Sidharth Malhotra opens up about coping with flops, Karan Johar and why he doesn’t mind being a one-dimensional hero.
Sidharth Malhotra has managed to scale soaring heights in the initial phase of his film career. After his candyfloss debut in Student of the Year, Sidharth racked up an expanding fan base who seem to be unaffected by the many forgettable roles he followed it up with. Film critics have often written him off as just another chocolate hero. But the actor, however, is unfazed and feels that the feedback of his acting has always been broad-based and every film has been a lesson to learn something new. Sid will next be seen in the romantic comedy Jabariya Jodi, with his Hasee Toh Phasee co-star Parineeti Chopra. In a freewheeling chat, the actor talks about his upcoming film, performing at private shows and his rumoured relationship with Tara Sutaria.
Excerpts from the interview:
Your past few films have consecutively failed. How did you deal with that phase; was there any self-doubt?
I think self-doubt comes in with your choices. If at all, it charges me to concentrate on my craft and maybe choose wisely. Everyone has gone through that phase and I can’t be immune to it. It’s not that it doesn’t affect me.
What somewhat saved me is that there was no specific criticism on my personal performance. There are only a handful of actors that get accepted, and I feel lucky and blessed that I have come from the outside and have been accepted.
Actors are held responsible for the kind of films they choose to do. So how responsible are you as an actor?
You have to choose wisely, and my responsibility starts the minute I agree to do a film. Your first film chooses you, and after that what you want to do is up to you. Sometimes we do film for a particular team, and other times for commercial reasons. So you have to decide and have an instinct. For me, it came after seeing the highs and lows. I can only learn from my own mistakes and instinct, and I have no other reference in my personal life that I can live up to or learn from.
There is this perception that an actor has to be in good books of powerful people, and you have been in good books of Karan Johar and his camp. How does that help, as an actor?
I would like to break that myth; I don’t think anyone particular director or producer can guarantee you a film. I have worked with enough banners to realize that it is purely the script and the words on paper that matter; there are no guarantees. I was lucky enough to have a massive launch with director Karan Johar, but there is no formula to success. I worked with Neeraj Pandey in Aiyyary. He is a great director, but unfortunately, sometimes it takes more than just a good team. I have pretty much experienced the whole wheel and that also makes me less fearful.
We see many celebrities performing at high profile weddings. While many actors feel it’s below their dignity, what are your views?
Those are personal choices and it is not right to judge. For me, personally, I am a performer, and whether we are performing on camera, a stage show, or at someone’s personal function, they are excited to have us there.
I think it’s a complete professional call so I won’t say I don’t endorse it. I have been present in some of these in the past, and I think there is no harm as long as it is done in good taste at a particular level.
The definition of heroism has changed: It is no longer just about the physicality or showing the masculinity on screen.
People giving so much importance to physicality was only a phase. For me, heroism is a personality. Growing up, I loved seeing my heroes with a personality and machoism, and I am still a firm believer in them. Not to make it a male, female or a sexist thing, but purely from an entertaining point of view because those characters were written that way. But yes, times are changing now. We have evolved, but of course, I still feel like whistling when SRK comes on screen in DDLJ.
I think we are not doing everything in one film: If it’s a comedy film then we are only doing that if its action then it only has that. Earlier, heroes used to do everything from dancing to acting. Maybe 20 years back, a hero had 5 dimensions, so that’s changed. We are trying to keep a single dimension to a hero.
On a more personal note, are you and Tara Sutaria in a relationship?
A lot has been written about my friendships with all my co-stars, barring Akshay (Kumar) during Brothers, which had no girls, so it just shows my friendly relationships with my co-stars. But people misconstrue it with something more. I think not much is to be written about it. It was her second film and we shot it before her first film released, so there is a lot of excitement around when you work with somebody during their early phase. She is great in the film. There is nothing beyond friendship.
Tell us about your upcoming film Jabariya Jodi, and how difficult it was to get the dialect right.
It’s something that I worked on. We have picked up Patna ki Hindi, we did a lot of workshops. More than that, we worked on body language. I have never done something of this sort, so it is very fulfilling as an actor to try something different. The character is strong and loud, so it’s a lovely cocktail.