Thursday, August 14, 2014

...quoted in The Asian Age

The Asian Age ran a story on August 12, 2014 carrying our views :-)





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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I want to work with Gulzaar saab again: Jimmy Shergill


It's hard to come by actors, who can pull off every genre with such brisk ease, you can never get enough. The abundantly gifted Jimmy Sheirgill, who's come a long way from Maachis and dished out films as assorted as A Wednesday, Yahaan, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster, says this is just the beginning. In a quick interview, Sheirgill talks to me about the kind of films he enjoys doing, what he thinks about the "underrated" tag, his upcoming films and more! 


You've experimented with different films. What genre do you enjoy the most? 

I like light-hearted films. There's so much pressure on you all the time and then you do these intense roles, it just adds up. Somewhere while making these lighter films, you laugh, have a good time, enjoy with your co-actors and then you make other people laugh. Vo baat alag hai ki (It's another thing that) I'm always offered really intense, serious roles, and these roles and scripts are so good, one can't say a no. 

Did you always want to act?

Yeah. Once I went to Bombay for my acting classes I knew this is what I wanted to do. When I was In Bombay, I got to know that Gulzaar saab was making a film (Maachis) and I went to meet him. I thought even if he took me in his team I would get to learn -- production, direction or anything, as a student of cinema. But somewhere he saw something in me and offered me one of the characters in the film. That's where it all started. 

Which has been the toughest role/character to portray so far?

Quite a few. But the toughest was Saheb Biwi aur Gangster 2, where I was restricted to this wheelchair. I wondered how much can one do. But Tigmanshu (Dhulia) was very confident that we'd work this out. He assured me he would not make it look boring and I've always believed in him. Finally, when the film got made the kind of reviews we received from both the audiences and the critics were so encouraging.

What are you working on next?

Right now Tigmanshu is shooting for something else but let's hope he quickly gets the script of Part 3 (Saheb Biwi aur Gangster) ready. The work is going on. He needs to finish the script and then decide when we begin shooting. I'm really looking forward to it. Then there is Anand Rai's Tanu Weds Manu 2


A director you'd like to work with? 

I'm already working with Tigmanshu, Anand Rai. Then there is Soojit Sircar, Rahul Dholakia, Neeraj Pandey. These directors did their first films with me and I'm happy that all of them are big film-makers today. But Gulzaar saab is somebody I want to work with again. I did my first film with him and really wish he makes another film and I'm a part of it.

You're one of the most versatile yet the most under-rated actors we have today...

It's better to be called 'underrated' than to be called somebody who doesn't deserve it. I feel good about it. I take it as a compliment. 

Would you like to venture outside of acting, may be writing or directing? 

I'm very much enjoying this phase where I'm doing these different characters. I think it's just the beginning. I would not want to venture into anything else as of now
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Emerging Filmmakers: In Conversation with 'Leeches' director Payal Sethi


After an award-winning debut, writer-director and co-founder of FilmKaravan [which has supported projects like Superman of Malegaon, Sita Sings the Blues] Payal Sethi is all set to kick off shooting her second film, Leeches. The New-York bred filmmaker began her career under the tutelage of veteran director Mira Nair. She assisted on films as varied as The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, before directing her first short, Grant St. Shaving Co., which won her recognition at film festivals abroad. Payal speaks to me about her upcoming film, her journey into film-making, what appeals to her about short films and more!


Tell us about your film, Leeches. What drew you towards the subject? 


Leeches is a fictional tale based on the myriad stories of one-day brides that I came across while living in Hyderabad. The female protagonist, Raisa, is a young, fiesty girl of sixteen, the eldest daughter of four to a single mother. When she learns that her innocent little sister has been promised in marriage to an old man in exchange for money, she decides to protect her by taking her place. Except, she's not a virgin anymore and the suitor in question has paid for a virgin bride. Her quest to restore her virginity leads her to discover a forgotten old wives' trick, but the ensuing consequences are devastating in ways that she could never have imagined.

