Vir Das

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”813″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1460315278939{margin-bottom: 70px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1462378591513{margin-bottom: 50px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;background-color: #d0c5db !important;}”]

Still acing the stand-up comedy scene, Vir Das has come a long way even as an actor, or let’s just say as a creative artist. He’s funny and witty even during a conversation, apart from being intelligent and articulate. Amidst the several things that he’s upto, he makes time for an in-depth chat as his film ‘Santa Banta Pvt Ltd’ hits the marquee. Excerpts:

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“To me success is the amount of time that is dispensed between having an idea and someone executing that idea with me”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]There’s a certain comedy you’re known for, so ‘Santa Banta Pvt Ltd’ must have been quite different for you in that sense?

Yes, it’s been great and I don’t mean to sound arrogant when I say this, but the kind of comedy I’m known for, I’m known for (laughs). And I’ll continue to do that every now and then. But it’s important to evolve and try something new. ‘Santa Banta’ is kids’ comedy. So, it is very silly, animated, physical because you have to make kids laugh. That’s something we’ve never tried before. I took a decision, a year and a half ago that let’s try different things and see what happens. Some will work, some will not work but, I feel I’ll come out as a better artist at the end of all that. So, I signed an adult comedy in ‘Mastizaade’, then ‘Santa Banta’ which is a kids’ film. ‘Shivaay’ is a big action film, ‘31st October’ is a serious drama or ‘Khanna Patel’ is a family romance. It’s a bunch of different things and that’s how your journey should be.

But largely, it’s the stand-up comedy where you get your loyal audience from, right?

I’m still at a point where the standup comedy fan base is still more loyal and monetarily larger. A ticket to my show costs Rs. 4000, but the ticket to my film costs Rs. 300, so yes the volumes of stand up comedy is very large. Stand up comedy is going to different levels now. So, even if you’re doing films, you cannot do the same things again and again. You’ve got to try different things. If it doesn’t scare you then I don’t see a point in really doing it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Is it difficult to start something else from scratch, when you already enjoy a certain popularity?

To me being a struggler is the most exciting thing. It’s different if you’re good at something and have a loyal fan base and it’s not like you’re leaving it completely to do other things. When I joined films, I was asked by so many if I would stop doing stand-up comedy, until they figured, I would never stop that. I will always keep and grow that fan-base. But I feel that if I did just that, then there’ll be 52 weeks of traveling every single year and artistically you get bored of that. So, it’s nice to be away from that and feel like a newcomer, to feel like I’m the smaller fish or feel like my band is terrible. My band is actually terrible. Musically, it has nowhere to move, but up because we are at the bottom of the battle right now. We get 15,000 people at our concert but we can become so much better. There’s one comedy rock band in India, my band. We’ve no competition also. It’s nice to be at the bottom, as opposed to the top of the mountain.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“I’ve always been someone who woke up in the morning with 20 ideas, but five years ago nobody wanted to listen to those ideas. Today I’m in a phase which I’ve waited for, my whole life. So at this point, I’m definitely not slowing down.”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1462378786063{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”814″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]You’ve told me earlier that India has no Adam Sandler, or Ben Stiller and you want to try filling that space. How’s that coming along?

It’s coming along, in the sense that I liked what they also did from a creative point of view. Getting a pool of people to come together and work on different things. My company ‘Weirdass’ is sitting on seven films right now. But there’s this pool of people, the directors, writers. Ideally, after ‘Delhi Belly’, many more Delhi Bellys should have been made, but not one has come out. Or we’ve not had another ‘Go Goa Gone’. So to get this genre going and develop really crazy concept comedies, that’s a mission for me, but it will take time.

Just how stand-up comedy has helped you as an actor, how have films helped you?

Some people come for shows because they’ve seen some film. In America, they come for the shows because they’ve seen a Bollywood film so, that way it helps as well. And I think films teach you writing and patience. They’re different processes.

Is it a challenge to make people forget Vir Das when you’re playing a character in a film?

