is a person who loves to experiment and do different
types of roles. He has played an underworld don in Company
and won applauds for his splendid performance. The next
movie, 'Road' saw him in a completely different role.
Today he has film offers from top banners and is working
with the likes of Feroz Nadiadwala, Vidhu Vinod Chopra,
Ram Gopal Varma, Zoya Akthar, Sachin Bajaj, Rajiv Menon.
Neha Irani, SeasonsIndia correspondent had a tête-à-tête
with this dynamic young actor.
Excerpts from the interview
'Road' didn't do well as was expected. What do you think
Road may not have met with a terrific response, but
it has definitely not been a losing proposition business-wise.
But you cant say that it was a flop coz people in metros
loved it and it really did good at major cities. After
all the subject was very different and was an experiment
infact. I am proud to be a part of it though.
But don't you agree that Road
wasn't actually your film. You had a very limited role
and infact your part after the interval was only for
about 15 mins. So don't you think you made a mistake
doing a not so important role in your second film itself?
Well I do agree that my role was not the central character
of the film but I am not at all sorry or prejudiced
by that. Road was a good idea and a great film. When
I heard the story, I wanted to do Manoj Bajpai's part
but Ramuji didn't want me to play a villain at this
point. But the strange part is that after watching Manoj
play the part of Babu, I told Ramuji that thanks for
stopping me from doing Babu's role as I wouldn't have
been able to hold a candle to his performance. He was
absolutely stunning. I really had a great time. And
as far as the length of my role is concerned I don't
think I don't think there was a deliberate effort to
sideline my role. The story demanded it and as I said
I was never the central character. The representation
of a character in a film is entirely up to its makers
and it is their prerogative to present the film in the
manner they think best. I am very happy with my performance
in Road and given an opportunity I would again be a
part of such a film.
Is it true that post Road your
relations with Ram Gopal Verma are a bit strained?
Not at all. Who comes up with such stories? Ramu-ji
has recently signed me for two more films, one of which
will be directed by him. This is all humbug. Ramu-ji
has always been an ardent well-wisher. Even in ROAD,
I was very keen on doing Manoj's character, but Ramu-ji
advised me not to go for it because he wanted me to
continue doing positive roles on hero-oriented track.
So what new projects apart from 'Saathiya' are you working
There is 'DUM', which is an interesting
film. I am also doing Sachin Bajaj's 'BARAAT' with Kareena,
and then there is 'KYON? HO GAYA NA', which is a romantic
comedy with Aishwarya Rai. There is also Zoya Akhtar's
project in the pipeline. Apart from these, there are
a handful of interesting projects in which I play diverse
So are you excited and nervous about the public response
Well, I am nervous, Yes, and excited too.
Saathiya is a sensitively made fun film. The film has
the master screenplay of Mani Ratnam and it has been
pieced together beautifully. Shaad is a competent director,
which is evident from the look of the film and the way
he has handled the scenes in it. Over and above, Yash-ji
is ensuring that the film has a proper and big release.
From the way the film has shaped up, I am counting on
it as another ace in my career (smiles).
So tell us more about 'Saathiya".
Saathiya is a fun film about two people
in love who marry and have problems in their marriage.
I play Aditya while Rani plays my wife and lover Suhani.Then
calamity strikes and in an accident Aditya loses his
love. Noone knows about Suhani's whereabouts. It is
a romantic film and at the same time has many complex
angles in the film. It is the re-make of Mani Ratnam's
Alai Payuthe. It has got Mani Ratnam's screenplay. Music
by A.R.Rehman and directed by Shaad Ali. It was a very
challenging role and those who can't imagine me in softer
romantic roles should see Sathiya.
How was it working with Rani Mukherjee?
Oh, she is a great person. Rani is an absolute entertainer.
I call her goondi. She is a badmash. She can be such
a lady at times and then turn into a tomboy the next
minute. It was great to work with her. She is very co-operative
and down to earth.
What kind of film is Dum?
Dum is an action film basically a hardcore commercial
masala movie done with a serious approach and not much
creative license. Dum is not about the power of the
bicep it is about the power of the spirit. It's about
a man who says it is convenient to have principles but
tough to live by them. He goes on believing in the law
and uses the law to get them.
How was it working with Diya
Working with Diya was fun. She is a complete paradox.
She is mature and immature at the same time. I sometimes
wonder how Bunty (Walia) manages her. At the same time
I keep complementing him that he is a lucky guy. Actually
in the beginning she thought that I was khadus (snobbish)
coz I take a while to open up with people while she
was quite bindaas in our first meeting. But then we
What are your criteria before
accepting any offer?
Well first of all the role should be interesting and
appeal to me. I don't even mind playing a negative character
if the character is strong. And that is why I wanted
so much to do Manoj Bajpai's part in 'Road'. For me
the length of the role is not important.I do ask for
the script before signing a film, but once I sign a
film, I do so with complete faith and confidence in
the director. It is very important for me to know the
role first. And actually many didn't like the fact that
I asked for a script before signing. They said 'Kal
ka bachcha mujhe na karta hai. Maine paise diye aur
who script mangta hai.' I don't like the approach.
One last question when are you tying the knot?
Well not so soon definitely. I have a dream and right
now I am working hard towards achieving it. Marriage
will happen but not so soon (smiles). And my girlfriend
also supports me and stands by me at all thick and thins