here to start a course at an art school. It’s a good way to pull yourself out of the everyday world when you get focused in one particular direction.
My classes begin in February. Initially, Dev D was to hit the theatres in January.. but it was delayed by a month. Unfortunately, by then, I had already worked out the schedule with the college here.. and there was no going back.
Still, I wish I were in Mumbai. I want to see the audience’s reaction, first hand.. I want to read the reviews.. I want to feel the buzz. Of course, I don’t need to be there for the film to do well. I am confident that the audience will like it. But my being there would have been good for me, I could have cashed in on the buzz. But then, I have always been a bad businessman.
Coming back to my decision of taking a break from the movies, I’ve believed in exploring new things. In 2007, I went to Spain to learn the language. There is so much stress on the work front today that we forget to experience life. I’m very fortunate to be an actor but ironically, instead of myself, I end up focusing on the characters I play!
I know I’m called moody. But what exactly does ‘moody’ mean? I react to the person I’m interacting with and sometimes I reflect the feelings that are being projected about me. It’s not always a good thing and I’m working on it. As someone once said, ‘Do not react, respond.’ I try to do that now.
‘React’ means ‘re-act,’ so in some ways you end up ‘acting’ like the person in front of you. It’s a good tool for me.. in fact, it’s the only way to bring out the subtext in a scene. But in real life I’d advise you to respond’ to a situation. It’s more ‘responsible’ and it’s not a ‘reaction’ but an ‘action.’
New York is not all that different from Bombay. Both are metropolitan cities where people from diverse backgrounds come to work together. Both are island cities, so the infrastructure is a bit cramped, although in New York, the roads are better, buildings are cleaner and the drainage system works. The people are proud of their roots and their city.
But I’m not here to explore Hollywood options. If that was the case I would be in Los Angeles, not New York. There’s a lot of talk centred around DevD. The protagonist is shown smoking, drinking and indulging in all kinds of vices. Still, I’d advise the youth.. and the older generation to see it. I’d rather not explain why.
As told to Vajir Singh