After delving deep into the subject of contract marriage, my co-writer & I realized we didn't want to tell yet another story of child marriage. We were drawn to the idea of a young girl, powerless but for her virginity, who tries to get the better of this well oiled system of sham marriage. We explored this idea towards a shocking conclusion, which becomes the twist in the tale.

Where are you right now in the project?


At the moment, we are raising funds to make the film through Wishberry and have successfully cleared our production budget of INR 6 Lakhs (USD 10,000) in just 15 days. We have 23 days left to raise an additional INR 5 Lakhs, which goes towards post-production, paying our cast & crew, and bringing down my Director of Photography from New York, who shot my last film. We have also started the casting process & done a preliminary recce in Hyderabad for locations. Meanwhile, I am looking to bring on board an excellent production designer in the next few weeks.

Anyone, anywhere in the world can contribute to this project on Wishberry and believe me when I say, every little bit matters. In India, we offer cash & cheque pick-ups from your doorstep, so I hope that people who want to become funders and were deterred by the credit card option will take action. We only have 23 days left for this campaign. 

When do you plan to begin shooting?


We begin shooting this film in September. My goal before we begin production is to reach a wider audience through the campaign. As we now know, crowd-funding is a great audience builder. This story deserves to get out and I would encourage anyone who wants to support our film to check out the page. Anybody can get involved for any amount, however small. Rewards start at US $4/INR 250. Ultimately, it is the show of hands that will matter.

You went the traditional way to fund your first film/short. It was backed by Mira Nair. Why did you choose to crowd-fund this one?


Actually, we crowd-funded the post-production of my first film as well, through Fiscal Sponsorship, which we received through Fractured Atlas. We just didn't know it was crowd-funding back then. Mira was one of the first to pitch in, and with an incredibly generous contribution. Her support to Grant St. Shaving Co. was wonderful, on so many levels. [You can watch her short film here].

What got you interested in films? 


I always wanted to write, but my interest in Creative Writing, which I started to pursue at Vassar College during my undergraduate years, was replaced with writing for films after a fortuitous lecture on Film History & Theory during my sophomore year. It was in those lectures and screenings that I discovered the desire to write films & eventually, to direct them. Then, during my Junior Year I went off campus to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts & pursued the 16mm Sight & Sound program, which put a Krasnogorsk (camera), lots of black & white 16mm film, & a Steenbeck into my hands.

After film school, I started working with Mira Nair as her assistant, and slowly grew through the ranks of Mirabai Films, over four lovely years. I had declined admission to the Columbia MFA to work with her, because the Dean at the time assured me it would be the best film school for me. He was very right.

Looking back, I realize, this was so much more than a job. It was an education gained while peeking over the shoulder of one of the finest filmmakers of our time.

After Mirabai Films, I became a freelance AD, working on a friend Soman Chainani's thesis film, and then Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. In the US, being an AD is a professional career track, unlike in India where it's a stepping stone to directing. For about two years after KANK, I worked on some incredible film festivals, including Tribeca, IFP, Hamptons & the NY Indian Film Festival, in various capacities, from programmer to industry manager. The exposure to current films from all over the world was an immersion that cemented my passion for film-making.


What appeals to you about short films as a medium? Do you plan to make Leeches into a full-length feature?


Short films are self-contained – they are abbreviated, but intense. They are not small versions of feature films, and the narrative path can be quite different, if needed. I enjoy exploring certain ideas as short film, while other ideas are better suited to a feature treatment. Leeches is a complete film & will probably end up being around 20 minutes. However, there are several stories of girls just like Raisa – heartbreaking stories that unveil a set of human emotions that I find disturbing & fascinating, in the way that a horror story can be. So yes, I am certainly thinking about a feature.


Who is the audience that you think this film will engage?


This is not a documentary or a social-issue film in the sense that I use sham marriage merely as the backdrop for a story about a young girl & her fierce love for her sister. But since this is no ordinary girl her actions drive the plot towards strange & unpredictable outcomes, and the climax, well, I hope you will watch the film & see for yourself.


