Let's get this straight – Is there going to be a debate or an upsurge about drinking while I interview you?
(Laughs) Do you want to? But my concern here is, and I want to be very clear about this – In my eyes, this is not a discussion about drinking. It's a discussion about legal rights, constitutional rights and civil liberties. Here in particular they are trying to make it a law. The intention of the Government is correct. They have this policy that tries to stop people becoming addicted to alcohol. This is a step in the same direction. While I support this move, the way they are doing it is incorrect. For me, it's a very slippery slope. It's like in order to protect your health, the Government will tell you when to drink. Does that mean they will also say that in order to protect women we will tell them how to dress? I also want to protect women from being raped but I can't tell them what to and what not to wear. Similarly, you can't tell people how much more or less they should drink. But we have to reduce the consumption and that's just being responsible.
In remember that in 2007/2008 a few laws were passed in London – one was not to smoke in public places and the second one was not to drink on the streets. The law was implemented quickly and the citizens of that country followed it because they do fear the law and order there. Do you think we in India even implement law and order?
You are right. In India, we don't follow law and order. We do many things the illegal way. More so than what's legal or what the law says. We lack implementation. Firstly, let's understand how this thing came into effect. In 1949, under the Bombay Prohibition Act it prohibits the consumption of all alcohol. Way back in 2005 another law was passed that is in effect. Flash forward to 2011, the same law wasn't implemented. In 2011 they wanted to alter the same law that was passed. So even the law didn't know what was right for the citizens. If we regulate the way alcohol is served, to whom it is served is a far better policy rather than busting private parties, etc.
Firstly, I am not an Indian citizen as of now. I have a U.S. passport. But the fact is, as an Indian, as a person who has everything invested here – my family, my house, etc., if something is bothering me and if something is working in favour of the people of our country, I will take a stand for it. If not, I will shut up. I've always believed in that. In this case I filed the PIL. I wanted to encourage the people to be more responsible. That will encourage others too. People sit and bitch about the system but no one stands for it. I want people to take a stand. It's been a year and a half since I have filed my petition but it took this long for things to start.
I remember you telling me in an interview that you'd love to open a very vintage British style like pub in Mumbai. Are you still contemplating?
(Laughs) Yes I do remember. This was after you saw my picture in a British pub shot by Avinash Gowariker. But honestly, I am not considering to open it. A few of my friends are in hospitality business. One of them has got this huge place spread over three levels. The cops would come in every night and create problems for him. The next day they come and tell him that he can't serve alcohol in the music area. Then they say you are only allowed to have twelve couples drinking. I mean, it's just become a money making racket. I have also seen that an average citizen on the street is happily screwed over by the Government for a few rupees. If you have five rupees, I'll take your five rupees. If you have five hundred, I'll take five hundred. So what are you left with? Nothing.
This discussion's getting heavy. Let's lighten it up. You are paired again with Punit, your favourite Kareena and Dharma in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein…
For me, this film is really fun. As you said, I am paired with my favourite actress Bebo, my friend Punit for the second time and back with Dharma for the third time. It has become like a family production house. I can't wait to get started on Gori Tere Pyaar Mein.
Getting into the skin of the character is a tough act for Indian actors. How are you planning to push the envelope by playing a South Indian guy in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein?
Not for this film, No. Gori Tere Pyaar Mein is a fun film like I said. It's light and we don't really have to go too deep into our South Indian element. Having said that, I had to do it in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again. Gori Tere Pyaar Mein is a slightly elevated reality. All Punit and I discussed was to make my character slightly funny and real at the same time.
Your first look was out days ago from Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Again. What's the feedback you've been getting?
The film is turning out really well. I was very nervous about the first look because it's an action scene and that too with Akshay Kumar. Now that's daunting (laughs). I have been getting positive feedback from the first look. Hope the same continues with the film's release.