Congrats for being on Karan Johar’s first x-rated talk-show episode?
Was that what I’ve done? Well, thank you. I am finally in an x-rated work. Why do you say that?
Well, the episode has been shifted from the usual 9 pm to a safer to 11 pm?
Well, I’ve to admit I’ve never heard of a chat show being postponed to a later slot. I don’t think I’ve said anything that sensational…Oh man, now I am scared. I hope I didn’t go too far. I hope people laugh about what I say and not take it too seriously.
Why have you called Ranbir Kapoor a ‘gossip queen’ on ‘Koffee With Karan’?
Isn’t it self-explanatory? But when people say a lot of bad things about others I am very uncomfortable. And they smile at those very people they are bitch about.
‘Madras Cafe’ got you good reviews? Did it get you good roles?
The offers did come in. But at the moment after ‘Main Tera Hero’, I am only doing ‘Shaukeen’. I did receive many compliments for that role.
From ‘Rockstar’ to ‘Main Tera Hero’…What has your journey been like so far?
I’ve learnt a lot about the ways of Mumbai’s entertainment industry. But not enough yet. The one thing that I’ve sadly realized is when people are working with you they are your best friends. Once a film is over the friendship is also over. This is a painful process for someone who thinks friendships for a lifetime.
How much at-home do you feel now when you are 3 years old in Bollywood?
Shall I be honest? I am still a fish out of water. I don’t understand a lot of things here. I am still trying to find my way around this place, trying to ‘belong’. Like I am told that if you are working in Bollywood you have to use accessories like wigs, false eye lashes and lots of make-up. So I do that although I am totally anti-accessory.
You don’t have to do what everyone does?
You do! If you don’t everyone will accuse you of being difficult. It’s very tough to create a balance between what I am comfortable with and what people expect from me. If I have to survive I’ve to try to be a conformist. But I’ve to admit there are lots of things I still don’t understand. What hurts the most is that people here are so friendly when they are working with you and then they become like strangers. For someone like me who is very picky about friends that’s very painful. But a friend told me. ‘You got schooled, not fooled.’ You feel stupid when you are conned by people. But eventually you come out wiser. I never want to get bitter about experiences, no matter how bad.
Do you miss your family in Mumbai?
I’ve to tell you, my mother visited me in Mumbai in January for the first time since I came here. She had a great time. She was with me for a couple of days in Mumbai. Then I sent her off on her own journey through North India. Regrettably I couldn’t spend more time with her because I had to promote my new film. But I am glad she saw how I lived.
This was your mother’s first visit?
Yes, though people wrote earlier that Mom visited, and I was living in with Shahid (Laughs).
So did you have to hide boyfriends and beer bottles when your mother visited?
Not at all. I talk about everything under the sun with my mom. I am a lot like my mom. We’re very close. I take care of her financially and emotionally. She is my best friend. We talk about drugs, alcohol and sex.
I don’t see you doing drugs. The rest I wouldn’t know?
I am not doing much of anything else either right now except working. So it’s a depressing life for me.
Has your mother seen your films? I hope she didn’t see ‘Phata Poster Nikla Hero’?
She loved ‘Madras Cafe’. And yes, she did see ‘Phata Poster’… and loved my dancing. She found it cool and entertaining. I enjoyed my dancing in the film.
I didn’t think much of your dancing in ‘Phata Poster’…? Are you better at the dancing in ‘Main Tera Hero’?
You know I am not sure I am. When they give you the movements 40 minutes before they are shot and then you’ve to learn the steps and then lip-sync you have to be a seasoned dancer to get a hang of it, which I am not. It’s very difficult for my mind and body to be in sync because I have learnt western dancing. Bollywood dancing is very different.
Was ‘Main Tera Hero’ a pleasant experience?
It was great fun. Most of the time I had a good time. It was like working with my family. Ileana and Varun were very helpful. I pray I get to work with such people every day. Ileana d’Cruz and I are so similar, she thinks the way I do. We both have a good head on our shoulders, although I am a lot crazier than her.
Varun is your generation?
We hit it off immediately. Varun went to college abroad. We had a lot in common. I will not be politically incorrect. I’ll say he’s my most favourite co-star. He’s a very smart young man. And very caring. I saw how kindly and generously he treats his staff. For me that’s a sure sign of a good human being. I hope and pray he remains the same even when I am long gone.
What do you mean by long gone?
We all have to go, right? Oh, I am just being a drama queen. If there was a television camera following me around I’d make a very entertaining reality show. But seriously, I don’t hold on to things and people. I’ve seen so many people’s dreams and expectations fall apart. Expectations mean disappointment. You’ve to try my formula for loving. It’s cool.
How is your Hindi now?
It’s still in the learning stage. But I dubbed all my own lines in ‘Main Tera Hero’. It was really tough. I needed help in the dubbing theatre to get it right. Everyone helped. But it was difficult. I have a lot of more Hindi to learn. The major obstacle is that people around me all speak English. So how do I become fluent in Hindi? I don’t think I can be fluent in Hindi. My environment doesn’t allow me.
What other films are you on to?
Only ‘Shaukeen’. Other projects are happening. But unless they do I don’t want to talk about it. There are a lot of negative vibes around. We are starting ‘Shaukeen’ in April. No I haven’t seen the original ‘Shaukeen’. The entire script has been redone. But I am aware of Rati Agnihotri who played my part in the original. Apparently she was wonderful.
You are paired with Akshay Kumar?
Yes, for the first time. It’s a nice bouquet of costars from Ranbir to Shahid to John, don’t you think?