Q. 1 Are you scared of ghosts?
I have never had a personal experience but as a kid, I was scared of ghosts. I think that’s the case with most children. When your parents tell you spooky stories, there is something about it that shakes you. The fact that it leaves a spine-chilling feel is some kind of an assurance that yes, they are out there.
Q. 2 So, do you personally believe in the existence of ghosts and spirits?
Oh yes! I definitely believe that ghosts and other spirits exist. I won’t be surprised if I see one someday. They are around us but we don’t see them. They may not be as scary as some of the weird ones that we have seen in old films (laughs) but I am sure they exist.
Q. 3 Did you ever need a spooky story to be told, to put you down to sleep as a kid?
Not really! (laughs) But I have got fond memories of the time when my mama (uncle) would narrate some really freaky stories. I remember how some of our family members would visit our Nana’s (grandfather) house, which had a partition that divided the TV room and the living room. So when some other member of the family would narrate the story, my mama used to sneak out without touching the walls and walk into the other room. Then, he would turn his eyelids upside down, stick out his tongue and while he was haunched over the partition, mama used to make loud noises. All this, while the lights in the room were dim. It used to scare the daylights out of me.
Q. 4 Any spooky incident that you have encountered?
As I said, I haven’t encountered anything so far, but my mother had a supernatural experience. It was years ago when my parents were away on a holiday. The night before driving out to another place, they had discussions with their friends about ghosts and spirits. The next night, they left for another destination and while dad was fast asleep in the car, mom saw a lady dressed in white sari standing in the middle of the road. When mom screamed, dad woke up to check if everything was alright. Within minutes, she noticed there was no one around. Till date, we still don’t know if it was just fear psychosis or an actual thing.
Q. 5 You are playing an exorcist in your next, 1920 London. Any special connection with ghosts or are you a real fan of this genre?
(laughs) I think it is just a co-incidence. Playing an exorcist is a first for me, since I played a writer in Gang Of Ghosts and didn’t really act as a ghost as such. 1920 London is a supernatural romantic – drama so it can’t really fall under the proper horror category as such. I love experimenting with all kinds of genre, so yes, horror is good fun too.
Q. 6 Any ghostly character that you would like to play?
I would love to play the invisible man. There have been quite a few attempts at recreating that kind of a character in Bollywood films, if I am not wrong. But I think it is a very fascinating character.
Q. 7 As for the authenticity of characters in Bollywood horror films, do you feel they are convincing enough or do they require more detailing?
I don’t really know about the technicalities but I think the crew members may not be taking keen interest in exploring the genre in an authentic way. The commercial aspect might be another reason.
Q. 8 Which is your all-time favourite horror film?
Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters! It was very well-made. I can watch that film at any given time. I also enjoyed watching Casper. The Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze-starrer Ghost was also excellent.
Q. 9 An actor that you think plays the perfect ghost on screen?
I don’t really have favourites but I think most actors have tried to do justice to their roles. Like I said, Patrick Swayze was excellent.
Q. 10 Do you think the fusion of other genres with horror is offering a better variety to the audience? Especially those who stay away from pure horror films?
It really depends on the kind of films that are offered in such genres. If the content is good, then it will appeal to the audience. Honestly, the satellite market for pure horror films is not very good. So, if you mix another genre like comedy or drama, the film gains some weight, which helps the makers make some profit on the satellite front. Personally, I think this fusion of genres is here to stay, since people are ready to accept experimental plots these days.