He is utterly frank and is quite different form the 'always politically correct' actors in the industry. He tells us about his heartbreaks, his encounters with the traffic cops and how his teachers are being forced to eat up their own words they once told about him!
Actually I came to Mumbai for a special someone. But she always used to fight with me and I used to get frustrated. So I used to feel like- 'Why to go and meet her, I'll end up fighting only'. So instead I started going for auditions with my actor friends. I went for an audition for Mahi Way with my friend, and somebody there told that if I'm interested then even I can try. So that's how I bagged the role of Nikhil for Sony's Mahi Way.
But I never intended to stay back in Mumbai. I wanted the cameo of Nikhil to get over with so that I can go back to my home in Delhi. However, as things would have it, I had another fight and another mad-rush to the auditions, and bagged the role of Adarsh in Pratigya. And now I'm over the relationship and enjoying my good going with career and I don't want to return home so soon after all (smiles).
You sound resigned …
Yes, I've had two relationships in the past and both of them have ended badly. Now I've decided not to get serious about any girl. My car is my girlfriend. I love my Accord so much that I got it from Delhi and now she is my companion wherever I go.
So you say no to girls completely?
Yupp, now no affairs for me. Ab seedha shaadi (now marriage straightaway). I've left it to my mom to search a girl for me and I'll marry her happily.
So what kind of girls do you expect your mother to choose for you?
I like girls who are genuine. I've seen beautiful girls lose their grace by saying absurd stuff like- 'Hey I saw this guy who has a BMW. He's so hot!' what is the deal with that? So if a guy has a great car and no brains and no looks you would go for it? Just for money just like that?
That and tattoos on a girl are big turn-offs for me.
I love typical Indian beauties. Which is why I love Vidya Balan. She has that natural look, no pretence… so charming!
Are you fully committed to your car now?
(Laughs)Yes, I am.
Really, no rash driving, not even a scratch on 'her'?
Nope. I'll give my driving a 10 on 10. I've been driving since seventh standard and by now I'm an expert. In fact, I'm so responsible with my car that even my parents don't have a hard time trusting my driving abilities. Whenever, me and my friends or say my cousins go out, they specifically mention that I should be the one handling the steering wheel.
But driving since seventh standard? Isn't that illegal?
Yes it is, but I used to fiddle sitting in the driver's seat with anything I could get my hands on. And before I knew it, voila! I'd learnt driving by the time I was in seventh. Then there was no stopping me. I used to roam around and get caught by cops.
How did you handle the cops?
It's a trick. You got to understand what kind of a cop he is first. Then either scare him or butter him depending on what kind he is.
So you used to bribe them?
Luckily I didn't have to empty my pockets so much over traffic cops...Say of all the times that I've been caught I've had to cough up money for 20% of the time.
Do you at least own a license now?
Yes, in fact thanks to my zeal for driving and the innumerable encounters with cops, my parents thought its best I get a license made when I'm sixteen. I know, you're supposed to be eighteen until you can get a license but I got one made when I was sixteen saying that I'm eighteen. It can happen that way you know and besides in my case it turned out to be a dire need (laughs).
So were you always inclined to acting?
I don't know what to say to that. Because honestly I've never taken part in drama when I was in school. But I always used to tell all my teachers- Main actor banoonga (I'll be an actor). At that time, my teachers thought that I've lost it completely and used to tell me- Tu toh sudhrega nai. Tu raaste mein chole bhature bechna theek hai? Bada aaya actor banne, shakal dekhi hai apni (You'll never change for good. You'll end up selling street food. You want to be an actor but have you seen yourself in the mirror?) …
Why, weren't you good looking back then?
Nope. I was 5'8 and 90 kilos. I was too chubby. Then I took a decision to change myself and went for learning martial arts and yoga. I specifically told them that I want to grow taller and lose weight. Yoga helped with the motivation part of it. That and my young age all worked in my benefit and transformed me.
Wow, and now you're an actor. Which of your two roles do you relate to more?
I relate to Nikhil because he is very much like me. But I feel I'm turning into Adarsh because I'm portraying him every day.
So what plans for now?
I want to give my best to Pratigya. I will for now focus on that fully.
What do you aim to be?
Now that fate has been kind enough to give me so much success in acting, I wish to go ahead in this field and establish a place for myself. Also since I love cars, my other aim is to buy an Audi A4 someday, sooner rather than later (smiles).
Reporter and Author: Susan Jose