Raaz 3 touches upon the insecurities faced by an actress. As an actor, do you face that insecurity?
Acting is an insecure profession. You never know what will happen and how long your career will last.
Does being part of an insecure profession bother you?
I don’t let it bother me. I know it exists, but I keep it at the back of my mind; otherwise it would just trouble me. But I recognise it as a part of an actor’s life.
What lengths would you go to to secure your position in the industry?
I am not superstitious. I will work hard but never resort to black magic. I have heard from a lot of people about black magic, but there is no proof that black magic works. It exists, but I don’t know if it works.
In which phase of your career did you feel the most insecure?
During my initial years, I was criticised a lot for the kind of films I was doing. To be at the receiving end of criticism can be very difficult. I didn’t know what my next move should be. But, luckily, Jannat came my way. I had never thought of becoming an actor, so there was no preparation from my side when I gave my first shot for Footpath (2002). So I have made mistakes. I started enjoying myself in my fifth year as an actor, when I did films like Awaarapan and Jannat, and started taking my career seriously.
Your recent hits have vaunted you into the A-league but in Raaz 3 your kiss with Esha Gupta is said to be the longest you have ever done. Don’t you fear the “serial kisser” tag will once again be attached to your name?
The audiences have loved me as a serial kisser. I have never worked towards getting a tag. I have won a lot of fans for doing such roles.
Jannat, Murder 1 and 2…many of your landmark films have been with Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt. But now, after 12 films together, you have decided to branch out of the Bhatt camp.
After a certain time, the audiences start expecting more from you with such associations. In my 10 year-long career, I have worked with the Bhatts on many films. But it is also necessary to try out new things. I am not branching out completely. I will work with them.
Is there a binding contract to that effect?
No. It is a mutual agreement. I will do at least one film with them in a year. If a script excites me as an actor, I will opt for it. But we are not bound by a contract.
You say the audiences start expecting more from your association with the Bhatts. Do you feel pressurised?
It is a double-edged sword. A certain section of the audience gets used to seeing a certain kind of cinema when two entities come together, so expectations are there. And one has to strive to present something unique and different, since comparisons with our previous work are also inevitable. There are positives and negatives, but there is no pressure.
For me, the Bhatts are family. There is a certain comfort level; they know my positives and negatives when I am doing the film.
After a decade-long drought, major filmmakers are finally approaching you.
I think the time is just right for my Bollywood career. I have Ghanchakkar, and I will also be working with Karan Johar. His film has come at the right time and he is such a well-known and talented director. I loved watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
You are also part of the Vishal Bharadwaj-produced Ek Thi Dayaan.
Yes. I play a magician in the film. I have learned a few magic tricks also. A magician was always present on the sets to help me get my act right.
Your upcoming project Ghanchakkar (alongside Vidya Balan) is a comedy. Isn’t that a marked detour from the intense roles you are known for?
As an actor, one has to constantly experiment with different roles. Ghanchakkar is not an over-the-top comedy. There are situations in which the reactions of the characters will make the audiences laugh. The film is about a middle-class couple. It has suspense, thrills and dark comedy. I am sure the audiences will like it; it is my kind of comedy.
You are the father of a toddler now. Are you a hands-on dad?
Though I would love to be one, I can’t. I am very busy with my shoots. I am rarely at home, so my wife has to take care of my son.
But for a parent a child’s growing years are very important.
I agree. I will have to plan out my films for that. And I am hoping I start doing so as soon as possible.