Where do you think your debut "Chura Liya Hai Tumne" went wrong?
: It's never quite clear why or where a film goes wrong. I did my best for "Chura Liya Hai Tumne”. There might have been a lacuna between the original idea and what it finally turned out to be. All said and done a film is a director's medium, just like theatre is an actor's medium and television is the producer's medium. An actor can only be as good as the film and the director. But I don't regret doing it. I look at every experience as a learning process. "Chura Liya Hain Tumne" made me very rich in experience. It wouldn't be prudent for me to say what went wrong. But it did make me rethink about my priorities.
Did the experience embitter you?
Yes, I felt the change in the attitude of the industry. Fortunately I don't expect anything from anyone. If you do, you are bound to get hurt. I never want to be in a situation where I need people to feel sorry for me. Fortunately, Farah and Shah Rukh were like angels sent to guide me in the right direction. They treated me like a younger brother. They showed me which way to go.
Like a film called "Idiot" that you signed in-between?
Ha ha. I play a man who's so much in love with a girl he has overwhelming ways of showing it. My entire focus at this point of time is on "Main Hoon Na". Farah proved to be a godsend for me. I knew I had talent. But I lacked discipline and experience. That has to come from the right guidance from working with focused people. And my god! Is "Main Hoon Na" the right launch vehicle for any actor!
How's your relationship with Shah Rukh?
What can I say, man? I love him! I've been a great fan of his work. My respect for him multiplied after I worked with him. I guess it's the same kind of respect that I've for Amitabh Bachchan.
What other assignments?
Pritish Nandy Communications' "Shabd" with Sanjay Dutt and Aishwarya Rai, and Vashu Bhagnani's "Vaada". Here I play an obsessive lover. My character lives in extremes. Every film is a challenge. I'm very fortunate to get "Shabd" where I've been seen as mature enough to fit in with Sanjay and Aishwarya. I've always been an ardent admirer of Aishwarya. To get the opportunity to work with her so early in my career is a privilege. As for Sanjay, I've two films, "Shabd" and Nitin Manmohan's "Hum", with him. I've been very close to him.
Your look in "Main Hoon Na" is extremely hip.
Extremely Goa. When I was in college that's exactly how I looked and dressed. Thank god you didn't meet me then, or you'd have died of shock. As a teenager you tend to make efforts to stand out in a crowd. So you grow your hair, wear outlandish clothes....When I did "Main Hoon Na" I began to look back on my earlier years. Why did I dress and behave the way I did when I was 18? To tell the truth I'm most comfortable dressed that way.
Has a Farah film spoilt you further?
: I don't know whether I'm spoilt. That's the impression I give. I work really hard. I'm pampered in a positive way. My mom and sisters really dote on me. And the ladies in my life are really excited about my career.
What about your personal life?
I've a girlfriend who's now my fiancée. When I'm not working I'm always with her. Once in a while when I go out with other friends the media misconstrues my motives. The papers involve me with every girl I'm seen with. I'm not really complaining. It doesn't hurt my image.
What about Esha Deol?
A: I think I'll make her tie me a raakhi and settle this issue once and for all. She's too close to me to be anything but a buddy. I've been with her when she needed me. I take great pride in helping her lose weight. She's looking fab these days.