An Actor and a Gentleman Sidharth Malhotra, the hottie, unplugged

Sidharth Malhotra’s last release A Gentleman didn’t hit the bull’s eye. It was quirky and fun for some reviewers, dull and insipid for others. In a way, that’s how his journey in Bollywood has been so far – a lot of ups, a few downs. But that has not reduced his popularity, especially among the ladies, or his confidence on and off the screen. His film platter may be full but on the personal side, there is a lull. Or at least that’s what he would like us to believe. The tabloids may be linking him with Alia Bhatt and other beauties, but Sid is not speaking! We tried to prise it out of him and this is what he had to say…

You like to keep trying different genres of film, what made you take on A Gentleman that fetched such mixed reviews?

I love working on and watching action films. Earlier on in my career when I did Ek Villain, which had intense action, I got a good response. So when Raj and DK, and Fox came to me with this true action comedy genre which they wanted to do, I felt it had the best of everything that I liked. It had romance with Jackie as well so all three elements were tick marked in my head as a win-win.

Would you say you choose your films instinctively?

Yes, definitely. I react to a story; I like to see what we are trying to say. This was the story of a simple guy who wants a nice house, a great car, etc. which I thought was really nice.

Could you share a little on your working relationship with Jacqueline Fernandez?

We did a film earlier, Brothers but we didn’t have any scenes together in that one. With Jacqueline in this film, it was just, say comfortable. I think she’s one of the nicest and happiest people in the industry. And she doesn’t need any ice-breaker as soon as you walk into a room. She’s friendly, open to suggestion and comfortable. She’s one of the most ideal co-stars one could ask for because she just makes work fun. I’ve never seen her in a bad mood and that’s what I envy about her. I told her ‘I want to have what you’re having every morning, so share the secret!’ we gelled over the songs and she did some cool action scenes too.

At this point of time in your career, what do you crave the most?

If I look back career wise, I feel I’m growing as I do more and more movies. It’s now becoming second nature which is the feeling I get when I meet people because I’m not from the industry. I feel right now is the time when I’m right in the midst of it. I’m enjoying my work much more than before. I feel I have a better instinct and understanding of things. With experience, you can make your decisions with much more confidence. I think maybe this is what I craved for when I started off. I’m actually enjoying what is happening to me presently. I’m eager to learn.

Do you reflect on how far you have come in life? How do you look back at your younger, non-starry days?

I think that makes me gracious, calm and happy at all times; I just feel blessed whenever I look back. Coming from South Delhi, growing up in a non-film background, not being a performer in either my school or my colony, I would say it was initially by luck, and then by working for it being an assistant director in Mumbai for eight years. Now I’m actually living the dream; I’m one of the lucky ones who came from outside, made this my profession and I definitely look back with a lot of gratitude. I also get motivated by the fact that this is just the beginning of the journey. This motivation gets me through the hard and hectic days when I look back.

How has stardom and fame changed you?

I don’t think it has. And if at all, it’s been for the better. It’s made me far more conscious of how we interact with people. I would say I’ve only grown for the better and not the worse.

How did you cope with the negative reviews of Baar Baar Dekho? Did they affect you?

Definitely. I think when a film is not accepted or doesn’t quite pan out the way you wanted it to, it does affect you. It was my first experience with something like that (the criticism and failure). It’s a learning experience it’s like riding a bicycle and falling for the first time when you get back on, you know what it feels like to fall so your fear is less. The important thing is to bounce back, keep working in different film genres and choose better content. This year I’m also headed for Ittefaq which is very different.

Ittefaq sounds like a very interesting film…

Yes, it’s a murder mystery which I feel we have lost as a genre. We’re bringing it back. There’s nothing else in the story but interrogation rooms and the mystery that happened one night.

Do you seek others’ opinions or do you make your own decisions?

I think a part of growing up is to figure out that you need to be advised by lesser people and trust your own instincts. But as I always say, when I do have to, Karan’s (Johar) been there right from the beginning.

How important is it to have a godfather in the industry?

I wouldn’t say this is the only way; I have friends who have gone the other route, done different kinds of films and have not been launched by such a big director. So I don’t feel there’s just one kind of launch. I was one of the lucky ones to be launched the way I was. But I was also a struggling actor. I did that in the earlier days which worked out for me and I learned so much. Then I got a break with Student of the Year. I think the important aspect comes in only once you get that break. Today there are so many actors who’ve used different methods and not worked with big directors in their films but are still doing great work. Unfortunately, there have also been people who were launched by big directors but haven’t been able to make a mark. There’s no hard and fast rule. This industry gives you a few more chances to perform, but if you don’t then it’s pretty tough to survive.

Do you push yourself too hard?

I think so. I always feel I can do better and that sometimes becomes exhausting for the people around. I feel let’s do one more (take); let’s try this and let’s try that. When I look at my work. I always feel I can do something from a more interesting angle. I would say I criticise myself whenever I see my work.

You come across as a loner would you agree with this?

Well yes… I feel, isn’t everybody eventually by themselves?

So does it irritate you when your love life gets written about?

Yes, I think it’s the kind of person I am. I come from a middle class family in Delhi; I’m not somebody who grew up in the limelight or was used to so much attention. So I think the aloofness comes from not belonging to this kind of life. That might come across as introverted. But I think I’m as friendly or as normal or as personal as anybody else in the industry. My childhood friends are not industry friends. When something is written about my personal life it’s very interesting to help me mature and grow. It’s part and parcel of the business.

Is it possible to retain your privacy in this day and age of social media?

Well, definitely yes! Social media gives us an opportunity to disclose what we want to. You can use it as a tool to be completely open and unabashed about your personal life or you can keep it only to your work. It’s a personal call. We put up whatever pictures we choose to; nobody’s forcing us to; I handle my own account.

Source: Masala Magazine