Do you feel like a star?
Very honestly I wouldn’t call myself a star. Not now, not ever.I am here because I love the movies. I am not here to make money. By God’s grace I don’t have to worry about my next 4,000 meals.At the same time, I am not here to do charity either. But my relationship with the audience will always be more important than all other considerations.I’ve to make sure of that.
You seem to have established the same kind of connect with the audience as Govinda did in your father’s films. Does that comparison annoy you?
Not at all. If anything , it is unfair to an actor of Govinda’s stature and durability. At the same time I do realize that all newcomers are compared with established actors.And because Main Tera Hero was a full-on David Dhawan film, the kind that my father did with Govinda, the comparisons were inevitable. My dad was very strict with me during the shooting. Out of the 60 days that we shot MTH I was on tenterhooks for 45 days.
Did that bother you initially?
Yes, it did. Not that I expected to be pampered. But I expected to be treated normally. But he was being extra-strict with me. Now when I see the film I realize why he behaved the way he did. My father has 42 films behind him. He knew exactly what he was doing and why he needed to make sure that I worked harder than all his other heroes.He just threw me in the deep end of the water and let me learn to swim my way out.Either I swam or I drowned.
You come from a totally filmy background. Is that an advantage?
I am not too sure. Today the sur of cinema has changed beyond recognition. Things are gradually changing . We don’t know whether the future of Indian cinema is going to be Dabangg, Rowdy Rathod and Main Tera Hero or is it going to be Queen and Lunchbox…we don’t know.
Which cinema would you rather be part of?
I am greedy. I want to do both.The sur of acting is so different in Main Tera Hero and Queen. I am doing the more naturalistic sur in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya. It’s a very real film.I play a working-class Punjabi guy.I feel very thrilled about this film.I feel as an actor I should explore everything there is to explore.I am consciously choosing roles that are different from one another.
In Humpty Sharma you’ve Alia Bhatt to inspire you?
I always find some source of inspiration in all my co-stars.In MTH I’ve done scenes with God as my co-star. In MTH I had to do action,romance, comedy drama….It was like juggling with several balls.
Your dad had a health scare during the shooting of MTH in Bangkok?
My Dad has not been taking care of his health.I’ve actually inherited my energy –level from him. But he’s not physically fit enough to carry off the energy. I tell him to get fitter. I take him to the gym with me. But not frequently enough. To add to his weight woes he is a foodie. But he has cut down on his food.The only reason I am talking about it in this interview is because I’m desperate for him to get fitter.Lots of his friends tell him to change his lifestyle. I feel if he reads what his son is saying he will take care of his health.