It’s not something I can control. It’s a reality, for sure but I have no part to play in that decision, if that makes sense. It’s irritating sometimes that every single reviewer in India has seen me live do stand-up comedy. Because, who I am as a person is very famous, when you see me play a regular, straight character like ‘Amit Sahni Ki List’, you can say that Vir Das is playing Vir Das. But if you didn’t know who I was, you’d say I did a damn good job. That’s a reality and you have to face that. Anyone from a Chris Rock to Eddie Murphy has faced that reality. It’s not something I can think about. But hopefully if you see me put on a turban, put on weight and do a drama in ‘31st October’ or play a Pakistani who speaks Urdu in ‘Shivaay’ or do an adult comedy, maybe that will change for you as well. On the bright side, in ‘Mastizaade’ as opposed to everything I’d ever done, not a single reviewer said Vir Das is playing Vir Das. The cool thing was that it wasn’t my audience. Also, the film I did before ‘Mastizaade’ was ‘Amit Sahni Ki List’. It was made it Rs. 2 crores and it ended up making Rs. 7.2 crores which is good for the producers but only you and I saw that film. ‘Mastizaade’ was a high budget film which didn’t hit the numbers it should have but did Rs. 39 crores. Which means that much worth of people in single screens now have seen my work. They’d never heard of me before ‘Mastizaade’. That’s a cool thing to take away from that.

How do you manage to constantly create something new – be it a stand-up act or a song for your band or a script? There never seems to be a creative block for you….

I think for me, my definition of success is timelines. I’ve always been someone who woke up in the morning with 20 ideas, but five years ago nobody wanted to listen to those ideas. To me success is the amount of time that is dispensed between having an idea and someone executing that idea with me. If you’re Aamir Khan and if you say that ‘I want to make a movie about chic farmers in Peru’. Tomorrow there will be a writer who will write that film, a producer who will produce that film and actors who’ll work in that film. That’s how quick Aamir’s gestation period is. That’s success. To me, I’ve always had 20 ideas and nobody wanted to hear them earlier, finally I’m in a phase where that time is the short and I’d still like it to be more shorter between having someone to execute that idea. Today I’m in a phase which I’ve waited for, my whole life. So at this point, I’m definitely not slowing down.

Also, don’t these various mediums require to be in a different headspace? That can be tiring!

It’s tiring. I was in America and I’d just done 27 shows in 30 days. I had three more in the next week. But I had to go to Bulgaria for one day to shoot for ‘Shivaay’. So then to remove yourself from LA, fly to Istanbul and then to Bulgaria, shoot two scenes with Ajay Devgn, fly back from Bulgaria to Frankfurt to Dallas, land at the airport and do a show for 1000 people – can be exhausting. Your body goes for a toss. But the fact is, if you think about it, you’ll be like, you got to see so many cities in just 48 hours. Who would get that opportunity? And I have to identify the zone before the film begins. So, I was not finding that zone when on set, I knew that zone.

Do you feel the need to space yourself out from all the work though sometimes?

For me, that space is my wife, my dog, my house. That’s the only environment where I am who I am. Nobody really gets to see that side of me. When you’re doing standup comedy, you’re supposed to be a bit of a bastard, wiseass, cool and mean, but I’m not that person in real life. And then even when you’re an actor you’re someone else. So as long as I have enough home time, I’m cool.

Being a dishwasher in Chicago in 2002 to now having people executing your ideas in 2016…have you got a moment to look back?

I actually took a moment to look back. The restaurant where I was a dishwasher was called the ‘Grand Lux Café’. I actually went there recently to have a meal. Then I left the waiter a huge tip and a note which said, ‘you’re not going to work here forever, don’t worry’. So it was nice. There’s a desert there which I would keep watching running in and out of the kitchen but I never got to try it. I wanted to eat that for 15 years so I went there just to taste and it was very tasty (smiles).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Randeep Hooda

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”778″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1460315278939{margin-bottom: 70px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Interview By: Devanshee Singh[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1462374281959{margin-bottom: 50px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;background-color: #d0c5db !important;}”]

He belongs to a non-filmy background but made it big on his own talent, creating a niche for himself with some note-worthy performances. Randeep Hooda’s upcoming film ‘Laal Rang’ is the latest addition to the list. Recently, we got an opportunity to talk to him about this film, his experiences and more…

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“The experiences whether good or not so good, you learn from them and you move on”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]The concept of ‘Laal Rang’ looks very different. What went in your mind when you were approached for the film?

I had met Afzal for another film many years ago. He got me such a funny script. Unfortunately, that film never got made but I had earmarked him as one of the talents that I want to work with. Then he came to me with this script. First of all the milieu was new, it is one of most heinous crimes in the world and it is prevalent all over India. It was based on true incident which actually happened in Karnal in 2002. It continues to happen all across India. So, that was the big thing. Then he brought the story which was not preachy but it had very dark humor to it and also great relationships. A story of friendship, love, unrequited love, betrayal, redemption, it’s such a complete story which is very engaging and within that he is trying to bring to lights such a heinous crime and laced it with a lot of Haryanvi humor which I think is the best humor there is in the world because even if you look at ‘Tanu weds Manu’s Datto, that was really funny because of the fact that she has Haryanvi humor to it. Now lots of actors have played Haryanivis like Aamir Khan is doing it in ‘Dangal’, Salman Khan is doing it in ‘Sultan’ and various other movies. Here, it was an opportunity to what is in Vogue; Haryana is in Vogue kind of thing. So, here, I had the opportunity to really make something more authentic than anybody else involved in that Haryana milieu. I did not take time to say yes to this movie at all. It was like a bang, “Yeah, I want to do it”.

