When you entered the industry, you were in your early 20s. What have you learnt a decade later?
I have learnt that it is important to invest in people. You have to work with talent you believe in and, as an actor, submit to the director’s vision. I think more from the heart now. Though I have learnt a lot, I still have a lot to learn about how to deal with people, acting and relationships.
Are you more mature now?
I have seen old people behave childishly and young people behave in a mature manner. You can be mature at any age. I think I used to be too serious as a youngster, I’m more chilled out now. I’m more experienced now but I don’t know if I have matured. I am a wannabe reckless guy. I don’t know what stops me, but it would be fabulous if I could let myself go some more. The first two decades of my life were quite tough. Now, I am much more adventurous.
You are attempting comedy for the first time in Phata Poster Nikla Hero. What prompted director Rajkumar Santoshi to cast you?
Rajkumar Santoshi liked my performances in Jab We Met and Vivaah. He said that there was certain honesty in those characters and that is what he wanted in Phata Poster.... He wanted my character to be vulnerable.
Surprisingly, your name has not been romantically linked with the film’s heroine, Ileana D’Cruz.
I haven’t been linked with the last three heroines I have worked with. I hope it wins me some brownie points. I have been single for a couple of years, so I have become used to been linked up. I am flummoxed by how it has become a pattern. It affects me lesser now, but one can never ignore it.
You will next be seen in Vishal Bhardwaj’s film, based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Have you read any of the bard’s works?
I have read Hamlet as it was part of my school curriculum.
Your Rambo Rajkumar director Prabhu Deva is a brilliant dancer and your dancing skills are also well established. What was the jugalbandi like?
Throughout the making of Rambo Rajkumar, I felt I didn’t know how to dance — it was disastrous. Prabhu Deva would show me complicated steps and I would be dumbstruck. He would have a saintly expression on his face and make me do the step till I got it right.
Tell us three adjectives you dislike being associated with:
Lazy, unemotional and aggressive.