Being nominated for the International Emmy Awards, what do you have to say?
I did not expect it. I knew my performance was being submitted for consideration, that is what I was told. I felt great, but I did not expect anything to come from that. From the time of submission I never thought about it. Since I have been busy working for too long, I am not feeling anxious.
What did you do soon after the nominations were declared?
I think I have to answer all the messages that I have received after being nominated. There are so many messages and replying to each one is a huge thing. It’s rude if you don’t respond to the people you know.
The best message you received?
I think most of the messages were common like ‘yeh toh finally hona hi tha…they have recognised this boy’. You feel good when your supporters who stood by you from the beginning of your career feel like they own you…yeh toh apna hai...it feels good.
How would you look at your Bollywood journey?
My journey has been long and unique, since I worked honestly, thus it turned out well, though slow and steady. It makes me happy. I think every individual has his own journey. I received a good reception in Bollywood; I may confidently say, ‘It has come my way through my talent and merit’. That’s the way we all have to go through. I know it is hard for everyone to get a 100 crore launch. Everybody has their own set of circumstances and difficulties to deal with. Therefore, it’s important to appreciate every individual’s journey. The whole problem begins when we start comparing our journey to others. Bollywood is tough; my journey has been fruitful — slowly and steadily. It’s a valuable journey.
Having worked as Assistant Director in films like, Mangal Pandey, Bunty Aur Bubli, Kyun Ho Gaya Na, etc. What was the experience like?
My first film was about gaining lot of practical knowledge. I never went to college and didn’t know how films are made either. So I came here, became an assistant director like everyone. I knew I wanted to act, but I still wanted to learn about behind the scenes work methods. I was very lucky to get work as an assistant with director Samir Karnik. Thereafter, with my own network I had to find projects. Those days are valuable to me, because when you have been on the other side, as an actor you know that just by the smallest of delay, production can be hampered. As an actor, I keep all this in consideration. I feel it made me a more efficient actor. I value other people’s time and try to deliver as fast as I can.
About working with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Kyun Ho gaya Na what would you say?
OMG! I actually lost one of her saris; it was my first job. I was asked to handle the costume department as an assistant. I would take the garments from here to there and also for trials, also buy stuff. It was an expensive sari. I misplaced it. The director, Samir Karnik, yelled at me. Finally, we managed to replace it with a new one.
You have come a long way on the OTT platform. What is your take on it?
Working for web series is indeed a boon. Primarily, this media is for the filmmakers and directors who can get deep into characters and create a world that can be embellished with detailing and nuances and get into the empty spaces of the character. First, there are a few things that as makers and writers they get to explore and we as actors get to delve into. Second, it has no box office results. We can take risks. Actors like me are cast in shows like these. Where as in a big budget Bollywood film, because of box office and screen numbers, it’s difficult for that to happen; it’s great for many technicians and actors. Here good content and opportunity can be accessed by a lot of talented people, who have been waiting on the fringes of Bollywood to get work.