What is your approach when a script comes to you like what things matter to you?

First of all, is it story that I want to hear and see, secondly the director, will I be able to work with this guy for 3-4 months or whatever the time is required. And then it is about the role. Lastly, the production house and all those other things come. Lot of my movies suffers because of lack of marketing and hype. Lotsof hyped movies are not so great and lots of unhyped movies are great which don’t garner that much attention. But that’s not really my job. My job is to make my work interesting and choose interesting work. What happens to it, is totally depends on its own destiny. So, all these things combine. I think first time I am playing such a flamboyant character out there and which was bit of a challenge as well as it was a different approach to playing your role. I have spoken so many languages and dialects in movies that to speak my own I had to go back to my childhood to recall it because I live in Bombay now, I have travelled the world, I have studied abroad and all of that. So, to sort of bring that to for was the challenging part of it because you have to really go back to your childhood and recall the memories, the people, the way they spoke. You can take the boy out of Haryana but you can’ttake Haryana out of the boy which is there. Still it was as challenging. Lot of people feel that I have played a Haryanvi character in ‘Highway’ but that was a Gurjar character in the NCR. This is a Jatt boy from Haryana. The dialect is different, the way of approaching life is different and the mind set is completely different. That was a very have not vs. have story. This people don’t think they are have nots.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Mostly you do lead roles in small budget films and supporting roles in big budget films like ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai’, ‘Kick’ etc. Is that a conscious call because big films have larger reach?

I like it to mix it around. I think you should do all kinds of films and genres. It is really based upon what else I have at that moment which I mix and match it with. I have consciously stayed away from a particular genre from a particular kind of role and I mixed it up all the time. I think that mixture is what holds me in good stead. That has been my approach. I don’t want to be an art actor or a commercial actor or this or that, I mean even the roles I choose in the bigger films are roles which I can bite into; there is something there to do. Obviously, reach of those movies is far bigger than the smaller movies but I don’t think the movies are big and small in terms of budget. They are only big and small in terms of the idea and ability of producer to market it or to hype it (laughs).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“The thing with sports and movies is sports is result based either you win or lose whereas movies are opinion based and opinions can be manipulated”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1462374399665{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”777″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]You are known for experimenting. You have done every other role differently from the previous one. What inspires you to do that?

It is purely to keep my own work interesting for myself because I love what I do. I chose it out of love. I chose it out of love of not being famous but of being an artist. So, all those things come into account. I am not the guy who is going to sit here I am very choosy I don’t think that is the right term to use. I think the right term to use is I try to choose best of what I get. They are no producers lined up outside my door with bags of money or anything. In doing that I think now there is a certain career that I have which only recently has come into fray.

Your co-stars from ‘Laal Rang’ say that you were also the reason for them to be a part of this film. How was the experience working with all of them?
Oh really, that’s very flattering (laughs). It was one of the most fruitful experiences that I have had and it was most enjoyable film experiences I have had. The more to do with Afzal, the kind of director he is, the way he deals and constructs the scene and the way he writes. He is always trying to get better and better. It is a wonderful cast of actors who really give it their all. The music of the film is wonderful. They have got Mathias Duplessy who has done the background score who is from France. He has composed the music in France and done three songs. He has made Haryanvi reggae for the first time. VipinPatwa, who is from U.P., classical background, who has made these raginis into these techno beats of ‘BhaangRagadKe’ and others. So, it’s a great music and even the visual of the movie looks like Karnal Haryana is in Spain. There is so much of inter caste unrest in Haryana. This movie has got all the caste and all the people and they all living together and it’s all an amalgamation and also with the music, people will find an identity as a whole, as a state rather than being distributed in different castes. Shooting in my own state was amazing, for the first time I have shot in my own state. I am playing my own ethnicity. People were really very cooperative and helpful. The Haryana government and as well as the people all around it, it was really something else.

You are also active in Sports and your love for Horses is well-known. How do you manage it with films?

