How did it feel to romance Vidya Balan in Bobby Jasoos, who is older to you?
I didn’t have problems since the age factor never featured in the entire process of filmmaking because the story does not even take you there. Everybody had apprehensions, including me, but the songs and treatment is so different it didn’t matter.
Tell us about your upcoming film, Khamoshiyan.
It is a Mahesh Bhatt film and I’m playing the lead with Sapna Pabbi. She was in 24. It is a romantic saga with a lot of other elements; it’s a psychological thriller, with a bit of paranormal. We are done with the first schedule and will be moving to Kashmir next.
Does your theatre experience come handy in doing films?
No. People think that theatre helps, but in my case, it slowed me down. I had to unlearn everything when I went on to a film set.
How are you enjoying the erotic phase of a Bhatt film?
Well, it’s just begun. It’s professional in its own way. I have looked up to Emraan Hashmi from day one. He’s the most evolved actor despite having been part of raunchy movies.
How was it getting selected for Fast & Furious 7?
We have all grown up watching it and it’s a great franchise. I got a call from them when I was in Mussoorie planning a trek with my friends. And within a week of this I was in Atlanta. It was the most funny thing because the character is suave and there I was in my jeans and tee and no gel to even set my hair. It was great working with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel. There was Kurt Russel who is the surprise in the film. It was a lovely experience.
Do you feel threatened by contemporaries like Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan?
I love Varun, he’s a lovely dancer. Sidharth too. It’s good to have competition. I have always remained away from the limelight. The better the actor I am acting with, the better my performance gets.
Have you made any new friends in the industry?
Vidya and not because of Bobby Jasoos. I think she’s a genuine person. It started with the workshops and today she has become such a good friend that I can talk to her not just about work but about life too. We’d chat for hours. We both love people.
Who according to you is the hottest actress in Bollywood?
Deepika (Padukone) is beautiful. Katrina (Kaif) too. But Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi are my all time favourites. I’ve never been star struck but Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri were the two biggest stars for me. I grew up on Khalnayak.
Has your Bollywood journey been smooth?
It has been interestingly smooth and slow. Always Kabhi Kabhi took two years but it’s been nice because people have been accepting. Bobby Jasoos was my stepping stone to a solo lead role and now there’s Khamoshiyan and a Rohan Sippy film with Rhea Chakraborty that comes out in October. I’ve had great mentors like Aamir (Khan) from whom I learnt the thirst for knowledge. SRK is one of the most honest men I have met.
Any special someone in your life?
Yes. I think the safest answer would be to say my grandmother. On a serious note, that part of my life takes me away from films and I love it. I’ll refrain from mentioning who but I love being in love.
How cool are you with getting intimate on screen?
It’s a lot about shedding your inhibitions. I would go to a certain extent keeping the sanctity alive because after a point it gets vulgar and I wouldn’t want that. You’ve got to keep the aesthetic alive.