Are you thrilled to be playing a double role so early in your career?
Absolutely. It is the coolest thing to be an actor and even cooler to get a chance to play a double role so early in your career. I was offered Aurangzeb even before Ishaqzaade released. At this stage,I am not even aware of my capabilities. It is the best feeling to slap yourself (during Aurangzeb) with nobody in front of you.
What was slapping yourself like?
When you are doing a scene with an actor in the same frame,you lose perspective and invest in the moment. Here I am alone,imagining what I am going to do. I say my dialogue and slap and in the next frame I come back receive the slap and continue with my dialogue. Now if the audience can buy into Ajay and Vishal’s characters and forget Arjun,I will be happy.
Your favourite double role film?
Kaminey just blew me. I also liked Chaalbaaz,Kishen Kanhaiya and Judwaa.
Is Aurangzeb inspired by any film?
To a great extent it is a Martin Scorsese-old school Yashraj-meets-Ram Gopal Varma-kind of film. It is the present day interpretation of the Salim-Javed kind of drama. But then only the skeleton of the film is the same,everything else is different.
Do you still get called an Abhishek Bachchan lookalike?
Not much anymore. I think what had happened was in Yuva,Abhishek wore a ganji and danced with Rani. I had a similar scene in Ishaqzaade. Thats all. But I took it as a compliment,because they were placing me at a certain level by comparing me to Abhishek.
Whats changed in the last one year from Ishaqzaade‘s release?
A lot,but I am still the same. When you are successful,people around you change. This is a fair assessment of your success. Your needs are fulfilled before you can even say what you want. Most people who did not believe in you earlier,are now suddenly your best friends. You lose a bit of privacy,which is fair and I have no personal life anymore. I am happier now,more stable,and there is an equilibrium in my life. Last year this time,I was dealing with more than just my films release. Most importantly,I have found my true calling.
What is the one compliment you got post Ishaqzaade that has stayed with you?
Two,actually. When Amitabh Bachchan sends you a handwritten letter and a bouquet,you know,tumne kaam theek thaak hi kiya hoga. Second,when I was attending a wedding in Jodhpur recently,a driver who was dropping me to the airport said,Main apni biwi se bilkul ussi tarah baat karta hoon jaise aapne apne film main ki. Brought up in Juhu,I had never seen a small town. So this was the best compliment ever. In this country,there are just two ways to become stars either you want people to be like you or aspire to be like you.
Are you a star?
You cannot quantify stardom. I have seen it while hanging out with Salman (Khan) when he was mobbed as he stepped out. Among the younger generation of actors,none of us are stars. We are not exclusive and the adulation we get is generic. Only Ranbir Kapoor is a star because he has created his own audience. I will be a star when people say,Arjun ki picture aa rahi hai. Chalo chal kar dekhte hain.
Do you still want to be a director?
In a big way. But first let me find my bearings as an actor. My experience as an actor will make me a much better director.