Being a struggling actor yourself, you make an unlikely candidate to turn producer. How did you turn confident enough to launch others?
I believe in fighting one's own battles, but I also know that wars are won if you have an army behind you. I am trying to encourage as many newcomers as possible. People who have seen that side of me know that I reek of security. At the risk of sounding narcissist, I can say that it requires a lot of strength of character to do this.
Are you still struggling to be taken seriously at some level?
Yes, I am. Critics declare I am finished every time I hit a low, and write my obituary. Meanwhile, the media holds on to old stories be it my problem with Salman Khan or an inane actress commenting I am expressionless. People still tell me that I am a model and can’t act, but they forget that I was a model 10 years ago. I am an actor now. They also want to dig out stories about my ex-flame. It was over three-years ago, please let’s move on. Why should I be questioned all the time? I prefer taking the road lesser travelled. I look at life as half full.
Are you trying to promote newcomers because you didn’t have a godfather?
Today, even successful actors are struggling to hold on to the space they have created for themselves. I can’t live my life being insecure. I may be insecure about my personal imperfections, but if there is someone better at a job than I am, I will cast him in my production. I wanted to take Ayushmann Khurrana to London to promote Vicky Donor, but nobody wanted to see him. So I went on my own. I had full faith in him and I would do anything to promote his career. I’m proud of where I stand and am happy to be myself, in a subtle way put my head down and stand at
You still get lot of criticism.
I handle it better now, may be because it comes by rarely now. I am like a kid on a football field, buckled under the onslaught of 10 players kicking him. But he gets up, dusts himself and starts playing again because all he wants to do is play. Force was a fire starter for me. I think like a sportsperson and take everything in my stride as long as my goal is clear in my head. I have passed the stage where I need to prove myself. I am content with the films I am doing.
People continued to say what they wanted to, while I quietly went and collected my National Award for Best Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. Critics are waiting to rip me apart if my next film Madras Café doesn’t do well. But that’s okay, I am confident that Madras Café is the best film ever made.
Best film ever made?
Yes, it is my gut instinct.
What are your plans in the sports field?
Bhaichung (Bhutia) and I had plans to open a football academy in Sikkim, but they are on a standstill due to the earthquake. We are planning to revive it soon. I am also associating myself with a motorcycling team, now that an international circuit is opening in India. I hope to make a movie on motorcycling next year.