What is your role in Traffic Signal?
My character is Silsila who is a beggar and was born on the streets of Mumbai. He grows up to become the manager of that signal. This entire signal is like a large family, where everybody has adopted someone as a brother or sister or maee.
This is not run of the mill role and the rumour has it that you went deep into the characters by researching on beggar?
Research is important but one should not allow it to overrule the character or the perception of the director. Yes I did connect with these people and understood the psych but I have worked within the parameters set by the director Madhur Bhandarkar. On my end, I worked on the look of the character. I kept long curly hair to provide the ruffian look, then I took a darker skin colour because exposure to sun tans them and changed my body language to suit them. My clothes are also realistic.
What is the story of Traffic Signal?
In a nutshell it is the story of people who live on the roads of Mumbai but in totality it talks about the entire profession that is like an industry today. It is properly organized and their collections are mind blowing. Some of the beggars and street people even have bank accounts and homes. It is quite fascinating.
What is ‘Dhol’ about?
It is a funny film. I am doing it for different flavour of it. It is to change my setting image of a serious artiste. It’s fun shooting for this film.
There is a perception in the market that you are throwing a starry tantrums and attitude?
Not at all. Only thing is that with two films working back to back time factor is lesser. But I always respond to the SMS. There is no attitude at all.
You have worked with two directors Mahesh Bhatt and Madhur Bhandarkar, who make realistic cinema. Where is the difference in their approach?
There is very stark difference in both of them. Bhatt Saab is realistic cinema but he looks more at relationships and emotions, more intimate kind of story line. Madhur looks at the larger perception of life and take on issues in his film. They both deal with realistic cinema in their individual style.
All of your three films have different kind of story and genre? Was it planned move?
No, I am not a planned person. I do things spontaneously. When a story comes if script is exciting and makers are good, then I take it on. It is sheer chance that all three are of different genre. Even as an actor I am spontaneous. I don’t do too much of research or delve deep into the character. I need to understand the role and its shades. Once that is clear then actor should allow the director to steer him through the story. It is the vision of the director that should come out of story and characters, not the detailed research of the actor in his creative pursuit.
Do you think your theatre experience has been helpful in shaping your career?
It has been helpful in shaping me as an actor and a person. I have done theatre for almost six years. That was my buffer time between me as a child actor and now. But it really refined my acting skills and timing. From a small role in Gul Gulshan Gulfaam serial to my first film Hum Hai Raahi Pyar Ke and the Zakhma, I did learn a lot but theatre is part of adult life. It was instrumental in my ability today.
Your last film as child artiste was with Mahesh Bhatt and your first film as an adult was with him too. Was it planned?
Coincidence but I am happy for it. He came to me with ‘Blue film’ which was later retitled as ‘Kalyug’. I was apprehensive because I did not want to begin my career with such a film but once I heard the story I was convinced. I would have done the film even if title had not been changed.