Promoting indies by prominent mainstream names, helps get the word out. Ship of Theseus, for instance, had Kiran Rao supporting it. Do you plan to get someone involved with your film at any point?


Why not? The right partner can bring visibility to this film and one of my goals is to spread awareness about this particular practice -  legalized prostitution under the guise of marriage - to as many people as possible, through a story that above all, engages its audience. I wouldn't name names simply because support is given when there is a connection. If I manage to make a connection with a 'persona' through this film's story it would, of course, be great to work with them on this together. I'd love to see that happen organically.

A film-maker who inspires you the most?


I could never pick just one, because there are aspects of each person's film-making technique that inspire me. Here are some, in no particular order. Mira Nair, Cristian Mungiu, Asghar Farhadi, Pedro Almodovar, Emir Kusturica, Jeunet & Caro. I could go on and on.

What next? What kind of films are you looking to make in the future?


My path has been a joyful potpourri up to this point. I have written, directed & produced a personal short film in New York. I have also written two feature scripts: a surreal dramedy about a mother & daughter in Ooty as they traverse the tricky path of a regional beauty pageant; and a wildlife crime thriller, which was developed under Asia Society's New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters. Leeches, which relies heavily on realism, is my second film as writer, director & producer. I can only wish the road ahead continues to be just as unpredictable & enjoyable.

Leeches in 3 minutes:

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In Conversation with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan


From being the star kid, you're slowly becoming one of the most bankable actors in Bollywood. How has the experience been so far? 


Alia: This is something I've wanted to do ever since I was a child. It wasn't because my parents were actors. It has always been in me to want to be an actor. You can call it genes cause my father's father was a filmmaker, father's mother was an actor, my dad is a director, my mother and sister are both actors, so it does run in the family but I also work towards it a lot. I make sure the choices I make are different and at the same time entertaining and substantial.


What's your earliest childhood memory when it comes to films?

Alia: I recall sitting in front of the TV in my shorts and a gunjee. We had a small silver TV back then. I was watching Karishma (Kapoor) and Govinda (it has to be one of Varun's dad's films), dancing in the garden, and then on the road, and then in the bedroom, and I was just wondering how they were doing it, how quickly they were changing clothes, and why are they dancing on the road? Why isn't anyone stopping them? (laughs). And my first feeling was wow, I want to be there. I didn't know who I wanted to play - Karishma Or Govinda (laughs) I just knew I wanted to be there. That was my fondest first memory of knowing or realizing this was it. And from there on, my fondness just grew to a point where when I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I cut my hair 'cause Kajol had short hair.

Do you take advice from your parents? 
Alia: I take my own decisions when it comes to choosing films. I go with my instinct and if there's anyone I will need to talk to, it will be Karan (Johar).  

Varun: Not really. I think once I've chosen the role, and if my dad knows the character, he gives me a few references from the past that I can use, but I never take advice on choosing a film. 

This is your second outing together and your onscreen chemistry is quite palpable in HSKD. How comfortable are the two of you otherwise? 

Alia: We've known each other before we were anybody, before we were actors. So that ways we share a very special relationship. We've never lost touch. We just became better friends but doing this film together was not because we were such good friends but because we both really believe in the story and love our characters. The characters in the film share a love-hate relationship, which is pretty much our equation in real life. 

Any fun, memorable moments on the sets? 

Varun: I remember in Chandigarh, after we had wound up for the day, Shashank (director) had asked me to stay back to shoot a scene. There was this rope with which I was supposed to climb three floors. And he had scheduled this for five in the morning. I wondered why. Alia had already packed up for the day. It was freezing. I could barely move. Somehow, I eventually managed. To my utter shock, when we saw the film, the scene had been removed (laughs).

Alia: We were shooting in Delhi for a scene outside the Delhi University, where we were supposed to eat kulche chole. It was a montage cut for the song Samjhawan. And I was so busy eating that I almost forgot the camera was rolling. I think it is one of my favorite moments. It's come out so natural 'cause we were genuinely enjoying ourselves, eating and playing pranks on each other.   


A director you'd like to work with? 

