The Bengali version of Anuranan did very well in Calcutta...
It was released in Calcutta and was a stupendous success. It ran for about 100 days.
Was that the reason behind dubbing it in Hindi and re-releasing it?
It was originally a small release; not a big release. By re-releasing it in Hindi we could cater to the non-Bengali audience and Bengalis in the other parts of the country will also be able to enjoy it.
Films have two kinds of languages — one is the spoken language and one is the cinematic language. So, I too was quite intrigued with the thought of dubbing the film in Hindi.
What does Anuranan mean and what is the film all about?
It means resonance between people, when two people are at the same wavelength. Its a very non-formula film. It raises the question: can a married person have a really fulfilling friendship with a member of the opposite sex without it being sexual?
But do you feel it is possible for a married person to have a healthy friendship with a person of the opposite sex?
It depends on the wisdom and the history of a couple. There is no limit to the kind of friendship one can have outside marriage; provided it is within the borders of the vows you have taken when you get married.
Do you have married women as friends?
Yes, I have a couple of them.
Do their husbands ever feel insecure about you?
No, I dont think so (laughs).
In your forthcoming film, Aparna Sens The Japanese Wife, your character shares a very platonic relationship with his wife whom he marries through letters. Do you feel a long-distance marriage can survive in real life?
Well it depends on what you expect out of marriage. If you only have emotional needs from the marriage, it certainly can.
This film comes on the heels of Mr and Mrs Iyer and 15 Park Avenue — Aparna Sen seems to be very fond of you as a director.
I dont know. But I am happy to be working with her again. She is an actors delight.
Of all the directors you have worked with so far, who do you think have extracted the best out of you?
Dev Benegal, Santosh Sivan, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Aparna (Sen).
As a director, why has there been such a long gap after Everybody Says I Am Fine?
Because I had great movies to act in. But now I will be directing a film soon. I will talk about it in about six months.
You have done quite a few Bollywood films of late, albeit largely in Hinglish. How comfortable are you with Hindi?
I may say that I am superbly comfortable in Hindi but the audiences might feel I am not. So it is for the audience to decide.
People loved you in comedies like Bombay Boys, Jhankaar Beats, Pyar Ke Side Effects. You are also doing another comedy film, Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam. Do you fear being slotted as a comedy actor?
I have also finished Before The Rains with Santosh Sivan which is an arthouse film — its a thriller set in Kerala of the 1930s. I have finished Japanese Wife with Aparna Sen which is an emotional arthouse movie. I have finished Shaurya which is a courtroom drama set in the army. Which of these is a comedy?
But do you feel there is a shift in your career from offbeat comedies like Bombay Boys, Jhankaar Beats to more mainstream comedies like PKSE and now Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam?
No. I think its just people like you who have no patience who make trends out of two films. I dont feel there is any shift at all. It is one out of many other films I am doing.
Are you more comfortable working with someone like Konkona who comes from the same school of acting as you?
It is your duty as an actor to be extremely comfortable with your co-star even if your co-star is from a different school. It is your duty to come on the set with an open mind and have a tremendous working relationship with whoever you are working with.
What keeps you single at 40? Are your standards too high or are you commitment phobic?
There are so many other wonderful and interesting things to do in life which will make me grow — whether its a new role, rugby or the social foundations I am associated with. I think women are pretty low on my priority list right now. I am very happy about it.
How does it feel to be a thinking womans sex symbol?
I suppose it feels good. But I dont want to be anyones sex symbol. I just want to be appreciated for my work.