I clearly remember the day when our late PM, Mr Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. Do you recall any such gruesome moment that makes you question the politics and its terror?
I've had so many. I've had a lot of people that have passed away – the near and dear ones. But I don't really get affected by politics and I am not too politically inclined. Not to sound uneducated. I am not trying to say that I am uneducated or unaware. I can't really speak too much about politics and would not like to comment on how I feel about politics in general.
So you're telling me that you are not at all interested in politics?
No. I didn't mean that. I did research mostly on my character because the film is inspired by what happened during the Sri Lankan-Tamil War. There was one particular person that was a big part of it. Her name was Anita Pratap. She was a journalist. I researched all of her work and I had no idea of anything else, except, I remember on TV when they shot Prabhakaran who used to be a rebel. As far as the history and politics of India, I really didn't know anything about it. We are very all about our country as I've come from America. John told me that a lot of Indians don't know about politics in their own country. He asked a disc-jockey who Rajiv Gandhi was and she didn't know. I almost started tearing. I mean, I do understand what he meant. But honestly, when we are young, we really don't care too much about politics and are busy trying to find the answer to – Who we are and what we are supposed to do with our life.
But just like Anita Pratap, Barkha Dutt and a few more, don't you think the real job of a journalist is to find out the truth and nothing but the truth?
Well, I think that the journalism that I am coming across when it has to do with this industry is a bunch of, excuse my language, is crap. And we want to read the gossip of what's happening in other peoples' lives. It's human psychology they say (laughs). But I don't know why it's saleable. Why do the youth know about Shah Rukh Khan or Katrina Kaif more than their ex- PM who got assassinated? I wish I knew what the youth learns about history.
So then, how was it to be a journalist?
I think it's a crazy job. You got to have some kind of passion for humanity because they are deliberately putting themselves in a place that they can get killed. I don't know if you would want to do that kind of a job. I think what these guys do is commendable. These women and men risk their lives and family to keep us aware of what's going inside the political world. It's amazing! For me, I feel everyone is so selfish in the world today. And look at these journalists – I would like to meet such people as they are too special for me. I want to meet someone who does that for a living.
I want to know! When I was very young, I wanted to join the army just like John's character in the movie. My mom had a heart attack, not quite (laughs). When you are coming out of high school they say – Do you want to join the military and all. But you know there is a possibility that I could die and I didn't go that route.
You've done quality cinema more than commercial – Rockstar and Madras Cafe.
I could've done that but I don't know how to explain myself. Ok, I rather do quality than quantity. I rather do something that feels good or I feel connected to. I didn't plan to come into this career choice and now that I have decided to stay, I have no pressures here. I don't need the feel to hurry here. Also, there is a whole learning process that comes along. I want to try everything and I am brushing my Hindi. Rockstar wasn't just an eye candy for me. It was a launch that was unbelievable. For me who wasn't prepared, it was positive and negative. To tell you the truth I've just started watching movies, renting it out and sometimes, I lose the jokes (laughs). So yes, I am taking it slow but sure will do quality stuff.
Do you easily come out of your character after doing an intense film like Madras Cafe?
My character isn't too intense to come out. But depending on what kind of an actor you are, when you are acting, and for those who are so great somehow become that character. During Rockstar, I was new and had less friends here and I spent a lot of time with Imtiaz and Ranbir. So yes, I was in character but I also took a long break in between that helped me come out of it. Ranbir's a great actor and he gets sucked in. But when you jump from one film to the other, I often wonder how actors go in and come out of characters. But the most beautiful experience while working in a movie is to marinate yourself in the character and that fantasy – funny or tragic.
How much have you started to like this Hindi Film Industry?
The art of acting is very interesting. It's fulfilling. As a child I wanted to be somebody different every day. My mother went berserk. There are other perks – learning and working with so many different people. I've learnt a piece of history in Madras Cafe. I feel I have gained so much more and I can have a conversation with people on what happened and how it happened. As for business in Bollywood, I don't like that. I am an artist. I don't know what people think about me but I don't like fame. I am a normal person. I paint, I sketch, I draw, blah blah blah. I don't like people all up in my business and s***. You know what I mean? Wanna know what colour underwear I wear and whether I've dug my nose (laughs). I don't like such a business (laugh).