Times are such that a lot of actors are finding it hard to concentrate on work, but the show is going on...
The time is same for everyone, isn’t it? Everyone is affected at different strata of society and in different ways... be it the middle class, the poor or the rich. But the show has to, and must, go on for everybody in life. People are working from home, bankers have been going to work throughout the pandemic, and cops, doctors and nurses have been superheroes without capes. Everyone is adjusting, everyone has to work... Nobody wants to die financially because nothing stops. Your expenses don’t stop.
The past year has changed a lot for everyone personally and professionally. What has been the most defining change for you?
It’s to do with having more gratitude. Don’t take life for granted. All of last year, we’ve watched colleagues, a lot of whom have not seen the camera at all. Anyway, we are in a very unpredictable business, and when you look at all the impossibilities of the profession I am in, I think I have to be very grateful for such a long journey. I remember the time when I began my journey in the business, the areas (in the acting and modelling fields) were very well-defined. Models would model, TV actors would work on TV, and other personalities and movie stars were a separate business altogether... That time we (models) were told, Tum wooden ho... So, I am really thankful that God gave me 117 films, which is a hell of a lot, and so there’s too much to be grateful for. All of last year, just the fact that you are living, breathing every morning, and exercising your body, you have further acknowledgment for it all.
In a recent Instagram post, you shared a glimpse of your chiselled physique, and captioned it, ‘Under construction’. Tell us about your interest in fitness?
Anyone who knows me even vaguely knows that I love exercising and fitness. ‘Under construction’ is literally so because the last year has been a troubled year in terms of the well-being for my body. I hurt my right shoulder first, and couldn’t shoot for three weeks, and then I fell from a horse, which left two of my ribs broken.
Your body is the only gift you have. When a child breathes for the first time after birth, the feeling of relief that the sign of life gives you, is unmatched. And then people keep abusing that body as they grow, till they fall unwell. When you fall unwell, you say, Arre bacha le.... Then it gets okay, and then you forget it again after sometime. Upkeep is extremely important.
The work front has been pretty active for you with films and web series, the most recent being Raat Baaki Hai. Would you agree that the world of streaming has brought along a variety in terms of roles and stories?
See, I’m a product of commercial cinema. When I debuted in December 2000 in Champion with a negative role, I got a lot of acknowledgment for it. That time there used to be a system of typecast. Movie-making has changed over the years with the coming in of new-age directors with newer thoughts. But the main thing that happened was that the audiences changed. Audiences became very sharp because they got exposed to world cinema, dubbed films from different parts of the country and a whole lot of content which was not (accessible) earlier. For the longest time, the scope of experimentation was limited...just within the negative space. But then last year brought me a comedy Who’s Your Daddy. I played a Sikh in Operation Parindey, an antagonist in Torbaaz, a doctor in a medical thriller LSD: Love, Scandal and Doctors, and more recently, I played a cop. You will see me in the role of a warrior later in the year. So, yes, it gave me a whole variety of roles.
Would you then say it is the most creatively satisfying phase for you?
I have much more to do. I am still not happy at all because in creativity, you keep creating... there’s no limit to creativity. When I look back, I feel I have not done a role of someone with a UP or a Bihari accent. I want to work with a director like Anurag Kashyap... . It’s in my heart to be able to work with people who make the other kind of cinema which I have not done much of.
Best thing to happen to you in the past month?
In the circumstances, it’s the fact that I’m with my family right now. I’m seeing my son and mother after a long time
Describe yourself in three words
Sincere. Thinker. Lazy
Two things you would like to change about yourself?
My laziness, 100 per cent, and reduce my coffee intake
One fashion trend you don’t get?
I don’t like synthetic fabrics at all
A relationship thumb rule that you follow?
Spending time together is the key to hold everything together
Dark versus light-hearted content?
All kinds of content... but what I really love is a thriller
What’s your philosophy on age?
There’s no age... What is age? There is nothing called age!
What scares you?
Disease... I’d rather go in one shot
Where would you want to travel to in a no Covid-19 world?
Canada... My (spiritual) master is there
What has spirituality lent to your life?
It’s all inclusive
Artist reputation management: Shimmer Entertainment