”Queen” and now ”Dolly Ki Doli” how do you manage to shine out despite being in a female driven film?
Times are changing I think, men now have to make a place for themselves in some women oriented films, which is a good thing. But when I hear a script, I look at it in its entirety and the possibility it has for me as an actor. For instance, when Queen released, everyone loved it, especially women, I obviously didn’t want to miss an opportunity to be a part of such a film. The same goes with Dolly Ki Doli. It was a fun script, and a very different subject and I saw many possibilities in it for me as an actor.
But I believe it takes a very secure actor, to do films like these.
Someone told me the same thing. She said you are a very secure actor. I don’t think too much about how much is my role, or Queen‘ is Kangana’s film or ‘Dolly Ki Doli looks like Sonam’s film. I do not really connect too many dots. I try and live in the moment, I do one film at a time and I make sure I am enjoying every moment of those three months you put in a film, because that time is very valuable time.
How did you get the Haryanvi accent for ”Dolly Ki Doli”? Any other traits which you had to work on?
When I heard the script for the first time, my character was supposed to be someone from Uttar Pradesh. Films like Ishaqzaade or Raanjhanaa came where the guy was from UP. I requested them if we could make my character Haryanvi because it would give some edge to it. I wanted him to be someone who thinks from his heart and is very loud so I’m grateful, these guys agreed to it. But yes, I had to work upon the accent, though I belong to Gurgaon. I have a lot of friends who speak very good Haryanvi, so I called them up. I asked them to send me lots of audio clips and messages, so I get a hang of it.
While people got surprised seeing you dance in the film, it does seem to come pretty naturally to you
Yes, I love dancing. I started my career with dancing on stage, then came martial arts, and acting, but people know me because of the films I have done which are very performance driven. While it comes naturally to me, I was dancing after a long gap, so I had to rehearse a lot and put efforts to make it took effortless. I think, thanks to Remo (D’souza) Sir who was so patient, and thanks to Malaika ma’am who was also very patient but they had the same reaction! Malaika and Arbaaz Sir were like, ”You Can Dance”!
As compared to your previous films like ”Shahid” was ”Dolly Ki Doli” less taxing emotionally and did it require you to be more spontaneous?
My earlier characters were mentally very taxing for me and emotionally very draining. This is not that kind of draining, but it’s not like I took it lightly. I researched a lot about that character to get traits, in order to make it believable. But I am very spontaneous in all my films. I do all my research but when I am in front of the camera, I do not plan too much. I want to keep it organic. I followed the same method in this film as well. I cannot plan too much. I react to my co-actors.
Does winning a national award add pressure to continue doing work of similar stature
There is no pressure, but I am really grateful to God that I got a national award. I don’t take it as a pressure because otherwise, I won’t be able to work well. I will keep thinking that I have to again prove myself. During Shahid also, we weren’t thinking that we are making this film and we should win awards. So, things just happen.
How do you strike the balance between various genres of films while choosing them
Actually I have never really planned it that way. It has happened coincidentally. I have now got a mix of scripts. For instance, Hamari Adhuri Kahani will be my next after Dolly Ki Doli and that’s quite a heavy film for me as an actor again. It’s quite an emotionally draining film. Then there’s film with Hansal Sir again alongside Manoj Bajpayee-that’s more on the lines of Shahid or City Lights, in terms of its treatment. It just depends on the scripts I like and if things work out I do them.
A national award and appreciation for your acting, what about stardom?
I wish I knew. I am not here really to come into any category nor am I desperate to get into a zone. If I am getting the kind of work I want to do and if my honesty towards my work is there that’s what I care about. It doesn’t matter if I am a listed actor if I don’t enjoy my work. As long as I am enjoying my work, I am happy with my character. I feel stardom is accidental. People become stars with just one film, and that never happened to them in ten films before that. It’s very accidental, and you cannot control it. It’s better not to think about something you cannot control.
What do you prefer, critical acclaim and box-office collections?
Both are equally important. I believe that the reason people will go to watch your film is because they liked your work. There are films which have made money but when I speak to people, they say it was such a bad film, we are curious to watch a film so we watch it, and sometimes, whether or not it’s a good film, once the audience buys a ticket, some people think their motive is over. I don’t want that. I don’t want people to spend money on my film and feel it was a bad film. They should like my work. Like, City Lights didn’t really make 100 crore or something, but people have liked it. Same goes for Shahid. They are respectable films in their own way.