In a free-wheeling interview with CS, he talks about B-Town, stereotyping and how cinema needs to be more sensitive.
So far, so good
My journey in Bollywood has been exciting so far. That has happened mainly because the directors whom I worked with had fresh ideas. Many directors would not have thought of casting me as Sridevi’s husband in a film that was touted as her comeback. I have been lucky to work with people who have perceived me in different roles. In the future too, I want to take my projects with interesting scripts and roles that excite me as an actor.
Looking for challenges
As an actor, I don’t enjoy being typecast. It is one thing I am working hard to avoid. It is very difficult for someone who is new in Bollywood to do that. You have to earn money as well (laughs). It is a dilemma in the initial stage as once people like you in a particular role; they think you will do well in a similar one. In Bollywood, people for the most part, only trust established names. My aim is to be little daring and different in every film of mine.
I remember watching Life Of Pi with the rest of the cast at the Dubai International Film Festival. Michael Apted, the British director was seated beside me, and he too watched the entire film. Later, we met outside while having a drink. He asked me, “Why are you in Dubai?” I replied, “My film was shown just now -- Life Of Pi.” Then, he asked me if I was a part of the production team. When I told him I was in the film, he asked, “Where?” Finally, when I mentioned my role, he was like, “Oh my God! That was you.” I have seen people looking at me closely, trying to understand if I am the same guy they saw on screen. I guess my moustache puzzles them (laughs out loud).
Time for a change
I feel that cinema is a very powerful tool to inculcate awareness in society. Of course, films are meant to be entertaining as well. It is very heartening to see someone like Kiran Rao take on a film like Ship of Theseus. I loved Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar as it entertained and made the audience think too.
I feel that Bollywood needs to be cautious in the manner in which it projects women. It should help the Indian male look at women in a better manner. Films are almost like a religion in the country, especially in the semi-urban areas. Young men speak to women in the manner in which they see the male heroes talking to the heroines in films. Moreover, considering the shortage of role models in the country, film stars can play a better role.