Badmaash Company is giving you a real badmaash actor's reputation, interfering, bullying, non-co-operating?
Nahin yaar. Why don't you ask the director Parmeet Sethi if there's any truth to all this? We don't argue about ganjis and tee-shirts. We focus on my acting, not on accessories. Of course I do contribute to my films. Even the simplest of moves are turned into disputes. But the limit was when it was reported that me and Vishal Bhardwaj came to blows over Kaminey. Can you imagine me coming to blows with anyone?
Badmaash Company is the first film where you're doing so many disguises?
This is the first time I've so much makeup. In about twenty minutes of the film I change into various disguises. We didn't know what I should look like. So we tried all kinds of stuff. My favourite disguise is that of a balding guy. No one could recognize me, not even my co-stars Anushka Sharma, Meiyang Chang and Vir Das.
You've never done an ensemble film before?
Yes it's not like I am the Badmaash and they are the company. All four of us are equally important in the plot. I think one matures with every film. When I read the script of Badmaash Company I thought it'd take me into a new space as an actor. I had never done a con caper or an ensemble piece. I think all of us make a great team.
How has it been shooting for Anushka Sharma in Badmaash Company?
We were all very young in the cast and we did a lot of outdoor shooting together. I think it's very important to get along with the people I work with. Anushka, Vir Das, Meiyang Chang and me got along really well. I got myself a Harley Davidson in the US and rode all over the place all on my own.
Not too many know about your penchant for mobikes?
Yes I love biking on my own. I often take off in Mumbai on my bike during the night. Sure I get recognized on the streets. But no one really bothers me. And really you can't stop doing what you have to out of the fear of being recognized. Riding my mo'bike relaxes me. I like going out riding on my own anonymously. It helps me unwind. I think every actor likes to be alone. In any case I am not a group person. I don't move around with 25 hangers-on. I have 3-4 close friends. They are the ones I spend my time with besides my family.
You seemed to be having a lot of fun playing the teacher in Paathshaala?
That's partly acting (laughs). But I love kids. It was quite a task for the director Milind Ukey and producer Ahmed Khan to handle that large bunch of kids. But the children were so spontaneous. I had fun learning from them. I actually unlearnt a lot of notions about acting watching them. They took me back to the basics of acting.
Were you disappointed when Paathshaala didn't do well?
Not really yaar. It was a very small film. I worked in it for just seven days. It was never meant to be pitched as a Shahid Kapoor starrer. By the time the film came out I decided to go out and promote it a little. Though my friend the film's producer Ahmed Khan felt my role should not be publicized, we all finally felt, why not go out and promote a film we all believed in? It has finally recovered its cost. That's what counts. It was never meant to be a blockbuster. I'm glad Ahmed and his wife started off their production company on a positive note.
Are you enjoying this phase of being without any film on hand except your father's Mausam?
I've phases when I'm happy I've time to do other things besides movies. Then I go through phases of being depressed that I'm not doing enough work. I've come to realize that I really love doing movies, and that's all I want to do. I'll be shooting Mausam till the end of December. But I'm already looking at scripts for next year. I've realized I don't like sitting at home and look forward to doing more work.
You've two releases coming up.
Yes Badmaash Company Then there is Milenge Milenge. My days are pretty packed with dubbing, promotion and other activities. I've just shot for ad for PETA and a music video for Badmaash Company. I've been keeping myself awake on black coffee, my only vice. I'm finishing a lot of stuff, meeting a lot of people.
How is it getting ready for Mausam?
I'm getting into my dad's film. I'll of course accept another film if something truly exceptional comes along. Otherwise nothing until dad's film finishes. As an actor I'd consider myself lucky if I get one good script a year. Hit films don't necessarily mean good films. I think it's very important for me to work with good scripts and good directors.
So far how has your preparation for you dad's film Mausam been?
We did a few workshops. I spent 4-5 days discussing acting with Dad. At the moment I'm the spotboy-cum-assistant-cum-odd job boy. At the same time I've also started a little bit of work with my Dad on the script. There's so much to do. Yeh to ghar ki picture hai. I'm responsible for everything. I'm really enjoying this process. In the one year that I'll be on Mausam, I'll get to learn a lot from Dad.
And your leading lady is Sonam?
I am not supposed to talk about it. The producers will make a formal announcement.
What's your biggest challenge in this film?
It is a love story. And I'll be playing a complete romantic hero. The challenge would be to do something different in a way Dad would want me to do it, and still be the conventional romantic hero.