I think that your performance in Pyaar Mein Kabhie Kabhie is a difficult one to topple. Do you agree?
In certain context Yes but as I have grown as an actor I've learnt the nuances of acting. In Pyaar Mein Kabhie Kabhie I was really raw. It was natural and spontaneous. I had just finished college at that time so cannot associated myself with the script. Now things have changed. I think that my role in Rakht was very good too because I had never portrayed such a character which was negative. That role required a lot of concentration and focus to get the violent side of me out on the camera which isn't easy. Tom Dick and Harry was my first take on comedy. I hope all my roles are difficult for me to topple because I want to keep getting better.
How far is it true that the Indian Film Industry is a male dominated industry?
It is a male dominated industry for sure, and if you ask me why then it's very simple. The average audience only wants to see a hero who is their much loved actor. Yes, they do want to see an actress along with the actor but for them the hero is the most important in any film. I did a film called Gunaah in which I talk only after the first half and seeing this I got a crazy feedback from my fans. So, it's our audiences which actually want to see a male protagonist in every film.
You've done a few films with Bipasha Basu. Are you looking forward to work with her again?
After Raaz, everyone said that the 'jodi' is nice, so we did Rakht followed by Ishq Hai Tumse and Gunaah. It came to a point that it had reached its saturation because we were doing one film after the other. So, it was a conscious decision of not working together for a year or two and then come back as it might generate more interest amongst our fans. As a matter of fact, my director-partner came up with a script that only Bipasha could portray. So, it will be her first film under my production house. We are still in talks, so let's see what's in store for us. Bipasha has grown at an alarming rate. The work I see three years ago and now is the proof that how matured, talented and professional she has become in her acting abilities.
You were a professional model till you became an actor, which means that you are more clothes conscious and know the style and the trend in the market. In films, do you select your own outfits?
Whenever I am given a script to read, I read it. Then, I sit with my stylist or whoever is designing my clothes for the film. We discuss the whole look and only work the look according to the character I am playing. From shoes to the accessories, from belts to the colour combinations, I am very particular in what I wear. As an actor, I am generating more interest in it off late because it is very important to give the right look in the film.
You've shot Aap Ki Khatir in the U.K. What are the advantages of filming overseas?
Firstly, it's finance. The British Government is right now giving fantastic subsidies to producers who come and film here. So, it works out good in terms of the cost of making a film which otherwise would have been high. Secondly, they come here and shoot in summer because of the daylight as the days are longer and we can shoot till 8pm. The air, environment and the surroundings are more suited for filming and look grandeur on screen. Strangely, it should be easier to film in your own country but that's not the case in India.
What are your forthcoming projects?
I've got Bhram which is made by Pawan Kaul who made Ssshhh. It's a very interesting screenplay written by a lady who wrote Black (Bhavani Iyer) and is produced by Magna Production. Then there is 'Anamika' directed by Anant Mahadevan who made Aksar. I'm also a part of a Sanjay Gupta film titled Dus Kahaniyan where you will see me in a fifteen minute short story called Sex on the Beach shot in Goa. It's got ten different stories and I am enacting in one of them. Interestingly, the story of Sex on the Beach is directed by Apoorva Lakhia. When I was first approached to play in one of the stories, I wittily told Apoorva - "Is there lots of sex in the film?" My co-star in the film is a new comer from South Africa, Tarina Patel.
Name a co-star from whom you've learnt a lot while filming?
Honestly, I haven't learnt anything from my co-stars. I only learn from what I see, what I hear and my life experiences. I learn a lot from the different films I watch. I've worked with Mahima Choudhary, Karisma Kapoor, Bipasha and many more, and they all have been wonderful. We talk and exchange ideas but at the end of the day I have to listen to my director because he is the one who gives the final call.
Who is your favourite actress?
I love Madhuri Dixit because there is something about her which is really amazing. Then there is Kajol whose bubbly behaviour comes across on screen so well. As far as yesteryears actresses are concerned, I like Madhubala and Nargis.
Who is your favourite actor?
Undoubtedly, it has to be Amitabh Bachchan. What a personality he has! Aamir Khan who is very choosy and any film he touches is a hit which makes him highly intelligent.
You will be seen at the IIFA awards taking place in Yorkshire in two weeks time. What is so different about awards taking place overseas and at home?
There is not much of a difference but if you look closely, you get a lot of freedom. It's like a picnic where there are different events taking place in a four day extravaganza. And on the final day, the big event unfolds - the awards ceremony. Walking down the red carpet is also special because you've got the international media too writing about our Indian Film Industry's growth and progress it has made. It's all about having a good time. IIFA has become a brand name thanks to its organisers. I am looking forward to visit Yorkshire and have a blast.
Rate from five to one your favourite films you've acted in.
Fifth will have to be Rakth because of the negative character I played in it. Fourth is Holiday because I enjoyed every bit of shooting the film, it was great fun. Third is Aksar because of its good music. In second position will be Raaz, my first big success which got myself established in the industry and the winner is Pyaar Mein Kabhie Kabhie because it's my debut film. No matter what the fate of the film was, I will attach the highest importance to it.
What's your dream role?
I am dying to do an out and out action flick because I am well suited for it and I know I can pull it off.
Any director in particular you are looking forward to work with in the near future?
Some of the new guys are fantastic. From Anurag Basu to Farhan Akhtar. I'd love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Karan Johar. They all are successful and make great movies even though some of them are completely taken off from another film. At the end of the day what matters is that their films do well.