I think you find time for whatever you love although last year I have not been able to find time to ride my horses. That is why I did not compete in Nationals this time or the Delhi Horse Show because my horses were unfit. I have been travelling all across the world shooting for the different films and promoting films like ‘Beeba Boys’ in Canada and all that stuff. I travelled alot. So, I have not been able to compete this year which is bit tragic. The last to last year when I took part in Nationals I have got seven Gold medals in one meet which was quite a commendable. I am very proud of that. The thing with sports and movies is sports is result based either you win or lose whereas movies are opinion based and opinions can be manipulated.

How is your experience of the Hindi film industry so far?

The experiences whether good or not so good, you learn from them and you move on. I have always been a child who has lived alone and not with my family. Whichever movie I go to, whichever movie I do, that becomes my family and sometimes I mistakenly do take them as my family and I behave and talk in a way which would be like family, which I later realize is not the case. People are over-sensitive and all that. People sometimes don’t understand my sense of humor and honesty. So, you know, there are very sensitive people in this industry. But that’s okay, I mean you have to keep being yourself and sooner or later, people will realize that you are not so bad. So, that’s about it, but I am always looking forward to my new experiences and hopefully learn from old ones but not necessarily hold on to them.

What kind of appreciation satisfies you the most; awards, critical acclamation, box-office collections?

I find no satisfaction in awards because if you look at who all have got the awards in the past, some have been really genuine, and some have been not so genuine. I don’t know which category I will fall into once I get that award. So, I am not so concerned about that. My concern is that I keep getting interesting work and more work and I think that will see me through. I am not a very materialistic person. So, life will carry on. I have only one very expensive hobby which is horses and spend most of my money on that. Apart from that I am not interested in clothes or cars or houses or money or any of those things. You should have enough to do what you want to do and your work should be enjoyable.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Siddharth Malhotra

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”748″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1460315278939{margin-bottom: 70px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Interview By: Amul Vikas Mohan[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1462370418284{margin-bottom: 50px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;background-color: #d0c5db !important;}”]

He is just five films old. But the kind of consistency that he has shown in his short but illustrious journey is absolutely laudable. Whether it’s an ambitious student (SOTY) or a confused and under-confident businessman (Hasee Toh Phasee) or an angel-hearted criminal (Ek Villain) to an aspiring author in Kapoor and Sons – he has pulled off every role with ease. Apart from being appreciated for his performances, all his movies have fetched good numbers for the producers too. We caught up with the heart-throb at his place as he basks in the success of his recently released movie (which is still running and is loved by masses as well as classes and opens up about other things in his career. Read on for excerpts.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“Eventually it’s a business and you have to perform at the box-office”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]You had a great release in Kapoor and Sons this year. What’s the feeling right now considering the response it got from the audience?

No offence to all my other directors and films but by far I have got the best response for Kapoor and Sons. Also we are feeling way more happy and excited because we didn’t expect it. We thought we were making a smaller film and for a certain section of audience. But now everyone came in and connected to it and felt it was a story of their household. They felt all the emotions we wanted them to but we did it in a different way. We did it in a much more subtle, much more real way, unlike a Dharma productions movie. And people have liked this side of me. I have got certain reviews or texts saying ‘the best so far Sid…happy to see you this way’ which I’ve saved. So I can’t complain. The response has been encouraging but it’s also confusing. My most successful film was Ek Villain and it was an intense character but people loved it. Most recently for Kapoor and Sons it was different kind of love – a different side, a lighter side is being appreciated. So hoping to maintain both and keep people guessing and excited by doing all genres.
From the outside Kapoor and Sons looked like a niche film in a way it was just promoted or spoken about. You all were not too aggressive with the marketing….

It was definitely a strategy that we followed to reduce the number of days to promote the film. Again based on the kind of film that we made and as you said – the different zone, the different tone, a different world that Shakun Batra had created really well cannot be considered as a mainstream Hindi feature film. So we thought let’s apply the same strategy to the promotions as well. It’s not a mainstream film where we can go out and just start dancing and people will understand what kind of movie it is. It’s very difficult to make people understand the kind of movie it was in promotions. As you saw in the film it was not about a single character or a single track. It’s an experience of a whole house and it’s a family film which has everything. Definitely it was a strategy to reduce the number of days for promotion to minimum because we cannot sell it on one aspect and it was just the three of us promoting it. But I think that’s what has been encouraging for us as everything that we have done off the norm for this film – be it our acting, promotions or packaging of the film, all have worked. We have made money at the box-office. Obviously we have got appreciation too. Hopefully it will be a trend and people will understand this style of acting. You don’t need to scream out every emotion to make the audience feel happy, sad and scared. It can be understood within subtle lines and just by good writing and the actors have to do much lesser. These experiences are equally good. People came out saying we cried and we found it very funny, things were very candid. All things were done taking it very easy and subtle which I’m very happy about because I like that kind of acting and I come from that zone. I hope many films will be made in this zone and people would really enjoy them.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Your last three releases were very different – how easy or difficult is it for an actor or performer to switch from one to the other in terms of mental space to approach a new idea with a new scenario in your mind?

