Are you looking at winning the popular awards for Badlapur or your next film ABCD 2?
(Laughs) Can't say. But Badlapur was one helluva challenge. All of us in the team worked really hard on it. The music and then the film became a hit. All the actors viz., me Nawaz, Huma, Yami, Divya Dutta were accepted.
You played a much older man than yourself in Badlapur?
I make up for that in ABCD 2. I play a guy younger than me.
After Badlapur, ABCD 2 looks like a happy film?
It is! After Badlapur, it's just the change of mood and pace that I needed. ABCD 2 has a more positive feel to it. There is definitely more hope and joy in this. It celebrates life. And that's something really valuable to give to audience. The film leaves the audience with a very important message at the end. However, there is a bigger reason why I am excited about this film.
What is that reason?
My younger fans couldn't come to see Badlapur. I am very happy that they can come to see ABCD 2. There are no exams going on either. So what better time to release a kids-friendly film?
You are a very skilled dancer. But did you have to brush up your skills for this film?
Oh yes! Especially for the track 'Chunar', where I had to be very comfortable with my surroundings before doing all that aerial dancing. The style was contemporary and Remo D'Souza (dancer- choreographer) wanted everything to be perfect. A month of training went into doing that one song and dance. I had to be all there.
What was it like working with Shraddha Kapoor?
An absolute joy. She is the most beautiful co-star I've worked so far. Besides being a very gifted actor and dancer, she's also a great singer. That makes her dialogue delivery so emotionally rich. You just see, she is going to stun audiences with each film.
You always over-praise your co-stars. You called Alia Bhatt the 'Robert de Niro of India'?
That was a joke! What can I do if some sections of the media took it seriously? I praise my co-stars because they have so much to give to my growth as an actor
At the end of the film, do you feel like a better dancer?
I feel like a better human being. Because now I can listen more patiently to instructions given by directors, as Remo's instructions for the dance steps were so minute. As for the dancing, I am technically more equipped. I understand the emotions behind the dance motions.
What about your acting?
Yes, with every film I think I am growing. I think I understand the craft much better now than I did during Student Of The Year. I can now see some of the relevance under the written lines in the script.
So, now you are a better actor, dancer and human being?
I am not too sure if I am a better human being. I've my good and bad points. I feel there is room for a lot of improvement in me.
What would you like to change in yourself?
To begin with, I'd like to give more time to my family. I know they understand how busy I've become. But, if there was some way of stretching 24 hours into 26 hours, that would really help. But my family has seen my dad work round the clock. So they're used to it.
Your dad (film maker David Dhawan) is awfully quiet these days?
Yes, he is taking it easy. But he will be back soon with a big film.
And what is your next release?
There is Rohit Shetty's Dilwale. You can expect everything in it that Rohit is known for.
I hope the director Sriram Raghavan and the music composers Sachin-Jigar win something. The songs of Badlapur were such hits. If you ask me what I've gained the most so far as an actor, I'd say the songs. The songs have added so much to my career. People connect to a film via its music. That's why I take personal interest in my films' music.
Have you sung in ABCD2?
Yes, I have. The 'Happy Birthday' song is sung by me. But I don't rate myself highly as singer. I agreed to do the song because it required a normal non-professional voice.
Do you enjoy promoting your films?
I love it! I love my films. And I love taking them to the audience. The kids specially enjoy my films. ABCD 2 is made especially for them.