You know somewhere we would have to start understanding that we are such big hypocrites that is why we do not look at people like Raghu with an idealistic eye. As much as we try to say that there are no problems in us or the Indian culture, we would somewhere have to agree that there are problems. If someone does not follow the rules set by the society, people start judging the person. The conflicts that a person faces when in a relationship, happens with everyone. The thought that, if its love or infatuation. You get to know if this is the person you want to share your life with and all the conflicts that become the part of a person's thought process, then deliberately you give weightage to things that can be ignored and things that can be sorted with a discussion, if you want to be with that person. If you don't want to be with that person then what to do. So everything that is in our head, we keep it inside only and not share it with others thinking what will this person think and what will that person think. Generally in love stories we show a very fantasised love where in the hero comes and says, "Main tumse mohabbat karta hoon" and everything is happy ever after. It feels nice to see that for 2 hours on screen. But Shuddh Desi Romance
is a love story in a very real space. Any person who has been in a relationship or will be in a relationship would relate to whatever is happening in the film. All that is happening would have somewhere sometime happened with him or her as well. Raghu is a very relateable character. Whatever he is doing is not intentional that is why you'll have a nice laugh when you see him. It is an entertaining film.
Shuddh Desi Romance is a diametrically opposite film to Kai Po Che. How and why did you decide to take up this project when you knew that the 'Film Number 2' zone is such a precarious zone with a completely transitional character?
Kai Po Che did not happen by accident. I said no to 6 to 7 films before that. Those were very conventional Bollywood debut films. Kai Po Che was the film that I instantly connected with. Its not a deliberate attempt on my part to do all this films like Shuddh Desi Romance
, Peekay, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy. I am not deliberately choosing these scripts to be different but I connect with these scripts. My first step as an actor is to convince myself that I can be this character. I should have seen him somewhere or I should understand his thought process. So till the time I don't convince myself I cant convince all of you. I, in spite of having many offers on purpose take a gap of 2- 2 and a half months just to understand the character. First day I should understand that I am the character. After the promotions I have taken 3 month's leave to understand the character. I cant work otherwise, maybe I am not that skilled. Maybe I don't have that much confidence in me that I switch from Raghu to Byomkesh who used to live in Kolkatta in 1940's in such a different era and wanted to be a detective when everyone around him wanted to do a government job. I don't know Byomkesh, I don't understand Byomkesh then how can I play him? Hence, I have to take that time. I may not eventually succeed but I will try my level best.
It is never decided that how will any film do at the box-office. Sometimes an average film earns alot of money, sometimes a very good film faces a problem in release and if it releases it does not earn as much. So this is something that I do not understand. I don't aspire to understand it so I don't take my decisions based on it. The only decision making factor for me is the script and my director's vision.
Have you been seduced by stardom?
I don't understand stardom. I don't understand when people say, do this or that and your fan following will increase. I understand one thing that I am one character, I can convince myself and I can convince you, sometimes I am able to do it and sometimes I am not. I understand this thing and I will work on that. I don't understand what and how to do things to increase your fan following. If its happening then its good and if it is not happening it does not matter because I am doing my work.
What was the bigger high for you that the film is written by Jaideep Sahni who gave us Chak De India, directed by Maneesh Sharma who directed Band Baaja Baarat or you're romancing 2 heroines?
It is a YRF film. I remember when I was aspiring to be an engineer, sometimes I used to think that i wish this happens that when the Yash Raj Films logo comes on screen, my name appears after that. When I used to perform with Shiamak, we used to come at YRF to rehearse, fill a form at the gate and were told to go inside. But today I am sitting here, in the corporate office of YRF. You feel good about it. So its a YRF film that is a good thing. Maneesh has directed it and Jaideep Sahni
has written it, that is also a good thing. I am romancing 2 heroines, that is also a good thing. But first when I read the script and what I felt after that, I think that is the most important thing. If I only don't believe in the script when everyone else does, I think I wont be able to do justice to it and that's what one should not do.
How did you decide to be an actor?
Most people think that we are actors because we want to be famous or we want to get rich. I think we are actors because of many other complicated reasons and I have my own reasons for it. When I was doing engineering, I was very shy, I still am. When I started with performing arts and kept on doing it, the release you get is extra ordinary. That is very addictive. Then you want to do it again and again. When you make people believe that you are someone else, then I felt that this is made for me only. Maybe I wont get paid for this, but I want to learn this skill. I used to enjoy this. So to learn this craft I dropped out of engineering, not that I had some offer or something in hand that time. So i kept on doing theatre and then thought to see how camera acting is. After 1 or 2 years I got stuck, I was repeating myself. So it was a conscious decision to leave, not TV but that particular project I was working on. I wanted to do a film course but then this audition happened and my first audition was Kai Po Che. I liked the script and it was exciting so I did it. If I dont find any exciting script then I would go back to TV or would go back to theatre.
The 'hero' of today has changed in Hindi Cinema and so have the love stories. The new entries of Bollywood are not the 'larger than life' heroes. So according to you would we have a Romantic Hero again?
Earlier the mainstream audience was less tentative towards less fantasy oriented films. Every emotion of the life is highlighted in the film so that those 2 hours that you take out of your life is full of fancy and is not boring. So stories became larger than life, superstars maintained stardom and that will always be a film with a win- win situation. Today, the middle class of India is stuck in the middle. They want to watch this less fantasy oriented film and watch the larger than life cinema also as they have an independent vision now. We have a lot of theatres now. Earlier the sector we were not working much on was the marketing sector but today we are working on it . I think there will be a room for each and every kind of cinema. Now we have films which are big budget larger than life films and then we have films which are small budget, high on content films. Now it depends on you which film you want to do. Whether you want to chose from the 2 or do both.