In December 2013, Arjun Rampal’s name was dragged into the troubled Hrithik Roshan-Sussanne Khan marriage. Rumours claimed that the actor, a close friend of the Roshans, had a part to play in their separation, due to his proximity to Sussanne. Arjun retorted strongly, with a statement, saying, “These are the hardest times for them, and we must be sensitive towards this decision, rather than creating speculation and rumours.”
But the “rumours” refuse to die. Hrithik and Sussanne have divorced since, but the latest speculative story is that Mehr Jesia-Rampal (Arjun’s wife) and Sussanne’s friendship has soured because of him. Even as he rubbishes the report on Twitter, he tells us he wants to keep his personal life “personal”.
* You’ve been avoiding the media for some time now. Why is that?
You need to speak to the media when you need to speak to them. I had nothing to say all this while. Now I do, because I’m doing a couple of films.
* Did it have anything to do with the continuous speculations surrounding Hrithik and Sussanne’s split?
I don’t speak about what is happening in my personal life. I keep my relations with the media at a professional level, and that’s how I want to keep it.
* Do you want to react to what happened?
If I had wanted to, I would have [back in December].
* Why are you doing so few films now?
I don’t want to do anything and everything that comes my way. I have been picky in the last five years to get to where I am today. I want to do commercial films, but they should also have solid stories and characters… and there are very few of these films around.
* Is it also tougher to survive as an actor, with so much new talent in Bollywood?
Competition is far fiercer today than it was three years ago. But I think if you deliver good performances, people will come to watch your films. It’s great that there is new talent coming in, and it should be encouraged. But I don’t feel insecure. I haven’t made a caricature out of myself by doing the same kinds of roles. And as long I don’t limit myself to doing one kind of role, there will always be room for me in the industry.
* In 2006, you produced I See You. Now, several young actors are turning to production. Are you planning on going back to producing films?
I want to, but everything has its time. It is the natural progression. I have spent 15 years in the industry, so I do know the trade. I have many scripts… I will produce some, and I might give the others to my friends to make.
* Since 2012, your career has seen a bit of a slump with films like Ajab Gazabb Love (2012), Chakravyuh (2012), Satyagraha (2013) and Inkaar (2013) not working at the box office…
I didn’t find scripts that were exciting. It wasn’t like I was negotiating for a role that I wanted and that it didn’t work out. Nothing of that sort happened. I was very engrossed in working on (director) Vicky Singh’s film, its script and getting it on the floors.
* What are you working on now?
I will be shooting non-stop now. I am currently shooting for director Gaurav Bavdankar’s next; I will be working on that till February and some portions towards the beginning of April. Then, in March, I will start shooting for Soni Razdan’s directorial venture. In April, I will start Rock On 2.