'I believe I have it in me as an actor'
Music director Pritam often complains that he has too much work on his hands and that he wishes Himesh Reshammiya would make a comeback as a music composer and lessen his burden.
Many Himesh fans feel the same too. After all, Himesh gave 36 hit songs in a row as a music director and singer. He has scored music in 100 films till date. Then all of a sudden, in 2007, he left music director to pursue a career in acting. The only time he scores music is when they're picturised in his movies.
While his music career was an upward graph, his acting career has been a bumpy ride. His debut film Aap Kaa Surroor was a big hit while his second film, Karzzzz, flopped. Now, he's ready with his third film, Radio, releasing on December 3. The song Mann Ka Radio is Himesh's 500th song, and is soaring up the charts.
Himesh's 'television' career has been doing very well. He has been signed up for a Star Plus' reality show for a reported Rs 8 crores!
He talks shop with Syed Firdaus Ashraf.
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Karzzzz released in October 2008. We haven't seen you since then.
I completed four films in this one year gap. Radio will release in December. After that, there's Unplugged, Kajra Re and John Mathew Mathan's Love Isshtory. That's why I was absent -- so that I could complete these films.
Image: A scene from Radio
'I pray that Radio works'
We hear that Radio has recovered its cost before it even hit the screens.
Radio has been made at a budget of Rs 6 crores. The producer Ravi Aggarwal has recovered the money from music sales and satellite rights. Whatever comes from theatre will be profit.
But I will be truly happy if people enjoy the film and like my performance. I have tried to be as natural as possible. Director Ishan Trivedi has done a fabulous job. My character Vivan is very relatable -- he's like the boy-next-door.
Radio deals with the relationships of today's times where issues like compatibility and closure have been handled in a light-hearted manner. I pray that the film works.
There are two heroines in the film -- Shehnaz Treasurywala and Sonal Sehgal. Is it a love triangle?
My character Vivan Shah is an RJ and he solves other people's problem. His wife has left him and he's scared of relationships. He meets another RJ (Shehnaz). With the background of a radio station, the film talks about today's times.
Image: A scene from Radio
'I shouldn't have done a remake of Karz'
What made you choose this subject?
After Karzzzz, I felt I must do a subject which would suit me. I must do a believable role. That's why I took it up.
Creatively, I have done this film differently. My songs, looks and styling are different. The film is targeted at the multiplex audience.
Also, I felt that I should start thinking like a businessman. I hadn't done that during Karzzzz. Karzzzz gave the producer Bhushan Kumar (T-series head honcho) and me a lot of money. But Reliance lost out due to high pricing. Though the film did big business, it lost money because it was sold at a high price.
What went wrong with Karzzzz?
The pricing, the sensibility and the fact that it was a remake. I should have not done a remake. The sensibilities of the 1980s didn't work. It was not marketed the right way. There were 5,000 shows; 1,400 prints were released. That was not right. The pricing was too high.
Do you think you became overconfident after Aap Kaa Surroor's success to take such a big marketing step for Karzzzz?
No. The film was sold at a higher price due to the hype. It was perceived to get a 40 percent opening but if you calculate the money, it made more money than Aap Kaa Surroor.
Its release was wrong as well. It released before Diwali, and that's a bad time to release movies. I've learnt all this so I made sure that everyone makes money during Radio.
Image: A scene from Radio
'I'm adamant on being an actor because I have it in me'
Don't you think your fans have reduced ever since you became an actor?
I will not disagree. But if you look back at my career, people asked me this same question when I turned singer from music director. When you are on a journey, people have their doubts and I respect that. I will win them over.
Acting is my hobby. I believe I have it in me as an actor. I just have to choose the right kind of scripts. In the last 11 years of my career, I have always reinvented myself. That's how I've survived.
There are actors who got a big break after 14 films. I just want to ask people to give me time as to prove myself as an actor. I've had only two releases -- one was a hit, the other was a flop. I need time to prove myself.
Tere Naam didn't have any songs which could be played in discos. But I wanted my songs to play in discos. So I made Just Chill and Aashiq Banaya Aapne kind of songs. Soon, discos started having 'Himesh nights.'
I'm adamant on being an actor because I have it in me. The same thing happened when I became a singer too. People said that singers will not sing for me if I start singing. When I started singing in my high pitched nasal voice, they said it will not be accepted. They said it would be good for background songs but not on stars. I proved them wrong with that as well. Actors like Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor and Bobby Deol started using my voice for their songs. So it takes time.
One of your harshest critics said, 'Chala murari hero banne' (any Tom, Dick and Harry can become a hero). But you proved him wrong when Aap Kaa Surroor became a hit. The other films that released with Aap Kaa Surroor -- Awarapaan and Apne -- did not do good business but you were accepted as a hero. When Karzzzz flopped, people said you were a one-hit man. What you have to say?
My next four films will answer that. I feel my work in Radio has improved. I am doing characters that suit me. I just need time to prove it. I want to win my detractors over. Composing, singing and acting have never been done successfully for years. When I made the Mann Ka Radio song, people told me that it will not be accepted because it didn't have my high pitched nasal voice. Yet, it was accepted. So with time, I will be able to prove it.
Image: A scene from Aap Ka Suroor
'After two or three years, you will not remember my cap'
Do you think acting has become an ego issue for you -- you will continue acting even if your movies don't do well?
How can acting become an ego issue? If my films don't make money, who will sign me up? No one can survive on ego. If Radio is not a profit-making film, then other films will not get made.
You've changed your hairstyle now.
I did it for John Matthew Mathan's film. From a tapoori, I was moving on to a decent role. In Radio, I had to look like an RJ.
Don't you miss wearing caps? They had become your trademark.
Yes, I do miss them. But you cannot live with that all the time. Like, I cannot miss my 'chunariya' hit songs. I gave four 'chunariya' hits back-to-back and then re-invented myself to another form of singing. You cannot live with your old thoughts. After two or three years, you will not remember my cap.
What is your biggest fear?
The biggest fear is winning fans over with my acting, not just music. That is a big challenge. I am working towards it.
Image: A scene from Karzzzz