Talking to us, he shares his apprehensions about being the main lead in Jashnn, his relationship with Mahesh Bhatt, his conviction in director duo Raksha Mistry and Hasnain Hyderabadwala and how, in spite of a Haal-E-Dil and a Raaz - The Mystery Continues behind him, he still considers Jashnn as his real launch pad!
Win of an underdog, is that the best way to describe Jashnn?
I would probably say that. It is a small film as far as the budget is concerned. However, content wise it is big. It's a beautiful story put together which is emotionally quite rich. (Mahesh) Bhatt saab has extracted beautiful performances from everyone.
The film is being widely publicized as a film about 'a nobody who wants to be somebody'.
And that's just the apt way to describe the film. See, we all have dreams and want to become something in life. Aakash, the character I play, wants to become rock star. Jashnn is the story about his struggle, how he achieves success and his relationship with his sister (Shahana Goswami) who is someone's (Humayun Saeed) mistress.
Raksha (Mistry) and Hasnain (Hyderabadwaala) have earlier suffered two setbacks in the form of The Killer and The Train. Weren't you worried about signing Jashnn?
For me there were three factors that made me sign Jashnn. a) It was a film being made under Vishesh Films banner, b) Raksha and Hasnain for sure know their job and c) My own debut film Haal-E-Dil was a flop. You know, people grow with experience and I knew at the bottom of my heart that Raksha and Hasnain would be eager to give a hit and they would work even harder in Jashnn. I believed in their conviction; I still do!
So in a way, is Jashnn a launchpad for you?
Yes, this is indeed my launch pad. It's my first solo film and now I have got full opportunity to prove myself as an actor. (Mahesh) Bhatt saab has been an immense helping hand. In fact it was scary for me while doing the film because I had an entire film on my shoulders. I knew that I couldn't afford to mess up and I sincerely hope that the film does well. I am nervous and anxious because people would be scrutinizing me differently this time around. They are bound to say that Raaz - The Mystery Continues worked because it had bigger stars like Emraan (Hashmi) and Kangna.
With you continuing to work with Bhatts, is there a case of a 'camp' building in?
There are quite a few people who ask me if I believe in camps. Well, my answer to that is 'yes'. Indeed there is a camp system in the industry. It is in fact very difficult to break into camp and work with people there. So, if I am a part of the Bhatt camp, I am proud of that. In fact when I work in the outside banners, I would look at similar treatment in their films as well. I got a family like treatment from the Bhatts and they love and respect you like anything. I am spoiled now.
Raksha and Hasnain have been mentioned stating that Jashnn is an absolute original work by them. Is that indeed true?
Yes, it is a very-very original film and not a copy of anything. In fact it is also a lot about Bhatt saab's own experiences in life. He was very close to the story because it is about people who want to be somebody. He in fact even helped writing the scenes by bringing in his own personal experiences.
When Mukesh Bhatt commissioned Jashnn, what were some of the guiding principles for you before you got started with the film?
First and foremost, it was very important for me to be focused. I couldn't have let my focus get diverted. Jashnn is a very difficult film as far as acting is concerned due to heavy emotions and drama. However, when you have Bhatt saab there on the sets to take care of acting, you don't get much worried. After all he can bring emotions out of a rock.