How do you keep the hustle going on after 19 years on top of the marquee?
All of us wake up in the morning and think ‘what’s next?’ I am an inquisitive person and I am always searching for new information, new experiences and new ways to present myself. I keep asking myself what is true for me at this stage in life. What resonates with me now? Because I am not the same person I was five years ago.
I have just got married. That’s a new phase of my life. What I have always done throughout my career is, to be honest with myself. If I wanted to be in a certain film, I did it. In the new phase of my life, I ask myself what I need to bring. What is it that will give me that satisfaction? I consider myself privileged to have gotten all these films. To complete a film and feel that you gave everything to that film is a priceless feeling. That’s the feeling I am searching for now.
Why did you choose to do Phone Bhoot?
I realised that my last few films have been either action movies, epics or dramas – Tiger Zinda Hai, Zero, Bharat and Sooryavanshi. I’m coming back to comedy after a while. I adore comedy. My memories of working in comedy films like Partner, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, Singh Is King, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani have always been about spontaneity, laughter and more than anything, the joy you see in people having a good time in cinema halls.
You’ve been all praise for the writers of Phone Bhoot during recent interactions.
The writers, Abhi and Jassi are geeks when it comes to horror comedies. They are so knowledgeable. They know the beats and punchlines. Phone Bhoot is an extension of that passion. The film has very tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating humour and one-liners. When Vicky and Sunny (Kaushal) saw the trailer, they laughed at all the jokes. So, I was happy that the jokes are working.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe that there are other dimensions to what we see. That’s undeniable. What exists and how it all plays is hard to tell. But I believe that you attract what you give out.
If I watch something scary at night, then for two nights I will have very hectic and bad dreams. There were phases in my life where I’d keep a small light or TV on while sleeping. But I am fine now. I have to be careful about myself and watch nice, happy, frothy films. Phone Bhoot is not only a horror film but a horror comedy. It takes all the cliched things and makes a joke out of them. That’s the kind of humor I enjoy.
What are your upcoming films and what kind of films will we see you opting for in the future?
We are still shooting Sriram Raghavan’s Merry Christmas. After Phone Bhoot promotions, I will resume shooting for that. Vijay Sethupathy is a phenomenal talent to be working with.
Tiger 3 is getting ready. It will be released on Diwali 2023. The sequences in Tiger 3 are going to be a delight to watch and will live up to people’s expectations.
Jee Le Zara has moved for different reasons. But I am sure that we will make this film. It’s just a matter of getting everyone’s time together. As of now, the film is scheduled for the end of next year.
I would like to play a superhero. It should be like something in the X-Men space, or in action space. Perhaps it could be something like Atomic Blonde that has an emotional connect. I have been saying this for the last ten years, that I haven’t done a period film. It’s good that even after 19 years in the industry there’s so much for me to explore.
How has being married to Vicky Kaushal changed your life?
After marriage, there’s a lot of calmness and stability in my life with having Vicky around all the time. He’s the perfect counterbalance for the person that I am. I can be hyper, panicking and overthinking, but he is the opposite of that. It’s a nice balance.