Unfortunately more people have hated "Fida" than loved it.
I don't see it that way. It's doing very well in the multiplexes and larger cities. But people in the smaller cities didn't understand it. People find it difficult to accept me shooting down Kareena in the climax.
Maybe audiences expected a love story, not a hate story between the two of you.
But our promotional campaigns emphatically stated that unfortunately all love stories don't have the perfect ending. So they pretty much went expecting something that wasn't eye-candy love story. I don't think we misled audiences. But, yes, maybe they didn't expect such a shocking ending.
How do you feel about the way "Fida" has been received by audiences and critics?
I'm very happy with the way my role and performance has been received. Considering this was my second film, I was nervous about pulling off such a tough role. In many ways it was a very mature role. And I'm only 23.
But you didn't play a very mature character!
Yeah. But look at the kind of emotions that my character goes through. I like to take on challenging roles. It helps me to improve. So I'm very happy with the response my performance has got.
I love the film. There're no positive or negative people, only characters in the film. The film is extremely shocking. I'm very glad that the film isn't going to lose money. In fact, it's doing very well in Mumbai and Rajasthan, Dubai and London.
Are you an adventurous actor?
I won't be stupid enough to let go of opportunities to play what audiences like to see me doing. At the same time I'll be doing roles that challenge me as an actor.
A lot of people within the film industry think you are arrogant.
Every successful newcomer goes through this. When you say no to some film offers, there's bound to be a feeling of negativity towards you. Far from saying no, I haven't even been hearing any scripts. I really don't want to pass judgment on anyone. I've learnt to take good and bad press. But if someone reads something negative about me they should please find out what I'm all about instead of going by perceptions that may not be entirely objective.
What assignments do you have?
At the moment, I've only three films - Anant Mahadevan's "Dil Maange More", Satish Kaushik's "Milenge Milenge" and John Mathew's film with me, Ajay, Amrita Rao and Sameera Reddy. While the first two can be slotted as romantic comedies, I can't put Matthew's film in any genre.
Are you flattered when you're compared with Shah Rukh Khan?
Every newcomer is compared with the established names. Shah Rukh himself was compared with Dilip Kumar.
Were you disappointed by the way your coupling with Kareena was received?
I haven't heard anyone say anything negative. If people say I look younger, it's only because she has been around much longer than me. I'm just two films old whereas she has done innumerable films. But we're of the same age. In our next film together, "Milenge Milenge", our characters go through a conventional romantic route. So I guess those who were disappointed by the lack of romance between us in "Fida" would be happy.
What's this war of words with Fardeen Khan?
Search me. I didn't start it. I don't want to say anything. I want my work to speak for me. So far I was used to heroines picking on each other. This is a new one. During "Fida", I was too focused on my work to notice who was reacting how. I've no idea of what was going on after 'action' and 'cut'.
Do you enjoy the media attention?
Do I have a choice? I don't enjoy it. But I accept it. I don't crave for attention. Those who do are insecure people. It's important for me to do my work well. For me, my kid brother's reaction to my performance is the greatest compliment. He thinks every performance I give is the best ever.