Does it get tougher to shoot for and promote a solo hero project?
Yes, because when there is no one else, you have to do it yourself. But in case of a multi-starrer like Golmaal I know that I can back out one day from the promotions as there will be Ajay Devgn or other actors who will be available. It’s a lot more relaxing while working in a multi-starrer. When I am shooting for a solo film, I don't get a break. For Jolly LLB I got just two days when I wasn’t required during the shoot.
Most of the films you have done in the past have been comedies. Does it ever bind you or get monotonous for you?
If you really observe, eight out of ten films that release today are nothing but comedies. Filmmakers merge an undercurrent of humour even if film has a serious backdrop. For example, Special Chabbis is a thriller film but there is so much humour in it.
Today, humour is the safest bet. It’s not just me but even actors like Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan or Aamir Khan are opting for comedy. At the end of the day, the producer wants his money back and people love to go and watch comedies.
Agreed that producers consider comedy as a safe bet but does that hold true even for actors?
Actors are the most insecure and fragile people on this planet. Every actor wants to deliver a hit film. Look at Amitabh Bachchan. He is so dignified when you talk to him. He has done tremendous amount of work and has been so successful. But his advertisements are so silly; I am sure he doesn't like doing them. But that is what is selling today. He is doing them because that is what people want to see and that is what works. People want to see actors in funny attire and actors are getting paid to do it.
Filmmakers are experimenting a lot within the genre of comedy, is there any kind of comedy that doesn’t appease you?
I don't like sex comedy or over-the-top comedy. I am not comfortable doing them. I prefer intelligent and smart humour. It is very easy to write sex comedies but I feel it’s crap. Films like Munnabhai MBBS or Angoor or Chasme Baddoor are difficult to write. These films simply rely on the audience's intelligence. I was offered films like Kya Kool Hai Hum but I didn't take them up. I know sex comedies work a lot and make a lot of money but I prefer doing cleaner films.
Despite having such strong dislikes did you ever come to a point where you did films you didn’t want to? Any regrets?
Yes, but I don't want to talk about them (laughs). Of course, all actors have regrets. It's just that if I was in a position to make choices, I would never do those things. Today, I am in a position to say no. Jolly LLB is a clean comedy. It doesn't have a single double meaning dialogue. It is a modern day version of a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. It is humorous and the audience will not be embarrassed to watch it with their family. This film might have less chances of working but I am happy to do it.
Riteish Deshmukh in an interview said that not only does he dislike watching comedies but also prefers not watching himself onscreen. Does it hold true for you as well?
When you are an actor, you do things because you are required to do them. I am sure every actor wants to do something different from what he is currently doing. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get what we love to do. I am lucky to do Jolly LLB. I go through so many scripts and come across one good film.
Do you think there’s a dearth for author-backed roles for you? After playing Circuit in Munnabhai Series we didn’t quite see you doing anything as such till now.
The only person in this country today who is doing author-backed roles is Salman Khan.
People are writing scripts around his personality in his normal life. He says what he says and he likes to do what he does. Other than him, all actors are playing a character which is written by some scriptwriter. People have to write an author-backed role for me. Circuit was an author-backed role but if you notice, I never played that character again because that would’ve been like abusing that character. I got so many films and endorsements where I had to play Circuit but I refused them all. I will only do it again if I know for sure that Munnabhai will never be made again.
Who according to you today is really good at comedy?
Akshay Kumar is really good at comedy. He has found his niche and he really makes people laugh. You need to be a besharaam actor to do comedy and that's what he has been doing. Salman has his own peculiar style, which is bizarre, but it's funny to watch him.
Reportedly, you replaced Aamir Khan in your forthcoming film Chambal Safari
No, I don't think anyone can replace Aamir. They must have wanted Aamir in the film but I don’t think it’s a big deal. Ultimately, the film is with me! (Laughs)
Despite your fondness for Madhuri Dixit you won’t be paired with her in Dedh Ishqiya. Any rues about that?
Dedh Ishqiya is a very good film. And although I love Madhuri I am not paired with her but Huma (Qureshi). I think Madhuri and I would have looked odd.
By Swati Rohatgi