When My Name Is Khan opened last Friday, a lot of people were surprised to see you in the film since you were not seen in the promos at all. What do you have to say about that?
Well...these things do not bother me. The strategy of who should feature in the promos and who shouldn't is entirely the makers' prerogative. Everyone knew that SRK and Kajol are the main protagonists of the film. Having said that, right from when I was offered the film, I knew I had an important role- that of Shahrukh's younger brother and I am glad I took it up. It always helps being a part of such a big film. I have been getting tremendous feedback and am really thankful to Karan for considering me for this role.
You have worked with some big directors like Gulzar saab, Aditya Chopra, Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. How was it working with Karan Johar for the first time?
I've wanted to work with Karan for a long time. In fact whenever we met, he used to tell me that when I have a suitable role for you I'll call you. So when I got a call for My Name Is Khan, I was really excited. As soon as I heard the script, I knew that I had to be a part of this film since the story had so much to say and plus it gave me an opportunity to work with Karan for the first time ever.
You starred with Shahrukh in Mohabbatein, which was among your first few films, almost 10 years ago. How was it re-uniting with him after such a long time?
Shahrukh has not changed one bit since the time we worked in Mohabbatein. I call him 'Superman' because there is nothing that is Impossible for him. He still exudes the same kind of enthusiasm and energy which he had almost 10 years ago and that is something which is truly remarkable. He is always concerned about the people he works with and was just like an elder brother to me on the sets.
Your co-star Soniya Jehan has also been appreciated a lot for her act. How was it working with her?
Fantastic...not just Soniya, every member of the cast knew exactly what his / her role was and gave 100%. Under Karan's guidance, the whole unit was completely focused and yet totally at ease.
A lot of actors shy away from doing supporting roles as they feel that it would affect their prospects of bagging a solo hero project. You, on the other hand, have been doing both solo hero films and multi-starrers simultaneously...
You are right...Right from my early days; I never had any inhibitions about the length of my role or any insecurity of being over-shadowed by any bigger actor. Be it in Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai or Eklavya, I have always done roles which may not be big in terms of length but are big in terms of impact. I believe that a role should be exciting enough to hold my interest and that is the only criteria I look at before signing a film.
You are currently shooting for yet another multi-starrer Excel Entertainment's Crooked. What kind of a film is that?
Crooked is a superb thriller directed by a very talented new director Abhinay Deo. There are a lot of brilliant actors like Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher etc... The film has quite a few parallel tracks running which are intertwined in a strange way. Since it's a thriller, I can't reveal much about the film but I'll say that I have a kick ass role. It's the kind of role I have never done before.
Besides Crooked, what else do you have in your kitty?
There is Johnny Mastana which is a gripping drama directed by Shoojit Sircar and stars Amitabh Bachchan, Dia Mirza etc. The film is complete and the producers UTV will be deciding on the release date soon. There is also Anjum Rizvi's Flat which is a very slick and stylish supernatural thriller starring Sanjay Suri and I. It is one of the most original stories that I have come across in the thriller genre. Besides these, I also have a Punjabi film Mel Kara De Rabba which should release sometime in April.