So when you do take up a role what excites you as an actor?
The script, what I am required to do in the script, who is trying to make the film. After interacting with the director what do you feel, your confidence in people who are making the film... If these things are okay, the remaining part becomes easy to negotiate and you say yes or no in two minutes.
Has it ever happened to you that you signed a film because you liked the script, but when it went on the sets, it was not up to your expectations?
Yes, that has happened. You try to make the best of a bad situation. I won't talk about the film, but Deeptiji and I did such a film. Both the director and producer are now resting in heaven so it is not good for me to talk about it. But it did happen.
We both read the script and thought we should do the film as it had lots of potential for an actor, but we came to know that there were just rain songs and running around trees. We had signed it so we made the best of what we had. Audiences liked some parts and rejected others.
Is it easier to do realistic characters?
It depends on the director, who sets the note for the unit and for the film. You have a perception of the story and the character and if the director says the opposite, then you and the director have to come to a consensus and work accordingly.
But if, god forbid, you don't have consensus, then the director is the captain of the ship and his word is final and you as an actor must try to mould yourself accordingly.
In Listen.. Ameya, (director-producers) Avinash (Kumar Singh) and Geeta (Singh) and I had a number of meetings. We read the script and made the necessary changes, we talked about it, and discussed it.
As an actor, you know things. If in a scene you have to travel in a train, then a train is not alien to the actor. He knows how to climb into it etc. Nobody has to tell him that. So, that way it is not a challenge, but bringing it close to real life is challenging, and I must confess that Deeptiji does it better than me.
However, if you are doing a completely outlandish scene then it is more challenging, like if you are a villager and in your dream sequence you travel to France and climb onto the Eiffel Tower and sing a song. Then I am stretching my imagination and I will have to think how a villager will react on the Eiffel Tower.
For an actor to make it seem like he is not acting is the biggest challenge. But in our industry people are happy and say 'Kya scene kiya aasoo nikal aaye' or 'Aisa hasaya ke hamre peth main bal aagaye'. That is the easy part of acting where you cry or make people laugh. But if a person acts in a way that others feel that they did not see any performance, and it feels like this happened just the way it was shown in the film... doing such scenes is difficult.