Alia: Ayan Mukherjee

How do you take to criticism?

Alia: I think if one can accept praise, one should also accept criticism. Even if you don't believe in the criticism, you have a motivation to prove somebody wrong and that's the best feeling in the world, because that gives you the most drive.  


What does success mean to you?

Varun: Audience's love.  

Do you fear competition? Who is your biggest competition?

Alia: Without competition, there's no fun. Honestly, your biggest competition is with the last film you've done. If it is a hit, you try to make a bigger hit or at least as good as the first. Ninety percent of the time, the competition is with yourself and of course, looking at other people do good work, good films and make the right choices also inspires you to do the same. 

Varun: I second what she's said. I once told Hrithik how amazingly well he dances and acts, and he told me that the fact that you can see it in me and get inspired, means there's something of it within you. I think someone's success should always inspire you to believe that you can achieve it too. 


Of all your films, which has been the most special?

Alia: Each film, each experience gives you something different. It's tough to pick one. It's like having to choose between your kids. But I definitely feel each film changes you as a person and that process started for me with HighwayThat has been my biggest changeover as a person and as an actor. While all films are very close to my heart, Highway remains exceptionally special. 


Varun, would you do an adult comedy if offered? 

Honestly, I would have a lot of apprehension for the fact that Student of The Year and Main Tera Hero have brought along young fan following, most of who are children. I wouldn't want to disappoint them. May be I'd have done it earlier but not now.
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya (2014) - Review

Unlike so many remakes and rehashes (many of which only make you squirm) of Bollywood's most loved films, this modern-day spin to the classic DDLJ has a charm, a soul of its own. A cracker of a love story with a sparkling chemistry between the leads, Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya entertains all along. It revives happy memories of all those filmi love stories we've grown up watching (and fancied) over the years. If you're a sucker for Bollywood films, how can you miss this one!

Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt win you over with their honest, unbridled performances. Humpty Sharma is no hero. He plays the boy-next-door, who woos his girl and her family, with an affectionate innocence and is unlike any other character we've seen in a long time. While Highway helped Alia Bhatt show her range as an actor (after she could've unapologetically been forgotten post a film like SOTY), 2 States and Humpty... let her prove her versatility even in the commercial genre. As Kavya, she effuses genuine verve and just the right amount of sass and spunk. It's one thing to get the right kind of opportunities (even if you come from a filmi background) and quite another to play your cards right. The world is her oyster. I hope she continues to surprise. 

The interesting part about Humpty... is while it's an out-and-out commercial film, our actors don't play it loud or hammy. Supporting characters are not mere props in the film. Humpty's friends (Sahil Vaid and Gaurav Pandey) evoke the loudest laughs. Ashutosh Rana, playing Alia's father, balances the stern and the skeptical with convincing ease. 

Except the borrowed 'Saturday' and the amazingly redone 'Samjhawan' (originally sung by Rahet Fateh Ali Khan), the music is mostly forgettable.

I won't be surprised to see Humpty... turn out the top grosser of the year. Have you seen the film? How did you like it? Let's talk in the comments below. You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Conversation With Vidya Balan: 'Kahaani' & 'Bobby Jasoos' are my most special films


'Detective' Vidya with actor Ali Fazal at Ambience
Mall, Gurgaon to promote 'Bobby Jasoos'.
A disarming smile and indubitable charisma make it hard not to take an instant liking to the 36-year old actress, as she walks in, with an unaffected ease and grace galore. From being labeled a "jinx" down South, years back, to resuscitating the woman-centric phenomenon in Hindi films to earning a National Award and a Padam Shree, Vidya Balan has aced the road less traveled.

We talk to the actress about what's different then and now, her upcoming film 'Bobby Jasoos' (releasing July 4) and more!


What’s the hardest part about being a celebrity?


Vidya Balan: I think the invasion of privacy and the prying eyes all the time. I genuinely love people and being with people. Being a public figure, I know people will speculate about us. And I'm open to talk about things and enjoy the fame that comes with it but there are things that are very personal. When someone crosses that line, is the only time I get a little irritated. 

