Most people have said after watching ‘Monica O My Darling’ that you’re one of the most underrated actors. Do you agree?
There’s so much more I want to do and so much more I can do. I have not given much thought to this. The work that I do and when I see myself, I analyse how there are certain things which I can do better. I always watch a lot of cinema, shows that inspire me. I always watch why they’re doing a scene a certain way and what their thought process is. I’m not here to prove anything but I’m grateful I have work and people have the opportunity to see my work.
How important do you think it is for an actor to have good co-actors and a good director to be able to perform better?
It’s important to every actor – from Robert De Niro, Al Pachino, Daniel Day. An actor is only as good as his director, his co-actors, and writers. There’ll always be ups and downs, mistakes and no mistakes but it’s completely collaborative.
Do you believe that because of newer avenues like OTT, quirky subjects like ‘Monica O My Darling’ have found a greater reach?
OTT is a complete blessing to the industry. People are getting employment and people have a chance to show what they’re capable of, which they didn’t have earlier. It’s such a beautiful time for all of us actors, technicians, and everyone. Having said that, a film like ‘Andhadhun’ had its own space when it was in the theatres. So, such content is accepted even in theatres today. We’re constantly evolving. You can have a great set up but if the script is weaker, the chances of it working is rare.
How much do you look forward to making your parents proud with your work or what they think of your work performance?
Whenever they watch any work of mine, I’m anxious to know what they felt. I am curious to know what my mother feels and what my father feels. With my mother, I can get brutally honest feedback and she will tell me exactly what she feels. More or less, I know what she’s going to say because aesthetically, my mother and I are very similar. Sometimes there are certain things I need to work on. And it’s not just them, I need feedback from anyone who matters to me. There might be friends and friends who may not even be from the industry. That’s my way to kind of develop my progress and keep taking small steps to improve my craft. I always want to know what my parents feel. For a child, it’s always important that your parents are proud of what you’ve done. But for me what matters the most is that my parents are proud of the human being I am, more than anything else. Acting is fully secondary.
But the industry also cannot be easy. Over the years have you become thick-skinned and evolved?
That’s life. It’s not smooth and it’s never going to be smooth for anyone. Life can be cruel at times but that’s what teaches you. You learn along the way. I don’t give any ‘bhaav’ at all to being judged. No matter what I do in life, I can’t change anyone’s perception about me. I only have to be true to myself. People are entitled to their opinions and that also makes me stronger. I’ve been affected by what people feel about me but now I’ve just come down to just being concerned about my own actions and me just being me. It’s too much of an effort to be something that is not me, so I’ll always be myself. I don’t know how to put out an image or be something that’s not me.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
Season 3 of ‘Aarya’ will start soon and I have ‘Monkey Man’ which will be out on Netflix which has been made by Dev Patel, he’s also acted in it. It should be out whenever they take that call. The film is an events drama. We shot in Indonesia for 4 months in the peak of lockdown. I had a lot of training since there’s action in the film, but it was also fruitful in terms of life lessons or work lessons. I got to collaborate and work with people who are so great in their own field.