You have always been tagged as the intense actor after Ishaqzaade and Aurangzeb, and now you are opposite the enthusiastic Ranveer Singh… How did you match up to his energy levels?
Firstly, I am opposite Priyanka Chopra but I am really thrilled with the statement of being 'opposite' Ranveer Singh. I think we must date and we will be caught up in compromising positions now for this film's promotions (laughs). On a serious note, I am a very reserved person but I am a fun person on the sets and feel very comfortable and homely out there. But to be honest, I think now I have more energy than Ranveer does. I had my own reasons as to why this energetic side of me never came in the open before the film. During Ishaqzaade, I was going through hell as I had lost my mother then. And when I came to promote Aurangzeb, it was an intense film and my masti during events would have made the film look frivolous. Yahan main thoda raita faila sakta hoon because woh picture ka sur waisa hai. Also the fact that, I was sharing screen space with someone more energetic than I am made it much more fun. And we need his energy for the film as it's a high voltage drama. Picture mein energy thi and you get to see it. Moreover, I was showing a new facet of my personality. And since I am a fun person too, the energy naturally came in without any extra effort.
While Bikram and Bala fall for the same girl Nandita, has that ever been a real life situation for the off screen buddies Ranveer and Arjun?
I am very shy when it comes to women. Ranveer is very physically available for hugs and kisses but I am not like that. I am very touchy by heart. Probably the fact that he smiles and I don't makes him more approachable. But we have a 'bro-code' and we have never fallen for the same woman and I hope it never happens. Also, we have varied tastes. To be honest, I don't have a prototype. For me, it's more about how a woman carries herself rather than the physical aspect. Ranveer goes more with the visual aspect and I, on the other hand, would prefer to have someone I can have a conversation with. I take a long time to like somebody unlike Ranveer who is impulsive. I am incorrigible flirt but I am more subtle about it.
The film is written in such a way that Bikram and Bala are two sides of the same coin. Woh do jism ek jaan hai. That's why they fall for the same girl. You will see a difference and similarity between them at the same time. As far as comparisons are concerned, woh toh hona hi hai. You are comparing the film with Sholay and tomorrow if you start the comparisons with each other, we'll handle it. We ultimately want the film to do well and we'll all benefit from it.
Common interests and the secret behind bromance?
Bromance is 'in' boss! We have changed the dynamics of it completely. In our country, we might just get arrested for it. In real life, hum ek dusre ko tabse jaante the jab humein koi nahi jaanta tha. We used to speak about cars, food, films, and sports. We are big fans of football – he is an Arsenal fan and I am a Chelsea fan; obviously we have a tussle going on about that. We also talks about clothes. He thinks I am a spendthrift because I like spending money. He says I teach him the finer things of life like purchasing expensive underwear. Now he started Dolce & Gabbana underwear, thanks to me. Because when we were in Dubai, I told him that this was a nice place to shop. But cinema is what binds us above all. It comes from our childhood love for this profession which goes beyond acting too. And of course, old songs! We can sing random songs and can party hard. We can sing songs which even other people don't recognize. We used to consider all this nonsense and we were shocked when people started loving our nonsense. But nobody understands when we speak intellectual stuff.
How did Gunday affect your friendship?
Gunday was the discovery of our deep-rooted friendship, may be because we respect each other's work too. I have truly found a friend in him. There are some things I have learnt from Ranveer. He smiles a lot and he made me feel that I should be more approachable. He made me feel that you can be yourself and be approachable. But jyada baat karoonga toh nazar lag jayegi.
Why do you say that?
People think that this all an act for the film but the truth is that as I have said before, I have known him before he joined films. Moreover, Tum kitni acting kar sakte ho yaar, off screen and on screen. So I love him as a friend but ultimately, it defeats the purpose if I keep talking about this.
Parineeti is a closer co-star since she has been the female lead of my debut film and I love Priyanka as a friend and as an actor too. She is a very big star but she doesn't carry it on her shoulders. She is very focused and constantly strives to improve herself. If you are with Priyanka Chopra you better bring your best because she can do it in one take. You cannot be asking for 20 takes with her. And this elevates your performance. She has a lot of issues to deal with but when she comes for a scene, she deletes all of it from her head and she performs and how! And that comes with experience. I love this quality about her. And she had fun with all of us without having an air about being a star.
Your films have an element of action until now… was that a conscious decision?
It’s unfortunate that the release date happened this way. I had signed Gunday when I had started shooting for 2 States already. Three films are too less to be typecast. Moreover, we are very new to the industry. Aurangzeb is a niche film and in Ishaqzaade I did not have to hit anyone, it was only set in the violent world. And now, I will be doing 2 States jahan pe main mummy ka bachcha hoon, ladki se pyar kar raha hoon. It's up to the audience if they like it or not. And then there is Finding Fanny where it's a softer role. The idea is to find freshness even if I am doing a film in the same genre. So I have that much faith that I won't be typecast and if I do, I'll try to break it.
Watch this space for Part 2