Monday, March 21, 2016

Sidharth Malhotra

“I still don’t think I’ve made a space for myself”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(From the March 19, 2016 issue of Super Cinema) 

From assisting Karan Johar to being one of the most popular actors among the youth, Sidharth Malhotra has indeed come a long way. Though, he 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’, we catch up with the dishy actor for a tête-à-tête. He’s slightly under the weather as evident from his voice and eyes, so here’s a quick chat with him over lunch, where he talks about his latest release and learning thus far...

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, there is 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 very 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 box-office success. So, ‘Brothers’ taught me a lot. Such experiences help you mature.

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. 

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!

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