Prakash Jha finds you outstanding in "Apaharan"?
Hopefully the audience will agree with him. Picture achi bani hai (It's a well made film). He has chosen a very hard-hitting subject and not tried to over-commercialise it. "Apaharan" remains true to its subject. It's a film with a conscience.
Yes, such films have almost become synonymous with my career. And why not? There're other actors who do their own thing. Govinda has his style, Salman has his own. I've mine. I'm not saying their style is better or worse than mine. But my way of working is my own.
Do you deliberately choose films with a conscience?
Such films automatically choose me. I don't make any attempt to choose them. Because I've a theatre background I need to know the background for my character. Prakash Jha told me my character in "Apaharan" was modelled on a real-life politician. But I didn't study the real character. I played it the way the director envisaged it.
An actor must mould his acting style according to what the director wants. I've often been accused of directing the director. That's only when the director doesn't know his job.
From Mehul Kumar to Prakash Jha... you've made quite a long journey with various directorial talents.
There're directors, and directors. Just as there are various pharmaceutical companies. Some make a living by making spurious drugs. Others live by making authentic stuff.
I'd count Prakash Jha and Goutam Ghosh among the drug manufacturers whose products always heal. Goutam has been making films his own way, not thinking about whether they work or not. And believe me, the budget of a film can be controlled and directors can make their films with conviction.
What do you play in "Yatra"?
I'm a writer travelling to Delhi. It's about his interaction with various characters. It's the story of a writer's emotional and topographical journey. It's a strange kind of film. I've an amazing role. After a long, long time I'm doing a role that challenges me to this extent. As an actor I've seldom been so excited recently.
You've an exciting assortment of co-stars in "Yatra"?
Yes Rekha, Deepti Naval, Nakul Vaid... all fine actors. But it doesn't matter to me who my co-stars are as long as my role is challenging. Of course, competent actors make your job a lot easier. I'm fortunate to have had co-stars like Ajay Devgan and Bipasha Basu in "Apaharan".
Now you're directing another film?
Yes, for Prakash Jha... I know what I'm going to make. But I won't tell you right now.