Sunday, June 22, 2014

In Conversation With Sidharth Malhotra, Shraddha Kapoor

The gorgeliciously charming Sidharth Malhotra and the vivacious Shraddha Kapoor were in town Thursday to promote their upcoming Ek Villain, releasing June 27. We caught up with the couple to talk about their experience shooting the film, their journey in Bollywood, upcoming films, and lots more! 

Were you apprehensive of picking a negative role?

Sidharth: I was excited when Mohit Suri (director) first narrated the script. This was a love story of a negative character and it came after Hasee Toh Phasee and Student of the Year,  which are drastically different from what I’ve done before or what people perceive I can do. But it’s only when you push your limits you can find out if you’re up to it or not. Yes, there were apprehensions of being able to pull it off but I think I had the correct director for it. Had it been a first-time director, I probably wouldn’t have taken it up.

How difficult was it playing a dark character?

Sidharth: It was the toughest so far. To portray anger as an emotion with the kind of intensity that was needed for the character. Most of Mohit Suri scenes are either post crime, pre crime or while crime. So getting the emotion right was important. And with him being at the helm, I knew I was going to be okay. He knows his work. It helps to have him around. He’ll tell you when you’re going over the top or not getting it right. I keep telling him it’s all thanks to him I have taken out my 29 years ka bhaadaas (frustration) [laughs]. Anger issues, parents’ issues, struggling issues, Bombay issues -- all my issues are resolved. It’s almost like a therapy. Hopefully, it’s convincing.

Sometimes, I remember for getting action continuity, or to get all warmed up for an action scene, before giving a close-up or saying a dialogue, I would do push-ups, to get into form. I didn’t know any other way to get my body mechanism going. There are times when you come so relaxed to the sets and you need to go all out.

Shraddha: I have worked with Mohit Suri before and I know, he doesn’t spare his actors. He’ll make sure he gets what he wants and even motivates you to push yourself. He gets you out of your comfort zone to stretch your boundaries.

You’ve done three films so far. Which have you enjoyed working on, the most?

Sidharth: Ek Villain has been, by far, the most fulfilling performance-oriented role. And like I said, this was much apart from what I’ve done in my last two films or anything unlike me in real life (smiles). As an actor when you don’t have a reference to pick from, you experiment, try out new things.  And what comes of it, eggs you on. You realize your capabilities and push your limits.

How did films happen?
Sidharth: I was modeling for an ad agency called Elite in Delhi, where I auditioned for a film (Adlabs production), for which I came to Bombay. It was to be directed by Anubhav Sinha. This was 7 years back. To cut a long story short, for whatever reasons, the film never took off. But I decided to stay back in Bombay and learn about film-making to better my craft. That is how assistant direction happened. I assisted Karan on My Name is Khan. Before MNIK, I also came in for a song as an AD for Dostana. Soon after My Name Is Khan, I auditioned for Student of the Year. And that’s where it all began.

Shraddha, your initial films (Teen Patti, Luv ka the End) weren’t well received. Aashiqui 2, however, turned around your career. How do you look back at it?

I feel like I’ve actually had the best start. Tasting failure in the beginning of my career equipped me better to handle the success of Aashiqui 2. If I would have gotten that success in my first film, I’m not sure how I’d have handled things later. At the same time, I know I have to work a lot harder. I’m not left with any choice and happily so.

Would you rather pick varied roles for the fear of being typecast in a certain image or stick to a genre of your forte?
Shraddha: I want to be as versatile as I can. If you look at some of the most successful actors today, Priyanka Chopra, for instance, is truly versatile as an actor. That’s key to being memorable in the audience’s mind for a longer time.

Sidharth: That’s the future. As an actor, I don’t want to stick to doing a particular thing. Today if you do the same things every 6 months, the audience doesn’t let you be and criticizes you for it. I’m slightly more conscious ‘cause as an audience, I’ve done that too. We’re quick to write off actors if they do the same thing over and over. So today, if I give them the same stuff, I can’t blame them for calling me boring. The endeavour is to  always choose something different out of whatever’s offered to me.

Contemporaries you admire?
Shraddha: Priyanka Chopra. I’m a huge fan of hers (gushes)

Sidharth: In recent times, Ranbir Kapoor has done some great work. I loved him in Barfi and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

Arjun was very good in 2 States and now I’m waiting to see Varun in Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya. I guess we’re in an exciting phase where we’re getting to do different things, to prove our versatility. Let’s see how the year pans out for us.

Does competition bother you?  
Sidharth: It’s been there from the first film. I came to Bombay through a competition. I got selected even as an AD through a competition. I feel none of us treat it as a burden any more. Yes, we’re constantly being compared and of course, we want to do better. There’s healthy competition but there’s no pressure while we’re performing. The pressure is to come out convincing in each of our performances. 2 States, for instance, has done such great business. It’s good for all of us ‘cause it shows people are accepting the younger lot. When we all catch up, there’s a healthy banter. We pull his leg and call Arjun ‘sir’ that he has given a 100 crore film (laughs). We all know we aspire to be the best but don’t wish each other bad.

How do you deal with criticism?
Shradhha: It depends where it’s coming from. There are people who will criticize you for the sake of it and somewhere you too are aware of your weaknesses. I take criticism as healthily and positively as I can but not always believing all of it. My biggest critic is Mohit Suri. He tells me things straight on my face. So I know it’s an honest feedback.

Sidharth: We’re subject to it on every release. We’re in a creative world. It’s hard to please everybody. Everyone has their tastes. There will be people who don’t like you or aren’t convinced. I’d rather let my work talk than justify in words. So those who thought post SOTY, I couldn’t do this kind of a role, Ek Villain might be their answer.  Hopefully it will reduce their criticism.

How do you choose your films?

Sidharth: The script and the director are key. I think it’s instinctive, once you meet the director. You can tell if he's really passionate about what he wants from the film, is he making it for the right reasons.

A film you wish you done?

Shraddha:  I’m a Sanjay Leela Bhansali fan. So may be any of his films. But if I had to pick one, it would be Ram Leela.

Sidharth: Barfi

What kind of films are you looking to do? Any particular genre you’d enjoy doing?
Sidharth: Growing up, I always wanted to play a fighter. I get to play a mix martial arts fighter in my next film, which is a remake of an English film called Warrior. It’s still untitled. Post that, there’s another film called Bhavesh Joshi, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, where I play a play a part-vigilante, part-superhero. So it’s going to be an exciting year ahead.

Shraddha: My next film is Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider, which should release late this year. And then there’s ABCD 2, a sequel, opposite Varun Dhawan.

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