Though Sidharth Malhotra is merely six films-old, he’s forged a place for himself in Bollywood. His latest release, Baar Baar Dekho under-performed at the box-office, but that hasn’t discouraged the young actor. We caught up with Sidharth for a quick chat. Excerpts:
After six films, how much of an insider do you feel like in Bollywood?
Well, I’m more comfortable now than I was earlier. But, I’ve always felt welcome in this film industry. So when you ask if I feel like an insider, I first need to know what an outsider in the industry feels like. I’ve never been surrounded by too many people; in that sense I’ve never really sought a wider acceptance. But, whomever I’ve met and worked with have been very warm. Otherwise, I’m consumed by my own self.
You mean you enjoy your own company?
Maybe. But I never feel like an outsider with the people I work with. We’re all thorough professionals, and we’re all insiders when working together. But we don’t share the kind of bonding I keep hearing about from Karan Johar. The times he said in the earlier days when the whole of the film industry bonded. Woh culture hi badal gaya.
You’ve made unusual choices as an actor. Is there a sense of disappointment when the choice fails you?
I never question my choices. I only question certain methods and processes in the movie-making business. I think after failures, I’ve come out more experienced and slightly wiser.
You have a huge fan following among women. Is that a strategy to get whole of families into theatres?
Ha! No strategy. I’m just doing films that have a story to tell that I believe in. I grew up watching only good stories on screen. Back home in Delhi, we weren’t regular movie goers. We were in no way connected to the movie industry. Our connection with the industry was the Bollywood blockbusters. I saw my mother watching movies of Yash Chopra and Amitabh Bachchan. And I grew up in the Shah Rukh Khan era.
Now you’re hobnobbing with them…
Yes, now I’m a part of that dream world. I have so much to be grateful for and happy about. So, when I feel that a film not working for me is a setback, I look back with a sense of wonder, and then I’m okay.
When did you decide you wanted to be an actor?
Initially when I came to Mumbai, I tried my luck as an actor. I met Anubhav Sinha and he was going to make a film in collaboration with Adlabs. But that didn’t work out, as he got busy with Ra. One. After that, I started questioning my decision to be an actor. My parents in Delhi wondered what I was doing with my life. Yahan log aate hain actor banneke liye (People come here to be actors). I started assisting Karan Johar on My Name is Khan. People like Abhishek Burman, and Puneet Malhotra assisting at Dharma wanted to be directors. At that time, I never thought Karan would launch me as an actor. Life has a funny way of working out for you.
You were even compared to an early Big B in Student of The Year.
I still don’t know how to react to that. It’s taken Mr Bachchan years and years to get where he is. Such talk got even more intense when I did Ek Villain. Maybe because I was playing someone older than I am, with a very troubled life.
Whether it’s Katrina Kaif, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, good-looking actors have a problem taking their talent seriously.
(Laughs) I’ve been lucky to be praised for my work. Yes, there were uncharitable remarks for Baar Baar Dekho, but I guess that happens when a film doesn’t work. We, as people, thrive on negativity.