From being rejected in the Tamil and Malayalam film industry, to being of the most celebrated actors in the Hindi film industry, how has Vidya changed as a person and as an actor?


Vidya Balan: I have just realized that all that happens, happens for the best. When we’re going through tough times or when things aren’t going the way we expect them, we are frustrated and disillusioned. But it all works out even better than we’d imagined and I think that’s been the biggest lesson. I am generally a happy person. I like to be around happy people. I look for reasons to smile. Life gives us enough reasons but I think we choose to focus on the not-so-good reasons. I have come to understand that and become more positive over the years.
  

Of all your films, which is the most special?


Vidya Balan: I have had the opportunity to work on some amazing films but I think Kahaani, for one, is extremely close to my heart. I felt that the pregnant stomach I was carrying was actually the film. Kahaani was my baby. And here, in Bobby Jasoos I've been made to feel like a baby. (smiles). The producers - Diya (Mirza) and Sahil (Sangha), the director Samar(Sheikh), the writer Sanyukta (Shaikh) took care of me and every single person on the set. Bobby Jasoos is a story that touches your heart, makes you smile, makes you laugh. It's a fun family entertainer. It is one of my most precious experiences, even as an actor.

Tell us about your character in Bobby Jasoos


Vidya Balan: The beauty of Bobby is she’s very one of us, very real, very aam. She’s not shatir (cunning). She’s untrained. Unlike your Sherlock Holmes, Byomkesh Bakshi, Karamchand, her approach is very simple. Her presence of mind, street smartness are striking. She’s a go-getter. 

Of the 12 different looks I've donned in the film, the jyotish one, with those dirty buck teeth, paan-stained teeth was the funniest to me. Every time I would speak, some sound would come out of my mouth, because of the gaps in the teeth, which would make me laugh and the teeth would fall out. 

Slightly difficult was playing a maulvi, where you'll see me wearing me a pagree (turban), with a beard and thick bushy eyebrows and there was something in my nose to make it look broader. There was teeth, there was mustache, there was beard, and there was a body suit in which I had to run and do some stunts. 

Your last two films weren't received too well. How important is it that Bobby Jasoos works for you?


Vidya Balan: Every film working is important and its disheartening when you’ve worked so hard on something and it doesn’t work well but I didn't really worry about Shaadi ke Side Effects just because Ghanchakkar didn't work. Similarly, I'm not worried about Bobby Jasoos because Ghanchakkar or Shaadi Ke Side Effects didn't work. Every film has its fate and there's a reason they say it. We've done whatever was humanly possible. In fact, I watched the film yesterday, and we all felt we've put in our best. Isse zyada kuch karne ko hai nahi… ab bas divine intervention ki zaroorat hai (laughs).
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ek Villain (2014) Review

Ek Villain sticks out like a sore thumb of all the films I've seen so far this year. The contrived thriller is predictable from the word go. Mohit Suri spends two hours taking you back and forth, in a scarcely gratifying execution. I sat there amazed at the idiocy of the plot. What a waste of actors in a story that's lame, and sometimes unintentionally hilarious. The 70ish dialoguebaazi is cliched and tediously repellent; characters that make even some of those in television soaps look good (like our mafia don Remo Fernandes). What was the director smoking? 

Shraddha Kapoor is a pleasant surprise. She's likeable as the bubbly, do-gooder Aisha. It was tough to concentrate as the smolderingly good-looking Sidharth Malhotra spoke when I interviewed him last week. It's as hard looking away when he's on screen. His scant dialogues made it easier. I could un-guiltily stare away. [And gush and swoon as he went shirtless (twice ;-)] For a two-film actor, this was a decent performance, but despite my gooey love for him, he seemed to be trying too hard. His best is yet to come and he won't be long! Ritesh Deshmukh is good playing the unforgiving baddie. If only he had better lines. His backstory is silly, dialogues sillier, and his wife? Never mind!

The only resurrecting grace is Aisha and Guru's (Sidharth) love story that weaves in enough mush and romance to keep you going, with ever so listenable music.
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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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