Here our schedules were so jam-packed that the amount of homework that I would like to do I feel sometimes I don’t get it. I did take that time off for Brothers just purely to take care of the physical aspect of it which then is never the end result that you want. But as far as the preparation is concerned, the directors always come first. The first seating is always with them jamming and all of us workshop now and did our scenes before. The easy way I find is getting into the physicality of the character. Like Ek Villain was the first time where I had to bulk up or try a tattoo on my body or scar and have two different hairstyles and color also – which were very subtle things and was never like screaming out. People didn’t recognize me in Brothers for the first time when they saw me in beard and buzzed hair. For Kapoor and Sons I let go all of that and you can see nothing physically appealing about this character. He is a very regular guy who would not go to the gym and be obsessed about bodybuilding. So for me it’s always the physical thing and the rest follows. If I don’t feel like my character in the film then I feel it’s wrong. Just imagine if I threaten my brother when I’m really big and muscular in Kapoor and Sons then the scenes lose its charm and it doesn’t look like a house anymore. It will look like I’m a big boy in the house overpowering my parents. So it appears like you are not really into the world of it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“You don’t need to scream out every emotion to make the audience feel happy, sad and scared. It can be understood within subtle lines and just by good writing and the actors have to do much lesser” ” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1462370584235{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”396″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Also Boobly in Kapoor and Sons, that guy has worked out for everyone!

Yeah…Boobly or Boobs as we say, with just that one line he is just so amazing and he has become a star. That speaks about a good film when even small characters are noticed.

You are being consistent now. Is that a genuine thing that you want to keep aiming for? Be it box-office results and performances – those are two things and being consistent in both these things, is that what you want to strive for in future with your other films? 

It took me a while to understand how important it is to do that. Not coming from the industry I did not really understand what it is for a film to do a certain number in certain areas, the way it used to affect money. I didn’t know what box-office was. I felt box-office is just a thing as most of India thinks – good and bad or hit and flop in that sense. I have understood the technicality lately. Earlier I was very naive and unaware of that. But now when I look back, from Student Of The Year to Kapoor and Sons out of all the five films, four of them have done 70 crores plus worldwide and the only film which didn’t do was HaseeToh Phasee it still earned profit for the producers and it was a very small film. So the understanding of that is also important because eventually it’s a business and you have to perform at the box-office for the producers and the last thing you want as an actor is not to make money with your film. So now I think as I’m getting more mature and into the industry I’m becoming more conscious of the budget of a film. Like for all my future films I ask the producers about the budget and discuss how and where we cannot waste money because it’s just adds extra pressure to the actors to perform at the box-office. But I have been pretty consistent and lucky in that way to get those numbers and in different genres which I like to attempt and it’s not that I want to do the same thing again and again. I think people are appreciating and liking it. And the interval is to make it a norm – it’s the script first and come up with a new story, adapt as much as you can to a film and make money at the box-office.

What kind of role would you like more? What comes naturally to you? Whether it’s all action with different kind of looks or very subtle, natural?

I think mostly the world which is exciting as a child may be because everybody likes to beat up people. So I like beating up as many people as I can and it makes me feel very heroic and powerful. That is the exciting aspect about it. But I think where I can play around much more and have more fun in sound performances, expressions is definitely the lighter roles like in Hasee Toh Phasee or Kapoor and Sons where you can improvise a lot.  Once you are playing an intense character you are very restricted because that’s pretty much that guy can do. If he is a very serious and straight forward guy then he won’t suddenly spring up another emotion or crack a joke. Whereas if you are playing a lighter character, the world is much easier because of the scope of improvisation and I enjoy it a lot. I’m doing another lighter role in Baar Baar Dekho and again going back to beating people up in another Fox action movie by Raj and D.K. Not doing it often or not keeping it back to back also keeps me exciting. When I enter a frame now and instead of cracking a joke I have to take a pose or kick the guy, it’s exciting if you do that after few months or few years you train because you get better or you have that experience and you can use that experience. I approach an action sequence more differently now because of the Brothers and Ek Villain experience, there will be more swiftness and slicker. It’s not that it’s a conscious effort but I have been lucky in getting good scripts and flipping between them.

What about competition right now with all the younger lot actors who have come with you and around you and where do you see yourself?

