Your character of Firdaus in Fitoor is unlike any other character you have played in any of your earlier films. How did you get into the skin of the character of Firdaus?
Every one of us, I guess, knows that Estella is from the book Great Expectations. So, basic traits and personality are very similar because what they (Estella & Firdaus) get to experience in life is similar. To clearly understand this character, I think, one just has to spend a lot of time with director Abhishek. The best thing about Abhishek, I believe, is that he is very good. Even if you see his previous films like Kai Po Che! and Rock On!! I think the strong point was the strength in their characters. The movies were great, stories were great, but he has a special knack for understanding human nature and human behaviour. Even on the sets when we’re conversing, we’re talking about or discussing life or discussing character Firdaus, he always had a lot of insightful things to say, a lot of very poignant things. Every time I talk to him I am amazed to see how a person, who seems so young, carefree and kind of easy going, has such a depth of knowledge.
Will Fitoor get you the kind of critical acclaim that has been perhaps missing in your career even after delivering so many commercially successful films?
(Laughs) I have no idea. If we knew which film would give us critical acclaim as well as commercial success, then obviously that’s something we would make sure we achieve with every film. I don’t do a film for acclaim or success. I just follow my instinct. I follow the feeling that I have in my heart towards the film. Whether it’s a film like Raajneeti, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan or Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, the feeling I had when I heard the script and decided to do the film was always the same. It’s always an instinctive feeling. It’s very honest feeling. I never made a calculative move. I had gone by what I felt I would be happy doing at the time. The same thing was with Fitoor. I thought it’s a very romantic film. It had a lot of elements which, I thought, the audience could relate to. I think the basic conflict in the film is that we have been in love and at times that in itself is difficult enough, but then you add pressure to it from outside, whether it is family pressure, society pressure or status pressure. Oftentimes we all read about it, we see it around us all the time. Especially here in our country, I think, we see this a lot, a lot more than perhaps we might see in England or America where Great Expectations is set. That’s why when I read the book and heard it’s being made into a film I thought it would probably be the most apt piece of literature ever made into a Hindi film because it ends in conflict. It is exactly about that, but when we generalize it, then it is about parental pressure and societal pressure. That is something which is very relevant in today’s times.
After doing action films like Dhoom: 3, Ek Tha Tiger and Phantom, are you comfortable and open to the idea of doing an out and out women-centric action film?
I would love to do an action film. The action film which I saw recently was Mad Max: Fury Road. I would like to do a character like the one Charlize Theron did. When I saw that, I was telling Bosco (choreographer) that someone has to do something like this because, I think, it really works. I believe if we have the right kind of support, a woman-centric action film really works.
Your contemporaries like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka are doing international projects. So, if given a chance, would you like to do a Hollywood film?
Yes, for me language is not a barrier. I have done films in Telugu. I have done films in Malayalam. So, I would love to do a film in English. But it should be the right film, at the right time and at the right place.
What is the status of your next with Ranbir Kapoor, Jagga Jasoos? When will the film release?
A substantial portion of the film is yet to be shot; a good 40 to 45 per cent. We begin shooting on Feb 13. I suppose some portions would be shot in Morocco. As per my last discussion, the film will be out sometime in July or August.
Have you ever been unlucky in love?
Anyone who has ever experienced love or been in love is lucky regardless of the outcome. That’s like the one way you can look at it. I hear so many people sometimes saying, ‘Oh I have never been in love.’ Yesterday, I was talking to someone who said, ‘I have never felt that kind of Fitoor or obsession or infatuation for a person. So, I think anyone who experiences love in their life is lucky.
Have you experienced that Fitoor for somebody?
(Smiles) See now that’s something I won’t tell you. Am I a passionate person by nature, do I believe in the intensity or depth of love? Yes. There are some people who are very pragmatic. There are some people whose philosophy and approach to love is very practical. I will marry a person like this or I will marry a person who my family decides is right or society decides is right or for whom it is an arrangement.
Marriage is considered to be a sacred institution that binds two different people and two diverse souls together. Is marriage an arrangement for you as well?
No. I believe marriage is the joining of two human beings, their souls and their minds. And that should be the only factor involved and there should only be each other in it. You can love your family; your family can be your world. My mom is my world. My mom will always respect whoever I love or choose to love. So, I think for every individual love means different things. You talk to some people and you will find they are pragmatic and practical about love. It is almost like love is an arrangement or love is a settlement between two people.
Many B-town marriages are ending at a bitter note these days. Do you think every love story has or must have a happy ending?
I think every love story can have a happy ending. It’s up to each individual. It’s up to my choices; it’s up to your choices.
So what you are trying to say is that it’s not under the control of one person and it needs two to tango?
Yes! It’s exactly that. Unfortunately, that is the drama of love. If love was in one person’s control, then it would start well, go on well and end well. And there would be no movies. There wouldn’t be a Fitoor or a DDLJ. Love is about two individuals, two minds have to agree and come together. That has to work out. You have heard the line, ‘Yeh Ishq Nahi Aasan.’ There are many interpretations and one of them is love is like fire. You go through it. Then there are some people who can go around it.
What about you? How will you face the fire of love?
(Smiles) I would dive straight into the middle of it. But then I would put on a fire suit to protect and shield myself.