What kind of cinema fascinates you?
All kind of cinema fascinates me. It really transports you to another world. And you are able to take people’s imagination to an incomprehensible degree. It keeps improving all the time. It’s also a medium of pure entertainment. Tom and Jerry, Charlie Chaplin, Bruce Lee, Scoobie Doo, Rambo, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Robert Deniro….Hinid films, Buster Keaton, Peter Sellers.
What happened between ‘Monsoon Wedding’ and ‘D’?
(Laughs) Because, Randeep Hooda realized that he sucks compared to other maha yoddhas in that film. I realized that I don’t want to expose my underdeveloped skills. And I never doubted my talent. It was just that I wanted to hone my skills. I consider it lucky that I had got an opportunity to work with Mr Naseeruddin Shah who has been very formative in my growth as an actor. In fact all my acting acumen is thanks to him. And he is very generous in saying that ‘I didn’t teach you anything…you just learned…’.And I’ve also found that I have a long way to go as an actor. It is an ever learning process for me.
You’ve done theatre…what kind of reading have you done?
No…I’ve never even read Shakespeare…I’ve read abridged versions of Shakepeare but I found that wordplay. But even all this theatre literacy I’ve gone for. It is the human literacy that transforms an actor and brings him closer to the audience whether it is theatre, cinema or whatever…Maybe at some stage of my life I shall start reading….
But in ‘D’ you’ve internalized the pain…It’s very Shakepearean at times…
‘D’ I wouldn’t like to attribute to theatre at all. Although all acting is attributed to one another. ‘D’ I would attribute to this special kind of work that I do with Mr Shah…that I also teach at Film Institute now and then. It is about following the thought….To emote is not an actor’s job. It is to do what it has to do. To act is not to pretend. So, that’s the thought I picked up. I think I’ve failed a bit in ‘D’ and hopefully I shall cover up in ‘Risk’.
What was your reaction when you listened to the script of ‘Risk’?
I was like My gawd…I thought it was great…Movies like ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Ab Tak Chappan’ have been made in this genre. But when he explained the treatment to me and what kind of canvass he had in mind…I was like wow….Let’s go ahead…
You’ve grown a moustache for the movie…
That’s not a preparation…It is very cosmetic thing…I didn’t have to sit there and water my moustache…It just takes time….You just don’t shave….
But then you couldn’t shoot for other films….
That is something which was a risk…But I only do one film at a time…and I like to work with people who give me that respect that yes this guy is going to give his everything….Anything it takes….
Your perceptions about your director Vishram Sawant…
It’s a relationship which has gone beyond the friendship and the working environment…we bicker like people in a relationship. We do intense, high emotional, explorational work. And when it comes from an original thought which we haven’t picked up from somewhere. It becomes difficult to zero in on what we want to show to people. That whole process takes a lot. It is a very intense relationship. And I hope we get better and better….
How is ‘Risk’ different?
The difference is that ‘Risk’ is a very modern film in terms technique and treatment. The plot is not similar to other films. We are not preaching about the goodness, imaandari, system…we are making no statement on that. We are making an entertaining film set in realistic set up. The USP is its modern approach and that it is with the times.
What is Vinod Khanna’s character like…?
He is not dressed in a slick suit but it’s a very humane character. He has a Bombay centric lingo but he is not based in Bombay either…he is an emotional person….and that makes it even more interesting….
How important is Box Office success for you?
Box Office success is more important who will be working with me in the future. For me the process of making a film is most important. Box Office will come and go…Movies won’t be there in theatres for ever. But it will be alive for ever…And yes Box Office success hurt nobody.