After doing almost 70 films in the South over the past decade, why did you choose Aiyya for your Bollywood debut?
I think Aiyya constitutes good cinema. In the film, Rani’s character lusts after my character. It is a new story and I would have done this film even if it were offered to me in Malayalam. I am looking to make a mark in Bollywood. For any actor who aims to be part of good cinema, Bollywood is the place to be. There are many new avenues opening up in terms of content and there Bollywood is experimenting with different themes. I just hope my journey here is as pleasant as down South.
To a large extent, the film’s promos seem to capitalise on your sex appeal.
I won’t do a film in which I just have to look good. There is a lot more to me in the film. Aiyya is not the first Hindi script I have heard. I wanted to do a film that truly deserves to be made; and Aiyya is that film. The character that I play is secondary but I would rather do such a role, than a good character in a bad film.
You have worked hard to build your physique for Aiyya. Do you plan to maintain it?
It is not the first time I have gotten into shape for a film. But I can’t keep this for all my other films. As an actor, I am constantly required to experiment with my looks. My looks in my next Hindi film, Yash Raj’s Aurangzeb, and another Malayalam film, are very different. An actor’s physical appearance is important because that’s the first connect the audience makes with a film.
Recently, Rani has not had a big commercial hit. Do you think Aiyya will bring her to the forefront?
I have watched Rani’s films and she has given some big hits in the past. Her last release, No One Killed Jessica, was a hit, too.
The film talks about Rani’s character’s idea of the perfect man. What is your idea of a perfect woman?
I am married to the woman of my dreams. I do not take physical attributes into account. I am married to my best friend, and I’ve always believed the woman I love should first be my friend. That is the basis of a good relationship, whether it is between spouses or father and son. My wife is someone whom I can relate to at a very basic level.
Since you are married to a media person, has your outlook changed towards journalists?
Yes it has. I’ve seen how, at times, she wants to interview someone but since the person is busy with other professional commitments, she has to
wait a lot. From that, I understand that you have to respect everyone’s time. And I think journalists are very important for society. I respect them.
You have already started working on Aurangzeb.
Yes, I have shot some portions for it. I am also in talks with filmmakers for my third Bollywood film.
Many big actors from the South do only a few films in Bollywood. Will you follow their footsteps?
I am not going to follow anyone’s footsteps. I have already done so much work that I can now take the liberty of doing selected few films. Being part of good cinema is my aim. I am not being immodest, but I don’t have to work for the basic necessities in life now.