So, instead of asking you how are you feeling after a thunderous response to Hasee Toh Phasee, let me ask – Are you happy with your bank balance?
(Laughs) I am pretty happy with the way my money is in the banks. But you'll have to ask my manager as she is answering most of my calls for work. I can't complain. Second film is important and it was very positive. For me it was getting beyond that 'good looking boy' thing. Audiences had the impression that most male models can't act but I am here to prove them wrong and I have with Hasee Toh Phasee.
Has the feedback been different compared to your first movie?
Yes it has been different. People who I don't even know have been pleasantly surprised by seeing me far more comfortable, at ease and far more relaxed. The 'Kukkad' image has gone for a toss (laughs). They didn't expect this. They observe the minutest of the nuances. It's an amazing feeling.
Oh yes! It was, wasn't it? It's a big relief when someone can tolerate you for two and a half hours, holding the scene on your own, delivering dialogues, etc. There is an audience who can see me for two hours plus and I am content. It's the choices that I make from here on that will really matter.
Your contemporaries, one of them being Ranbir Kapoor, are making different choices of movies. Will you be treading the same path as well?
If I were given the option I'd love to. But I haven't reached that point in my professional life that I can approach top directors to cast me in their movies. I can only choose from what I get. I am lucky that films like Hasee Toh Phasee and The Villain came this early in my career. This year will surprise people even further. I don't think I need to look what I looked in Student of the Year. Hats off to Ranbir for doing Barfi with no dialogues at all. No young actor would've agreed to do that I'm sure. Even Rocket Singh. To play a Sardarji throughout the film with beard was a shocker. He was lucky to have scripts like that. I am struggling to get content like that. Once you become monotonous, you becoming boring as an actor.
Do you approach your mentor Karan Johar for vital decisions regarding your movies?
If I call him, he's always available to give his inputs unbiased. But even with Hasee Toh Phasee he told me to read the script first and then asked for my opinion. He wants me, Varun and Alia to make our own mistakes. He hasn't forced us for anything. When I wasn't comfortable doing a Dharma Productions movie offered to me. He respected my decision for not doing it.
You guessed it right (laughs). How do you know that? Adah was cool and super fun. I remember the first few workshops that we did together and Parineeti and I found out that she has a great knack of crying without putting glycerin and that too from one eye. It freaked us out. It was an emotional scene and we were reading our lines with our director. She's amazing with tears and is superbly gifted. She used it really well in the wedding portion of the film. She loves pets too and her wacky purses, one of them I think she gifted to Parineeti.
Actors dream of a big debut and even bigger movies. You've achieved that bit but are you ever afraid of failure at this given point?
First let me do more work to be afraid of. I don't have anything to hold back to the thought of 'I've done some dozen movies'. I am still renting out places in Mumbai. That's my fear. I want my own pad (laughs). I hang out with friends and that's when I see no sense of fear. It's called freedom.
Are you in touch with reality or you live in your own bubble as an actor?
Of course I am in touch with reality. I would be kicked out long back if I weren't. There is Twitter, Facebook, etc. I cannot pretend or fake anything. We are playing different characters every time and audience should never compare our on screen persona with our off screen personality. When I was assisting on films, Shah Rukh Khan was one of the most down to earth men I had ever met on set. He didn't make an entry from a chopper with a suit on like he does on screen.
Watch this space for Part 2 interview of Sidharth Malhotra