Does the presence of a major star like Akshay Kumar in Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobaara make you resentful or insecure?
That’s an old-fashioned way of thinking. Today, actors ask themselves, ‘Am I making a good film?’ There’s a common perception that Akshay Kumar edits his co-star’s role, but that’s not true. He is such a big star that he has no insecurity. If you spend five minutes talking to him, you will become his fan, he is so charming.
You are playing a character from the 1980s in the film. How did you get into the skin of the character?
Aslam is a Dongri boy who is a movie buff, so I figured that he would be inspired by his favourite heroes. I watched lot of Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff films because they were huge style icons in the’80s. I sought inspiration from Jackie Shroff as he wore ankle-high boots, leather jackets and pointed-toed shoes. You will see me with a handkerchief on my neck like Anil Kapoor in Mashaal. Also I wanted my performance to be inspired by the way these heroes would act -- there was a certain thairaav in their work whereas today’s style is more casual.
After Himmatwala’s Tathaiya Tathaiya song flopped, were you apprehensive about the remake of Taiyab Ali?
I have not heard the Tathaiya song but Taiyab ali has been getting a good response. I was thrilled as well as nervous as it’s an iconic song. But Rishiji told me I did a good job.
Ranbir Kapoor and you started your career at the same time but he has already bagged several awards.
I have got more than I ever hoped for. I never even wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be a director. Some of the biggest actors get awards while others don’t. Sadly, it’s not about your performance.
You have had hits; but have you got a role which you could sink your teeth into?
Yes, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola and Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara are such kind of roles. I have suddenly started getting offers from big banners. Earlier, most of my movies were helmed by first-time directors. Matru… was a turning point.
What went wrong with Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola?
Pardon me, I will be selfish, but mera kaam ho gaya. I got to do something which I never thought I would be able to do and got recognition for that.
You have signed a film with Vikaramaditya Motwane.
We are developing something cool but it’s not about a Gujarati superhero as reported. I saw the offline version of Vikram’s Lootera on the edit machine and it was spectacular. Sonakshi has done a wonderful job in the movie. You expect such kind of acting prowess from an artiste who has been acting for 15 years, not someone so young.
Are you praising her because she is your heroine in OUATIMD?
Sonakshi is undoubtedly the finest actress from the new generation. She can switch from light-hearted scenes to emotional ones easily.