Pack a punch
Read more below
- Published 16.12.10
Your January release Fighter is the first film from your production house Grassroot Entertainment. How did you like being a producer?
Well, you can’t be a producer without being hassled. It’s not that you become experienced and your troubles lessen. It only increases and you get used to it. I try not to get disturbed by all this. There are certain areas of production, like accounts, I won’t get into. If I do I will become an accountant, not an actor. But I am loving both production and acting. I would like to grow as a producer.... For Fighter, I teamed up with director Ravi Kinnagi and producer Nitesh Sharma, who’s a good friend. I want to produce more films though I may not necessarily act in them because production is a different ball game.
How did you get that toned body?
I have got an eight pack. I’ve been working on my body for the last two years and before starting work on Fighter I felt I could achieve an eight pack. It was an intense workout process, from weight training to cardio. I would work out three hours a day. I was on a painful diet of boiled vegetables and chicken for three months. I didn’t have salt for 25 days! The look is for the role of Indra, a college boy. He is a fun-loving guy next-door who doesn’t care for anything in the world apart from his family. Then a girl (Shrabanti) comes into his life and there’s a crisis. How he overcomes it is what the film is all about.
You struggled in Mumbai before finding your feet in Tollywood. Then there was a lull in your career but you bounced back again. Are you finally on steady ground?
See, in different phases of your life you struggle in different ways. In Bombay, I was struggling to get work, to survive.... When I got work here, I struggled hard to make it work. Now I am struggling to be a good producer. Struggle is never over. When you stop dreaming, you stop struggling and you stagnate. I dream a lot. I want to do 100 films — I’ve done 30 till now. Only then will I feel I have achieved something. I get very irritated when I can’t deliver. I am inspired by actors like Hrithik Roshan and Suriya, and I feel there’s so much left for me to achieve. Also, I would like to do different kinds of films in future, maybe with new directors like Srijit (Mukherjee) and not just Rituparno Ghosh or Goutam Ghose. At one point, there were talks with Rituparno but it didn’t work out. No regrets, I enjoy being a commercial film hero.
Your last three releases — Wanted, Josh and Dui Prithibi — have all been hits. Do you consider this a better phase than your Saathi days?
No. I won’t divide my career into two phases or as better and worse. Champion and Saathi was a different kind of fun and I really enjoyed it. I was so new and I tasted success... things were so rosy. Then I started getting used to it and then came a very difficult phase when I had no work. The way people would react and the way your fans are disappointed… I have gone through all that. So everything put together, the phase before my comeback was a good learning experience for me. About this current phase, I don’t know how long it’s going to last. But 2010 has been good. I see the smile back on people’s faces. My producers, directors and technicians meet me and greet me, and that puts me on top of the world!
Which is your favourite film among Wanted, Josh and Dui Prithibi?
All three are close to my heart but Wanted sealed my position once again in Tollywood, so I would rate it above the rest. Wanted is special because Jeet was a failure then. With Wanted, I won back the faith of people.
What kind of offers do you get now?
A lot of people tell me that I should try something different now. I don’t know what they mean by ‘different’ though.... There are a couple of interesting films. I am doing Raj Chakraborty’s Shatru, which is also very challenging because I play a cop for the first time. I am going to put my heart and soul into the film.
Raj must have really liked you in Dui Prithibi to cast you as the solo lead in Shatru...
Yes, but we are not seeing each other (laughs)! Before doing Dui Prithibi, Raj had told Shrikant (Mohta of Shree Venkatesh Films) that he would do the film only if I was there with Dev and Koel (Mallick) in the cast.
Are you doing a film starring Swastika, Dev and Soham, to be produced by Kaustuv Ray?
Well, Kaustuv had asked me whether I would be interested in it. I’ve said yes. But it’s at a very initial stage to talk about.
When do you plan to settle down?
Next year. My family is looking for a girl. Every year, I tell my family that I would get married next year!