After playing a patriotic character like Captain Batra in ‘Sher Shah’, what was the reason behind doing a spy thriller like ‘Mission Majnu’?
People liked ‘Sher Shah’, my character was appreciated. People got emotionally connected to the story of Captain Batra. When an artist gets such amazing love, then it seems to go ahead with such kind of roles. Mission Majnu is the story of an unnamed hero who is a spy and also has many opportunities to perform as an actor. This is the first time I have got a chance to play a detective. He is a different kind of hero. This role not only propels an actor forward at the performance level but also entertains.
Being from an army background, how much has that background influenced you?
My grandfather (grandfather) has worked in the Indian Army. Indo-China war has also fought and he was also injured in that war. Although I was very young when he passed away, I have heard many stories about how a family struggles when someone from that family is fighting on the border. In those days, information used to come very late or letters used to come, that too after a long time, so it always remains in my mind that it is very important for these jawans to reach the people. It is important for today’s youth to know that we have this freedom and this democracy that we are living today, for that there are so many people who are risking their lives to save our security, our freedom. It seems that through this film I have a small contribution that like people saw the story of Captain Vikram Batra, in the same way they will see the story of a spy in ‘Mission Majnu’.
The film is streaming around Republic Day, what is your definition of patriotism?
Patriotism to me is how you treat the people in your neighborhood. Irrespective of any religion, class or community, rich or poor, patriotism for me is the same when I see everyone with community connect. For me, a country is made only when its people stay together. It has always been my endeavor to treat the people with whom we work and with whom we interact with dignity and equality. I think one thing which is most important is humanity and with that you can make a country a better place. There are many soldiers on the border who are fighting, but not everyone can go and fight. But your contribution to the country can be that you live well.
Have you ever raised your voice for your rights in school or college?
I didn’t get such an opportunity in my childhood. But I am satisfied by living the character painted in the colors of patriotism in films. I have studied from Delhi University, so our house is near India Gate. It was our grandfather who instilled the habit of waking up early in the morning on 26th January to watch the Republic Day parade. Then the head used to be held high with pride and the chest used to be wide.
Whenever we talk about spy thriller films, we have only one Pakistan angle. Why so?
In fact, if we go through the history, all the important wars or conflicts that have taken place and our army men have lost their lives in them, they have been with our neighboring country only. So that is a factual thing. If you want to show Kargil, then you have to show Pakistan’s angle. However, at the time of ‘Sher Shah’, we never went towards what those people wanted to say, because it was a factual fight and we kept it army to army. With ‘Mission Majnu’ also, our aim is that we should keep it as a mission only. We have neither focused on the politics there nor targeted the people there. We have shown only that which is in the public domain. Yes, but it is unfortunate that the name of only one enemy always comes up.
Is there any doubt that I wish the film was released in theatres?
I think this call is from the producer and I am not the producer. If we look at today’s era, people’s view of entertainment has changed and Sher Shah is a great example of that. I think a good film brings color everywhere. Though I was launched in a Hindi film and theater has always been a love for us, I feel the cinema hall is not going anywhere. But in today’s era there are platforms like OTT, which are giving unlimited audience.
What would you say about the Boycott trend?
I think this is a new trend of social media, where everyone thinks that we have to comment. And then people understand that if I don’t like something, you must not like it either. I think people get hurt when their thinking does not match with someone else’s thinking. If one person likes the film, he would like the other person to like it too. If someone felt bad, he would not want the person in front of him to feel good. It doesn’t occur to me that such nonsense can affect any film. Those films which are good, have good content, they always work. I don’t take these things too seriously. I think there is no point in focusing on things which are not in our control.
What message would you like to give to the youth?
– I think mental health is a very important issue in today’s era, because there have been many changes in the society after the pandemic. A man is in the most trouble when he feels alone. So, as a society, try to take everyone along. Let us take care of each other.
How was the experience of working with Rashmika Mandanna?
This was Rashmika’s first Hindi film though the release is happening at number 2. Before that his goodbye came. I think she adapts to things very easily on the sets. One is very comfortable as an actor. Always open to suggestions, so the atmosphere on the set is good. Fitness freak is so much that I thought she had come to Lucknow to do workout and was shooting in between. It was a lot of fun working with him.
You are getting married to Kiara Advani on February 8, this news is going on continuously. How do you take the news of marriage?
About me, so many dates have come last year as well as this year also. So I am surprised when people speak with such confidence, but I would like to say that there is no secret in our profession and especially when you do something like marriage, then what is there to hide. So whenever the marriage will happen, people will come to know.
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