After a year-and-a-half, you are all set to return to the big screen with ‘Mumbai Saga’. How does it feel to return to the theatres?
‘Good Newwz’ was my last film in theatres in 2019; post that there were no releases last year. I’m just hoping and praying that people do come to the theatres to watch my film. I know these are very tricky times, and we have to be careful about various things. But I also think it’s also a time to start taking risks. It’s very important to do that as many people’s lives depend on theatres. When the audience buys tickets and popcorn, it helps theatres run their houses. It is a catch-22 situation, but we also need to see the positive side to it. We all must stay safe, enjoy movies, and help the economy.
Share your experience of working with John Abraham?
‘Mumbai Saga’ is a boys’ film… a gangster film with two stalwart actors–John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi. I was fortunate to have a small but powerful role, which brings a turning point in the film. Moreover, it’s always great to be a part of Sanjay Gupta’s films. When he narrated the film to me, I thought there was nothing for me to do in it as it’s a boys’ film, in which they are shouting, blasting; but the way the film’s story has been etched out, it’s impeccable. I’m happy to be a part of it. Despite being a film with an ensemble cast, I have a substantial role.
Are you fond of action and crime thrillers?
I have watched ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’, ‘Shootout at Wadala’. I have been a fan of Sanjay’s work and have seen ‘Kaante’ and ‘Aatish’ too. For me, to work with him is an honour. Yes, there is a lot of action, as it’s a gangster fil,m but the storyline is quite intriguing. You must have heard the names that are a part of the story if you are from Mumbai or Maharashtra. The relationship between cops, politicians, and gangsters is intertwined as the era was different. It will be a visual delight.
How has your Bollywood journey been so far? Are you happy with the offers that have come your way?
As an artist, if you are content, it’s the end of your career. Any actor at any point in life can’t be content. I have played a different roles and there are times when I don’t have many options to play varied characters in films. And I think it’s a great time to be an actor as we aren’t medium driven; we are no longer just TV actors, film actors, or web actors. OTT has opened doors for all.
What do you have to say about content censorship on OTT?
I feel it’s like a school, where there is a teacher who monitors. We need a body to monitor, but it doesn’t take a big daddy to do that. It should also be the discretion of viewers like abroad, where there is an age limit. In the end, it’s the audience’s prerogative as to what they want to watch. It also varies from person to person; they decide what their child is consuming and what they want to consume. It’s a very personal line. But tt’s important to have a body that governs censorship.
What are your dos and don’ts as an actor?
I am not comfortable with a kissing scene or a bed scene; I think it’s actually a script-based decision. I’m not very comfortable being too intimate on-screen. It has nothing to do with our culture, which is rapidly changing; it’s a personal belief. You can do away with it. There comes a time when you say, never say never because I never wanted to kiss at one point, but in one of the films, I have kissed. So, there is a thin line; in the end, it all depends on the script and the character.
You have worked with John Abraham and Akshay Kumar. What qualities do you admire the most about them?
John is soft-spoken and cultured; he is highly educated. Education brings a certain kind of discipline and class. What I admire about him is his humility. He is a very humble and easy-going guy, a hard-working actor, who gets into the skin of the characters he is portraying. I admire Akshay for the way he puts the actors around him at ease. He makes the ambience very light with his Punjabi humour. Before going on the sets of ‘Good Newzz’, I was a little apprehensive, not that I haven’t worked with Bebo (Kareena Kapoor Khan) and Akshay before, but I was just nervous about a lot of things. Both Bebo and Akshay are such warm and humble people to work with!
An actor you aspire to share screen space with?
I want to work with Shah Rukh Khan. I don’t even need to give a reason for it. The only reason is that I haven’t worked with him so far.