Your career has moved upwards by leaps and bounds...
I am trying to do my best in my journey. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for more (pauses abruptly).
But did you really think, say a few months back, that you will get so much success in such quick time?
Of course, I wouldn't lie that I didn't want to do big films which do well. Interestingly, 2017 gave me acclaim and critics both.
Bareilly Ki Barfi and Fanney Khan- are the two films a conscious effort to do mainstream cinema?
It's not a very conscious effort, but yes, I wanted to explore beyond what I was doing, if you know what I mean. Add this to my other upcoming movies Ek Ladki Ko Dekha, Stree and Mental Hai Kya, and I feel really good to have an array of films.
So, what's the criterion for selection of films?
The film in question has to have something new for me to explore.
I read all my scripts and take my own decisions. Frankly, I don't connect all dots and think hard till eternity. The story/subject has to excite me at one go.
Money is secondary.
Over to Omerta. You have been saying that it is your toughest role till date....
The film has only the antagonist, no protagonist. But I could connect with it despite the fact that I had no idea about the world of Omar Saeed. I had no idea about the destruction. I deep-dived into the subject and watched some very disturbing videos to cultivate that hatred and anger.
Moreover, the character I play is so unlike me... And I had to put on weight to look stronger. And how can I forget the beard, which I had to sport for 3 months? Over and above, I attended a school in London so that I put on the required accent and sound not like a Delhi boy.
You have a special equation with Hansal Mehta...
I trust him a lot. Likewise, he trusts me. I love the way he has handled Omerta.
You need a fearless director who won't use gimmicks or controversies to promote a film like Omerta. There's nothing filmi about Omerta. It has happened, it has been presented as it was. Hansal Mehta throws big challenges at me, I am only a good fielder who catches them.
Has it happened that you want to shoot a particular scene with him in your way and he has differed?
Very rarely, maybe just once or twice. At the end of the day, we have gone with that by a mutual decision. There have never been discussions which became ego-battles.
Does box-office matter to you? Some of your films like Trapped and Behen Hogi Teri in 2017 didn't do too well at the ticket windows...
It does matter. I won't lie and say that I didn't feel bad. You give time to films, work so hard while shooting and then there's a stretch of promotions which I am not a fan of. But think of it, box-office returns are so unpredictable. Good films don't run, many times.
Yes. Good films also run very well, and that is heart-warming. Like Newton for one, we made it in Rs 4 crore and it fetched Rs 25 crore.
Have you learnt to say 'No' if you don't like the subject or have some other reason?
It is very tough to say 'No'. I am very worried that people will not take it well. I wish I had no sleep and I could go on for 24 hours in a day.
Some people are understanding and they take it well, some may mind it- but there's little I can do. But to answer your question, well I still haven't learnt to say a firm 'No'.
Have you done films where your head and heart said 'No, don't do it'?
I have once or twice. Don't ask me the names of those films. There were some senior people who wanted me to do those films and I too didn't like myself in them. But good that it happened, I learnt my lesson.
Newton could not make a headway at the Oscars, Did you feel dejected?
I wasn't very sad about it. I am still proud of Newton. I had a fractured ankle and I could not go. Huge marketing, lobbying is required and it's not easy.
Do you think the controversy that Newton was allegedly not an original film came in the way of it getting the National Award?
Thanks to Anurag Kashyap that he showed the complainants the film (Iranian movie Secret Ballot) they were allegedly comparing it with, and the controversy died down.
Image Source:- instagram/@rajkummar_rao, firstpost