It must be terrific to be back on the big screen, isn't it?
Absolutely. As an actor, you want to be doing good films, playing good characters, meeting people who make you feel positive about yourself. I feel resurrected today, I feel blessed. I don't think I had gone anywhere. I had just taken a break which was something that was needed for me as an actor. I had to change things in my life and grow up. It can't get better than this to be back with Heartless.
And that too with your father…
Exactly. This is a dream that I saw with my father. The kind of support that he gave me, I really hope that I don't let him down. I really hope that the film does well for me and for my father. He is one of the finest directors that the country will see. For his first film, he has done a phenomenal job. As an actor, I feel so numb to be directed by him.
Are you nervous though? After all, you got some good response as an actor for Jashnn as well as Raaz – The Mystery Continues.
It was feedback that came my way from these films that made me confident enough when I started work on Heartless. However prior to that, I had also started questioning myself. After all, at just an age of 22, I had got such good reviews. This is the reason why not just me but many people around me also never understood why I didn't get the kind of films that I deserved. I didn't know what had happened. I got frustrated that after being critically acclaimed, I had to be sitting at home. These three years have been very tough.
So how do you feel in retrospect?
I learnt a lot from my failure. When I look back, I feel these failures were the best things that happened with me. I learnt a lot about me, my family, industry, what works, what doesn't, how people behave when you are successful and how they turn their back when you are not. I had a moderate success with Raaz – The Mystery Continues and then I saw failure with Jashnn. This is when the industry stopped calling me.
I feel this is a subject chosen by God. He had this plan for me. This film is very close to my heart. Also, I want to put it on record that it is not a copy of any film. It is not a remake either. It has just taken a core theme of Awake with a completely different screenplay. It is such an emotional journey of a boy; it is about this relationship between a mother and a son. Only when people will watch the film, they would realize what this is all about. Of course there is this huge romantic angle to it with some really amazing songs. Then there are some thrill elements to it as well.
A film like this works primarily on its emotional quotient, isn't it?
Yes, the last 25 minutes of the film would put you through a tremendous emotional roller coaster ride. In real life too, the film has been a very emotional journey for my family. See, people may think that it was easy to make a movie. They may think that here is this rich father who has made this film for his son. It wasn't that simple though. We wanted to create something different; we had our own challenges with finances. Those who offered to back the film either wanted to change the director or the actor. It sometimes got really frustrating for us. Still, we fought against all odds.
Was it like an impulsive decision to have your dad as the director?
Even before Heartless was planned, I told my father that 'Dad, the day you direct you would be one of the best directors around'. People will understand that to make a film like Heartless, you have to think from the heart. It is a very difficult subject; it is not about a guy with six packs and a sports car to boast of. When you see the screenplay, thrills, editing pattern – everything has been so different from the kind of films being made today. It is an emotionally deep movie. Only my dad could have made it.