He made his debut as a lovestruck teenager in Manisha Koirala starrer Ek Chhotisi Love Story way back in 2002, when he was just 14. The film stirred a lot of controversy at that time for its bold subject.
Twelve years later Aditya Seal returned to the silver screen as a chocolate boy in Purani Jeans but the film fizzled at the box office. Now, with Anubhav Sinha's Tum Bin 2, the actor is looking forward to carve a place for himself in Bollywood.
In a candid chat, the actor bares his heart about insecurities, failures, SRK's piece of advice to him and much more.
Excerpts from the interview..
Q. How was it working for Tum Bin 2?
A. It was very good. To be honest, there is too much to talk about the experience. It was fun shooting for it. We underwent workshops for about 45 days and shot at some very beautiful locations. We used to party hard every Saturday as Sunday used to be a holiday. (laughs)
Q. Bollywood keeps on churning romantic films. What do you think is the USP of Tum Bin 2?
A. The music is the USP because it takes the story forward and gels really well. There is some freshness to it.
Q. Your co-star Aashim Gulati told us that you bonded with him really well on the sets. So, what do you think was the highlight of the film, the romance or the bromance?
A. If you could shoot the bromance then Tum Bin 2 wouldn't exist like it does. (laughs) We were a house on fire. I will tell you something about the toughest day. There was a very intense scene between me and Ashim. So, we decided not to talk to each other to get the scene right. However, for some reason we couldn't shoot the scene the same day.
So, I went up to him and was like okay, we are not shooting today so what's up. He looked at me but didn't speak. I said what's wrong with you. He told me that he isn't talking to me till we finish shooting that scene. I was like are you crazy? We are so used to talking to each other.
Q. Were you ever insecure that you are sharing screen space with him?
A. Absolutely not. The reason is because we both understand the fact that if we do that then, we might hamper the film in some way. We were concentrating on the final product as opposed to trying to cut off each other's roles. Our roles are very well defined. There is no way that I can eat into his space or he can into mine.
Q. You did a film called Ek Chottisi Love Story. In one of your recent interviews you were quoted saying that you weren't aware what was happening in the film at that point of time. So, do you have any regrets or is there something that you would want to change about that phase?
A. No regrets at all. I was 14 years old when I did that film. Three-four years ago, I happened to meet Anil Kapoor Sir when he was shooting. He was just sitting and I went up to him for a small talk. During our conversation, I told him that I was the guy in that film, he was like 'Oh my god, you are that boy!'.
So why should I regret doing that film if somebody like him can remember it?
Q. Your last movie Purani Jeans didn't work at the box office. So, what kept you motivated in that phase?
A. It was very difficult to keep myself motivated. I do take life seriously but not that much that I would just ruin myself or anything because of failure. But yes, it was a very bad phase where I was sitting at home with no work and watching films all the time. My mother was worried for me and she even told my dad to let me join his business instead.
But, my father kept me motivated. He told my mother that his film didn't do well but nobody criticized him in the film. He has potential but needs some time. So, his words kept me motivated. He never pushed me to join his business at all.
Q. So, what kind of roles are you looking forward to post this film?
A. I have trained in martial arts from South Korea. So I want to explore the action genre. But next, I would like to do something like Bachna Ae Haseeno. It's fun where the actor has a lot to perform with beautiful songs and exotic locations. Maybe Ranbir performed so well in that film that I felt that this is something what I need to do. I would also love to do a film like Shahrukh Khan's Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.
Q. What inspired you to become an actor?
A. My biggest inspiration to become an actor was Rang De Basanti. It's my favourite film. Another one was Dil Chahta Hai. I was in college when that film released and I could so relate to each and other character. I really work to work with Farhan Akhtar.
Q. Any directors in your wishlist?
A. Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I think he not only makes fantastic films but also takes you through a process which helps you in understanding cinema better. I want to work with Rajkumar Hirani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra..the list goes on..
Q. Which actresses who would you love to share screen space with?
A. Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt. They are fabulous. I find Deepika hot.
Q. While you are known to be quite candid in your interviews, do you think that would change once you are in the radar that every actor enters when he is a known face?
A. I am not even thinking about it right now. I have kept myself away from all that kind of pressure right now. But I know the kind of pressures that people deal with is immense. So maybe, when the time comes, probably I will learn and grow to it.
I remember Shahrukh Khan Sir telling me something. I met him at Anubhav Sir's party. We had some political discussion going on and he said that he wouldn't say a comment like that. People were curious to know why. He said that he knew it was correct to say but he doesn't want thousands of them to get affected because of him. He would rather keep shut for than just speak. So there was this one great thing that I learnt from him which was 'when to say what.'
Q. What inspires you the most in Shahrukh Khan?
A. He is so inspiring. I remember his word of advice to me when I was once clicking a picture with him at a party. He said, 'Khoobsurat toh gulaab bhi hote hai par woh hero nahin hote.' What he meant was just don't be a pretty face..be a lot more than that! Those words stayed with me.
Q. Lastly, tell us one thing that you learnt about yourself after doing Tum Bin 2?
A. Of course I learnt a lot. I have become more mature as a person. I think I have understood life a lot more.