What was it like to drive a Ferrari for the first time?
Brilliant! The first Ferrari I drove belongs to Sanjay Dutt. He called Mr Chopra and me over to check out the Ferrari and that’s when I drove it for the very first time. It was an exhilarating experience, just out of the world. It doesn’t drive really, it has wings. It is my dream car.
Do you nurture big dreams professionally too?
I dream really big; and, for me, Ferrari Ki Sawaari is a dream come true. I have worked my way through so many films and I hoped to bag a film as prestigious as this, with names like Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Raju Hirani and Rajesh Mapuskar associated with it. It is a big film.
It’s been 10 years since your debut in Style. Did you ever despair over being cast as a solo hero in a major production like Ferrari?
I always knew that there would be a big film coming my way. I have already been part of three big films — Rang De Basanti, 3 Idiots and Ferrari Ki Sawaari. I have had various offers for solo and ensemble films too. But I have to be very excited to work on a film. Quality requires time; and I am willing to wait.
Did the success of 3 Idiots help you bag this film?
No. It is due to the love and passion of Vinod Chopra and Raju Hirani that I am part of such a film. Without considering my box office standing, which is not much, they opted for me because I suited the role, and that takes a lot of guts. That comes from the immense passion they have for their work. They are very special people.
The film centres around a father-son relationship. Did being a father in real life help you portray one on screen?
I draw a sharp demarcation between my personal and professional lives. I don’t use my personal life to emote on screen. There were other things that helped me prepare for this character.
Physical or emotional?
Both. I am thankful to God that Rajesh Mapuskar was my director because he really pushed me to the limit. As I worked on minute details, I felt I had gone back to my theatre days. Rajesh’s first concern was whether I would be able to pull off the role of a father, since according to him I look way too young for my age. Finally, we decided on things like thickening the eyebrows, popping out the ears, sharpening the nose and putting on 10 kilos. While these physical aspects were a bit easier with make-up man Mr Gaekwad, getting the emotional traits of my character right was a challenge.
How did you relate to Rithwik, the child actor in the film?
I was not condescending in any manner. I treated him as an equal and gave him his space.
As a father in real life, what is your equation with your kids?
I get immense joy in the smallest moments I spend with my three kids. Just having pillows fights with them is something I love. Getting a dinky car or a doll is such a big deal for my sons and daughter respectively; and it’s wonderful to see that joy on their faces. You might want to give them the most expensive gifts, but they find joy in simple things. It de-stresses me when I am with them.