On never feeling complete
Zero (the number) is a perspective. If you look at it, in a way, it is nothing, and it is also everything. It is complete. That’s also how the film is.
I have never felt complete. As an artiste, I am very incomplete and I know that.
On trying to bring in something new in the commercial cinema setup
I always think, within the commercial cinema setup that I am working in, how I can bring in something new, as an actor, as a producer, in whatever capacity I can. So, there I am not complete at all. I am very restless. If you think you are complete, then you are boring. Then you are over and done with.
What do you do after crossing the finish line? So, I don’t think of things as completing. As an old saying goes – the journey is important. If I cross anything, which I think is a good achievement, then I don’t think of it as an end line, I think of it as a milestone. But I don’t plan for it. I don’t have a plan for it. I don’t think ‘I should earn this much’ or ‘I should have that many awards’ or ‘I have to make that many hit films’. I think it is very organic. Because, if you worked in films as long as I have, specifics become less important. You can’t tell, ‘make such and such film’ or ‘make a film that comes on a holiday’ or ‘makes specific amount of money at the box office’. All the business part of films completely depends on the story that you are telling. Many become experts in these matters, but it doesn’t work for me like that. For me, as time goes and as I do the films that I do, I become less and less of an expert. This could also be the reason I love doing the films I am doing. I am not looking for an end (result) in my films.
After 25 years of working, I have realised that the only reason you should be working is for the happiness of your heart.
On looking back at his early days
When I came in the beginning, most of the journalists thought I was very rude and arrogant. A lot like Bauua actually. When I read those quotes, I am not embarrassed. I understand how and why I said them. I would say ‘I am not junk food, I am tandoori chicken’ or ‘I have come to rule, not to be ruled’ or whatever.
I wasn’t arrogant. I had lack of knowledge of the art of acting. I knew only this much. If you know very little about something, like science, you feel this is it. You don’t understand the vastness of it, how there are string theories, sub atomic particles.
Over the years, I realised that how little acting I knew. When I knew very less, I said a lot of things. But now that I know more, I realise there is so much more to know. It is a very huge subject for an actor if he believes that. There is so much more I can do. There are very few hours and years left.
On trying to be better in the future
As I am growing, I wish I knew so much more earlier, so I could have done even better. There’s lot more I can do better. At least as an actor, I think I can do a lot better.
On what’s next
When you ask, ‘what’s next for me?’, I can find a billion things that I can do as an actor. Of course, I may not have the capability, talent, time or the stardom as years go by, but there is no dearth of wanting to improve upon what I can do within the commercial setup or otherwise. There is a lot to do as an actor and that keeps me going.
I am doing Rakesh Sharma’s biopic. It is a real person. How do I bring dignity to that person? Do I copy him? Do I mimic him? Do I just get his emotions right or do I play him differently with his permission? All those things, as an actor, are very important.