Is Lootera your best cinematic experience until now?
Yes, it was definitely the most well planned and meticulously shot film that I worked on. We had a lot of logistical problems because of nature actually, we got snowed out a couple of times, I got injured once. But besides that, definitely a very smooth sailing shoot owing to the strength of the team. Playing the role of Varun helped me grow immensely as an actor.
How much have you sacrificed for your career?
You get less time for family and friends but then the reality is that you are at a stage where you are consolidating, you need to establish yourself and therefore need to give 110 percent. Par har cheez ka time hota hai, right now I should be devoting all my energies to my career and thankfully I have a very understanding family and friends.
How was Sonakshi as a co-star?
She is very easy going in her approach towards her work. It’s very different from mine. I got to learn a lot from her. She leaves a lot of room for spontaneity, she just flows, doesn’t rehearse, doesn’t plan. She just let things happen in the moment.
Do you feel the age of Khans is over?
I like to believe that its important for young actors to make a mark. Everyone is trying their best. But the kind of illustrious career that spanned over 20 years and the love from public which these Khans have achieved is not by fluke. They have been a part of the most significant stories ever told in Bollywood, you cant compare young actors to the Khans. They have too much of a place in people’s heart which we don’t enjoy yet and we have to work for 20 more years to even get somewhere close to that. They are the reason I became an actor, I have grown up watching them. They are my idols.
When you sign a film, what is imporatnt- script, role or banner?
It’s a three step process actually. I invest in the director because am a kind of actor who submits myself completely to the character, so I need to have faith in who I work with. I pick directors essentially. Then I pick scripts, according to how it makes me feel when I read it the first time. And then the third criteria is the character- is it challenging, will it keep me on my toes, does it incite me to go that extra mile? I ask these questions to myself before saying a yes or no to a film as I am very finicky that way.
Do you feel Ranbir Kapoor is your biggest threat?
Not really. I don’t think he has a threat from anyone right now because he has achieved a lot in five years and no one has done that before. He is in a league of his own. I have a lot of admiration for Ranbir because he has established himself as a commercially viable star and is making great choices like Rockstar and Barfi. I have tremendous appreciation for the work he is doing.
With films like Rockstar, Barfi, Looetera being made, do you feel the barrier between commercial and art cinema is breaking?
Yes. Am happy to see the tide of change. New and fresh stories are being told and they are finding a way to the mainstream and getting accepted. This bridging of art and commercial cinema is great way to open up Bollywood to the international market.
When are you going in for a shave?
That will be in the end of September after Ram Leela and Gunday are over. When I start working on my next project which is Kill Dill, that’s when I would shave.