We all are aware of the competition and how many people are there for a film for a particular budget. Categories are made according to budgets here of how much you can spend on these actors so you would group actors according to what they would get at the box-office. I belong to a particular group and the endeavor is to break out and go into a higher one. And producers look for consistency. One can break out from the regular and carve his own niche. Baar Baar Dekho is slightly higher in budget according to my budget. I think all of us are not considered for the same role and that’s why we are saved. We all have different styles of acting and also we are physically very different. If I would say I one edge is that I probably have is that I have done more action films as compared to the others who have not ventured into action films. Keeping aside the competition all of us are different and new in our thinking, to realize that it’s up to the box-office and it doesn’t really matter socially whether it’s going to be your Friday or my Friday. Whatever is bound to happen will ultimately happen. We leave it to the box-office. We watch each other’s movies, comment and we are still in touch.  We all are very amicable and professional.

Tell us about the brands that you are part of.

There is an international Coca Cola campaign which was shot in Wal Mart. For the first time we have tried to replicate an international ad. Coca Cola is the biggest brand in the world and it is sold in every country and every corner. But now we are also justifying our position there to endorse such a big brand because our films are making money there and I have certain films lined up for future there. I had a great time shooting with them. And for the first time I shot an ad for Pakistan. I shot for Sprite, again it’s from the Coca Cola family. I got to work with Ali Zafar in an ad film which only airs in Pakistan. It was my first interaction with a Pakistani production team but those guys were extremely excited and warm. They know our movies and television. I met Fawad and had a great time. That was something unique and I did something out of the country. Also I was in New Zealand for 10 days and promoted tourism, adventure sports for them. I have got few more brands now. I find these ads creatively very fulfilling to do where you can contribute too. With a good team onboard you can try on different looks, styles, hairstyles. That’s also like a benefit for actors. More people see you on television and that adds to your branding. It’s a win-win situation for both the product and the actor. Now I’m completely into it. I understand brands and how it works. I’m enjoying the ad world also.

Lastly five years from now which is that one movie you want to be known for?

I’m can’t be biased to any particular director and it’s unfair. They all gave me chance to do something new. The directors had faith in me that I would be able to do justice to the roles that were offered to me because everything was new to me and nothing was really in my comfort zone. To be known that I never had a comfort zone or one zone where people would feel that he could pull off very easily, to have it in a decade that every time there would be some element of experimentation. Hopefully, after a decade I will be having more 100 crore films and much bigger films. Just out of emotional quotient for me Ek Villain will always be special. Now again in retrospect I have realized how difficult it is to arrive at that number, how difficult it is to get what we got on a Friday – the 3 digit number. That Friday we couldn’t understand that time what was happening and we partied till late night. The number was above 10, something around 16 and now after two films we realize how difficult it is to get that number. So I think with all those memories I would like to remember Ek Villain and cherish. Just to be fair to all my other directors it’s really difficult to choose any movie purely based on performances.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Alia Bhatt

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460319441188{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”399″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1460315278939{margin-bottom: 70px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1460317929375{margin-bottom: 50px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;background-color: #d0c5db !important;}”]

Alia Bhatt is at her sprightly best despite the hectic day amidst promotions for her latest outing ‘Kapoor & Sons’. One moment she personifies uteness while flashing her smile, while on the other, she talks like a mature lady making perfect sense. Extremely honest and a complete delight at it, here’s Alia Bhatt speaking about her latest release and more…

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“I don’t want to be one of those people who become famous and then irritating”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]You’ve said earlier that you look for a challenge quotient in every film you pick. In that sense, what was the challenge in ‘Kapoor & Sons’?

I think in the conventional terms, or according to the popular perception, this might be considered a risky film to pick up. It’s not a typical song-and-dance, so to say, commercial film. Although now a days, the whole idea of a commercial film is only changing, good films are doing well. Secondly, this film doesn’t revolve around me. It is about this family. If you see the screen time, then I probably have the least screen time. So, the challenge for me was to make my presence felt in whatever screen time I had. It was important to make my character well-etched. When it came to this film, the quality of the character was more important than quantity. Thankfully, it was so well-written by Shakun and Aisha that I just had to work on making it my own. To me, the idea of being a part of a good film is much more important than being the main part of an average film. I just thought it was a very endearing, sweet film.

So this one is a change from the usual larger-than-life, loud, song-and-dance films?

