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Arjun Rampal has a long way to go

The actor tells Diganta Guha that he still has a lot more to give to the industry in return.

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On Friday afternoon, his presence created some chaos around The Park, Kolkata where he is putting up. He was mobbed, requested for autographs and actor Arjun Rampal enjoyed every bit of it. In Kolkata to shoot for Rituparno Ghosh’s film, Arjun spent some time with HT City in his hotel room.

Excerpts of an interview:

You are still a heartthrob…
I mean, it’s just flattering but I really don’t take it seriously. When my fans meet me they say, “He is just a normal guy.” And talk of the aura, it’s thanks to all of you. You have created this.

Missing family during Holi dude…
Well, I am still trying to get back to Mumbai for a day. The Holi is on the 4th. Let me see if I can. Last three years, I have been out of the country during Holi. I am a family man, I love to be with my wife and kids — go out, checking out the restaurants and all that. And on Holi, it’s like being with your family and making a mess of yourself…

Enjoying the stay in Kolkata?
It’s fabulous. People here are cultured and I am surprised to see how clean Kolkata is. I was here last three years back and I found the city very congested. But the roads have improved and there’s definitely a buzz to the city.

You must be dejected with the performance of your debut production I See You…
More aggressive publicity was required and I also released the film at the wrong time (New Year’s eve). May be I should have been a bit more patient with that. The music should have been allowed to grow. Now I see its music on top of the charts. Even the DVD sales are phenomenal. I don’t blame the audiences. Somewhere I went wrong. But yes, to a certain extent, we have had some success too.

Isn’t it unfortunate that you are judged only on the basis of the box-office despite doing such lovely work over a period of time? You still have to wait having come this further…
Numerologists tell me I am number eight, so I have had to wait (laughs). But that’s the way my life has been. I take my time and I am comfortable with that. I think people have more issues with it than I have. Fortunately I got the opportunity to work on different cinema, with the best and in both big and small films within such a short span. I believe I still have a lot more to give to the industry, which has given me so much.

Don’t you think you should give up on song and dance and focus more on films like Rituparno Ghosh’s?
I love song and dance and perform to the songs in shows. I have met a few actors who work out of Hollywood and they say they wished they could have done so much of song and dance. Why should you look down upon it? Song and dance is all about entertaining and my job is to entertain. Yes, Ritu’s film is special and challenging for all of us. It’a very intelligent film.

Don’t you think you should give up on song and dance and focus more on films like Rituparno Ghosh’s?
It can be positive if it is put in a positive manner. At times some people just get personal without evaluating the film. I think 90 per cent of the time people do that. To me it is disturbing over the weekend (laughs) and then it’s back to normal.

So, if I lambast your performance, would you kick my butt when we bump into each other the next day?
Oh! You know what you should avoid me for three-four days—may be a week… (laughs). But you know relationship develops over a period of time. And this is why you are here interviewing me. At times, I do get negative vibes from people. At times you try to sort it out, but if it doesn’t work out, what to do?

Any plans to get behind the camera?
No, after seeing directors getting neurotic. On the production front, I am looking at two-three scripts. And hopefully, I will start working on them after I am through with Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om, Ritu’s film and probably the Kaante remake. As a producer you have to be choosy and be more careful.

Can two stars be good friends?
On the sets yes, but you know what we work on different films, so we really don’t get the time. Just to make a good friend for an actor, it is difficult. But I would back a person to the hilt who I consider a friend.

Shah Rukh and you are great buddies. Isn’t it encouraging having people backing you?
Shah Rukh is a great buddy, he is a great guy, but at the end of the day you get work on the basis of what you do. Now, as a producer I would take somebody whom I think is suitable for the role and not on personal grounds.

And some your favourite starrers…
Moksh, Tehzeeb, Aankhen and of course Don.

First Published: Mar 03, 2007 16:41 IST