For you, your brother Rohit is a hero and your father a legend…
I think very early in my life when I did my first advertisement, he was the one who was there and told me how to go about it.
He wanted to be a director, so he told me what a director looks for in an actor.
When I reached Karan Johar’s office as an assistant director, because Rohit had studied films and was an assistant director himself that time, he gave me a lot of pointers and tips on how to behave as an Assistant director. The kind of things that can add value to the project.
When I did Student of the Year, the first person I shared my script with was him and he gave me a lot of tips on how to go about it.
You know, when my brother started earning money very early in life, I stopped taking money from my parents because he started giving me money.
I have a really good rapport with my father as well but my brother has always been a hero in my life.
I have got an amazing equation with my father as well. For me, it was very difficult to always see my father like a stereotypical serious father figure because he is a very humorous person and a very unique personality.
I think very early in life, I became friends with my father. In fact, he always wanted to keep it like that.
If he was watching a cricket game, he would always want me to sit with him and watch the match together, or watch movies together and know my opinion of what I would like and what I wouldn’t.
He is my father, so the respect and the equation will be there but more than that, he always tries to be more of a friend and tries to find out what’s happening in my personal life.
If my friends are coming home, he would sit with them, chill with them. My father has never raised his voice or his hand on me as a kid. He has never done that.
The difficult part when I went on set with him for Main Tera Hero was that he is very strict as a director on set. He is a no nonsense guy. He has a short fuse and if things don’t go the way they are planned, he can lose it no matter who is on set.
So there were a lot of times when he screamed at me. We would have a lot of arguments which I think are very important to give birth to creative thinking.
While your brother went on your father’s footsteps and took on directing, you set foot in main stream Bollywood as an actor. How did that happen?
I think this happened with watching a lot of films. I used to watch a lot of western stand-up comedy whether it is Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller or Chris Rock.
A lot of skits by Johnny Lever as well. I used to watch films but I was very intrigued by stage performances which is a live interaction. I wanted to do that.
I didn’t think that I wanted to do films but as time progressed and as I grew older and took classes, other things started being interesting to me and I got interested in drama and more serious kind of cinema as well. So I think I wanted to explore all of it.
Govinda has been a constant presence in David Dhawan’s cinema, and he happens to be your favourite too.
Oh ya! Totally. I don’t think anyone can replace Govinda or Salman, especially in my dad’s life and no one should try.
In MAIN TERA HERO, I saw the role was for a young boy and that is the way I played it.
There are two gorgeous women in the film, so it is how a boy of my age will react. When I did STUDENT OF THE YEAR, people did not say that my acting has a flavour of Salman and Govinda but in this film it may be happening because the director has worked with these people so much that his style of film making is like that.Maybe that is why you would probably see a similarity.
Back in the day, your father made films like Hero No 1, Biwi No 1… And very recently Partner was a super blockbuster. There is something timeless about him and his cinema that it works even today..
I think it is because of two things. One is his passion and second is his discipline.
He is one of the most punctual people you’ll ever meet in life.
At set, if we have to shoot at 9 o’clock when assistant directors are called at 7:30, he would be there at 7. Half an hour before all the assistant directors at the age of 60.
You can’t just have talent and say I am talented and it’ll happen. I have learnt that from him.
Have you been seduced by stardom yet?
The meaning of the term stardom has changed today. What people had earlier and what stars have today are very different.
Everything has changed from the audience to the media and the mystery about the star has vanished.