Yes, although I don’t think I’ve ever been a loud actor. Ironically though, in this film, it’s the loudest I have been. I’m a very happy character. In a film like this, you need to break the tension with some laughter, and it’s also the laughter covering a certain amount of depth. So, my character is also having a back story but whenever I’m coming in the film, it’s a breath of fresh air, because she is a very free-spirited character. And it has Shakun’s unique  sensibility. This is an approach into the 2016 modern family. here’s lot of conflict, fight, craziness, confrontation and that’s how it is in most families. You’re not always happily sitting and having dinner. And yet, you want to be there in each other’s good and bad days. So, the story is about love and relationships, but not just a boy-girl kind of love.

At this point, is it important to you that ‘Kapoor & Sons’ does well, box-office wise, especially after ‘Shandaar’? Or do you never think about that aspect of your films?

If you want me to talk about that technically, then ‘Kapoor & Sons’ is anyway a smaller film. It doesn’t have a very high budget. I read a tweet somewhere about how ‘Kapoor & Sons’ is like ‘Shandaar 2’ because it gives the same feeling. I would not say that. I want to clarify that this film has a lot of depth and emotions. It’s a film everyone can relate to it. And if everyone can relate to it then obviously, the sky is the limit but one will only have to wait and see how it does eventually.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Does the appreciation you’ve got for your varied choices set a benchmark or raise expectations? And does that remain in your head while making further career choices?

I cannot always think about what the audience expects because then in that case, I would not take risks. One has to keep it in mind, but go by the instincts. For instance, I tried to choose a fun and frolic film with ‘Shandaar’, I really liked the script when I read it. It didn’t work out eventually and I will learn from my mistake. But that doesn’t make me feel bad about choosing that film. I don’t regret it because every decision I’ve taken has been instinctive.  Perhaps, I was way more scared and nervous before ‘Shandaar’, and now I’ve become calmer. Eventually, the film has to work its magic. But while choosing, I will go by what I like. Also, I need variety! After ‘Kapoor & Sons’, you’re going to see me in an avatar you have never seen me in. So, hopefully that will continue always.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“I have started transporting into the world of the film. That’s the way I can respond the best. If I’m thinking too much, it shows”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1460327184310{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”400″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”full” css=”.vc_custom_1460327326106{margin-top: 5px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]While your process may differ from film to film, you’ve always believed in feeling what you’re doing, isn’t it?

Yes, I have started transporting into the world of the film. That’s the way I can respond the best. If I’m thinking too much, it shows. But if  it’s a film like ‘Udta Punjab’ which is so far away from my reality, I have to really prepare for it. I think that film has required the  maximum amount of preparation from me. On the other hand, for ‘Kapoor & Sons’, Shakun made me watch a lot of random and cool films like ‘Drinking Buddies’. Also, since I’ve worked with him on that ‘Genius Of The Year’ video, I knew it’s not easy to please him. He’s into a different, Woody Allen kind of zone so I just went with his vision. So, definitely the process changes with each film.

Lots of appreciation, a bit of criticism, growing up and the transition from being naïve to responsible…no wonder you’re happy!

I’m very grateful, there’s no doubt about that. But I have my days when I’m really moody but that only my loved ones will get to bear (laughs). Yes, I’ve grown up a lot, and you have to expose yourself to experiences. That’s why I’m one of those actors who will insist on taking at least two holidays in a year. That’s the only way I can get to experience something that is not work, that’s the only way I’ll get different perspectives. So, I’m learning more, observing much more. For instance, I’ve just worked with Shah Rukh Khan and the amount I’ve learnt from him is amazing. I just completely changed a lot of things in my head while working with him. The more work I’m doing, I’m realizing that things are so different when you are more aware. I wish I knew so much when I started out. So that’s how it is, you just keep getting better. But you know what? Somewhere down the line, I miss being naive. I still feel I have a bit of innocence, but I miss the bit of not knowing. I want to not know. I feel the more I know, the more I am overthinking and judging. Now I’m giving marketing ideas when we promote films. It’s good also in a way but it gets exhausting. That’s why I keep telling myself that you don’t know anything, the world is way smarter than you and everyone else knows much more. I don’t want to be one of those people who become famous and then irritating (smiles).

Tell us about how this year looks for you?

I’m very excited, it’s a big year because I have three films releasing, if hopefully even Gauri Shinde’s film releases this year. I feel that I have done a lot of different stuff. So, the three avatars you will see me in are different from each other, and from anything you’ve seen me in before. So, there’s a lot in store, but I’m not having too many high hopes. I’m just waiting because I feel like it’s going to be productive.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sidharth Malhotra

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From being an assistant to Karan Johar and being launched by him to actually experimenting and having women swoon over him – Sidharth Malhotra has come a long way. Though the ‘Ek Villain’ actor still is in no mood to enjoy that comfort or take things lightly. After two intense portrayals, just as he’s back in a jovial mode with ‘Kapoor & Sons’. He’s slightly under the weather as evident from his voice and eyes, but we catch up with the dishy actor for a quick chat over lunch, where he talks about the film and his learning experiences so far.

