The actor takes it with grace and laughs, “I unfortunately haven’t seen Abhimaan so I don’t know about that context, but she’s absolutely right. She is the Number One actress of Hindi cinema today. She has crossed over to working in English films as well. She has achieved so much and I’m extremely proud of her. And I don’t know about my own stardom and stuff like that – these aren’t things that I think about. I only look upon myself as an actor. I have a long way to go in my own estimation. I don’t think I’ve done my best work yet so I want to continue to grow and develop and be the best actor I can possibly be. Look, I was a little kid and I had a dream of being an entertainer. I wanted to be an actor in Hindi films. Now I have the opportunity. I’m doing the biggest and the best films, working with the finest filmmakers. It’s very important to me to justify those opportunities, do my best, and be the best actor, the best entertainer, that I can possibly be.”
He also has the grace to accept that he should never have said that he would have played Shahid’s role in Kaminey better…
“In my first year, I was very arrogant. I had mentioned this some time ago that in retrospect that is nothing I should have said. Every actor brings something unique to the table and I regret saying that. And as for him playing Khilji differently, what’s wrong in saying that? That’s stating the obvious. Would he have played Khilji better? Well, I don’t know about better or worse, this falls into the realm of subjectivity.”
He is generous to a fault, lavishing praise on Deepika, himself. “She is outstanding. I have to learn a lot from Deepika as an actor. This is something Mr Bhansali has also articulated where she is so effective without having to do much, because she’s feeling what she’s feeling and her eyes tell you everything that she’s feeling. So, that is a skill that I hope to develop over a period of time.”
Quiz him on whether they exchange notes on acting and he chuckles, “Yeah, sometimes. She doesn’t rate me very highly as an actor!”
He adds that his fave performance of hers is Piku, but then he also gushes over her comic timing in Chennai Express. Chennai Express – really?? He continues to maintain his stand, as his fingers come together to form a heart! Love is apparently biased too!