'I was at my charming best to impress Bipasha'
'I had worked really hard on my films but unfortunately, they flopped. It was almost like a slap on my face.'
'I can’t really pinpoint what went wrong. I wish I could figure it out but I am not that smart. I was disappointed and hurt when my films didn't work.'
'I would just lie on my bed the entire day and stare at the ceiling and wonder what went wrong. I never got an answer.'
Harman Baweja gets candid.
After a disastrous start to his acting career, Harman Baweja disappeared from the industry for a long time.
Almost five years after his last movie, the actor has resurfaced and is ready to start a new innings with this week’s release Dishkiyaoon.
Co-produced by Shilpa Shetty, the film also stars Sunny Deol and debutante actress Ayesha Khanna.
But more than the film, it is Harman's love life that has brought him back in the news. The actor is currently dating Bipasha Basu.
In this candid chat with Sonil Dedhia, Harman opens up about what went wrong in his career, why he chose Dishkiyaoon as his comeback film and what it's like dating a superhot girl like Bipasha.
When did you start dating Bipasha Basu?
I met her at Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday bash.
The entire film fraternity was present and everyone was catching up with each other.
Bipasha is a very attractive person. I was at my charming best to impress her and leave a lasting impression.
I was trying to figure out a way to stay in touch with her after that.
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Image: Bipasha Basu and Harman Baweja
Photographs: Bipasha Basu/Twitter
'We will make an announcement about our marriage at the right time'
Who is emotionally stronger in the relationship?
Emotionally, we have stiff competition, as we are both emotional wrecks.
It may sound sexist but I think I am physically and emotionally stronger (laughs).
But she is a very supportive and caring person.
Is marriage on the cards?
I don’t know. But when it happens I am sure the media will find out before I do (laughs).
We will make an announcement at the right time.
Image: Bipasha Basu and Harman Baweja
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'I was disappointed and hurt when my films didn't work'
You did three films (Love Story 2050, Victory and What’s Your Rashee) and all of them bombed. Your new film Dishkiyaoon comes almost five years after your last release.
I had worked really hard on my films but unfortunately, they flopped. It was almost like a slap on my face.
The first year was very low. It was a tough time for me. I didn’t want to jump at every opportunity that came my way just to keep me busy.
I wanted to give myself time to introspect and for that, I had to distance myself from my work. Once I did that, I figured out what I wanted to do.
I found the character in Dishkiyaoon very interesting. It really excited me and I decided to do the film.
Do you know what went wrong with your films?
I can’t really pinpoint what went wrong. I wish I could figure it out but I am not that smart.
I was disappointed and hurt when my films didn't work.
I would just lie on my bed the entire day and stare at the ceiling and wonder what went wrong. I never got an answer.
I realised that I had to move on and decide what I wanted to do next. I wanted to do something that would challenge me.
Image: Harman Baweja in Dishkiyaoon
'I was getting a lot of offers from great directors but they weren't interesting'
How did you deal with failure?
Every person faces such things in their lives. It's not a matter of life and death. I had to accept the reality and face it.
My family and close friends really supported me. They never pushed me to do anything. They did not question my taking so much time to decide what I wanted to do.
Surely you got a lot of offers…
I was getting a lot of offers from great directors and producers, as well as good scripts, but they weren't interesting enough for me. But it’s one of those moments that hit you, and you realise this is it.
I want to do this. That kind of feeling came to me when Dishkiyaoon came my way.
Your father Harry Baweja is a producer. Didn’t he tell you he would produce a film for you?
Yes, it happened once. I was having lunch with my family, and my father told me, “What is happening, son? Do you want me to do something for you?”
I told him I am still figuring out what I want to do, and needed some more time. He supported me and told me to do what I felt like.
He has had his own struggles. He moved from Chandigarh to Mumbai in 1984. He was married and had kids. He decided to rent a one-hall-kitchen in Mumbai.
My sister Rowena and I grew up on bunk beds. He took such a huge decision, which is far more responsible than where I am now.
Image: Shilpa Shetty and Harman Baweja in Dishkiyaoon
'Dishkiyaoon is not a typical gangster film'
Producer Shilpa Shetty said that your talent wasn’t really utilised in the past.
I have pushed myself to the limits and have worked very hard in this film.
Shilpa is happy with what she has seen. For me, that’s a good feeling.
At the end of the day, the fate of the film is not in anybody’s hands. It’s a lot of do with destiny and fate.
You said you wanted to do something challenging. What is challenging about Dishkiyaoon?
I think the essence of the film is very beautiful. The snakes and ladders game is like a metaphor for the film.
Sunny Deol’s character in the film says, 'Zindagi saanp seedi ki taarah hai. Seedi chadho toh mauj, saanp dasse toh maut.' In a way, it summarises what the film is about. Every character in the film is important.
How is Dishkiyaoon different from other gangster films?
Most gangster films are based in Mumbai. Off late, the set-up has moved to Uttar Pradesh.
Dishkiyaoon is not a typical gangster film. My character, who is a gangster, is a graduate and is someone who uses his mind.
Image: Sunn Deol and Harman Baweja in Dishkiyaoon