[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“I still don’t think I’ve made a space for myself”” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326011950{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]‘Hasee Toh Phasee’, ‘Ek Villain’, ‘Brothers’ and now ‘Kapoor & Sons’ – there’s been a striking variety! 

(Smiles) yes! But we can only choose what we get so in that sense, it has been conscious. What excites me about every film I’m doing is being able to attempt something new. After ‘Kapoor & Sons’ also, there is ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ with Katrina Kaif which is a concept love story. I’m doing a pure love story after a while, so it will be a good change. I play a professor who is stuck in some zone and is very hyper. And then again, I’m doing an action film which has Jacqueline and me. I’ll be training in martial arts for it. So, it is an effort to try something new, although it doesn’t really go by the norms. I think it is not considered so cool to do that so early in your career. For instance, the whole look change – gaining muscles, having a beard and cutting my hair – for ‘Brothers’ was drastic. It was a lot to invest that kind of time in one film, and not have a release for a year.

Are you happy about it eventually?

I’m happy in terms of experiencing it. I tried something new. The film wasn’t accepted in terms of our expectations from it, but that
was also a learning experience. You might have a good opening on a Friday because of the actors or the whole team but Monday is when the film will speak for itself. That was important for me to realise and experience because before that, I was riding on extreme success with ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ and ‘Ek Villain’. While the former benefited all of us, the latter was a great boxoffice success. So, Brothers’ taught me a lot. Such experiences help you mature.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460326021861{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]What was the most exciting about ‘Kapoor & Sons’? How did you adapt to Shakun Batra’s sensibility?

I was excited about the fact that I’d get to play a lighter character after two brooding characters back-to-back. I was looking forward to play the goofier, lighter one in the family. The difference in the look is also coming from that. And Shakun cannot allow us to do something very dramatic or typical Hindi film type because of his sensibility. He likes to break norms as much as possible. He likes to make it more real and organic. So, it was refreshing to be on a set like that. It’s a great positive that Shakun has. His talent comes from giving the emotion which the script needs and the freedom to the actor to perform the way he wants to.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”“One Friday you’re happy because a film is successful, and another Friday that same success troubles you because people start comparing. So it’s funny how success is measured in the industry.“” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:18|text_align:center|line_height:2″ google_fonts=”font_family:Condiment%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” css=”.vc_custom_1460326328542{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 5px !important;padding-bottom: 5px !important;padding-left: 5px !important;background-color: #eaeaea !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1460325104671{margin-bottom: 30px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Most actors tap into their own personality while moulding themselves for a character. Is it the same with you?

Yes, I believe! We all tap into our own personalities, eventually to give out any performance because you prefer to do it with conviction. In that sense, I think this character has been the closest to however I am in my real life. I’m the youngest in my family. I’m used to this household and have a similar upper middle-class upbringing, so it was easier to bring that out from my own personality. But sometimes when you do something you’ve not experienced, that’s when the director and actors have to be in sync with each other. For example, a film like ‘Brothers’ or even ‘Ek Villain’. I’m not used to being that aggressive. That’s when you need that push and padding from your director and co-stars.

A while ago, you’d mentioned that making a space for yourself here is the biggest struggle for you. Do you think you’ve managed to do that?

I still don’t think I’ve made a space for myself, in the sense that I
still don’t feel comfortable. But I like that feeling because then, I’m not taking things for granted. I’m not thinking that this film is easy for me or I’m perhaps not taking any kind of work for granted. Again, I learnt that from ‘Brothers’. Post ‘Ek Villain’, I would have taken things for granted because the film just happened out of the box and it killed it at the box-office. The sheer interest which people
showed in going and watching the film was overwhelming. But then ‘Brothers’ has leveled it up for me. And that was a training for life because every Friday will be different. You cannot have a sure shot goal which you want to chase. Today, I’m in a boat where I know that even if a Friday is good, it is temporary, and if it is bad then that’s also temporary. One Friday you’re happy because a film is successful, and another Friday that success troubles you because people start comparing. So it’s funny how success is measured in the industry. You’ve also opened up with time… I used to guard myself earlier because it I thought it didn’t matter. But now, I have pushed myself to open up because I understood how important it is to show various aspects of your personality. My initial instinct was to keep it to myself, because I thought that this is work and my personal life shouldn’t be of concern. But it does in a way. I realised that people like to see the various shades in an actor. So, it is important to open up and show that I’m all of this but also much more![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]