Sonil Dedhia/Rediff.com in Mumbai
'There is an image people have of me, that I did only sweet boy roles. With Ek Villain, I got the opportunity to break out from this image. It is a way of answering my critics; to tell them I am here to perform and not just for glamour.'
Siddharth Malhotra gets down to business with Ek Villain.
Siddharth Malhotra may just be two films old (Student Of The Year and Hasee Toh Phasee) but his potential is for all to see, especially in the trailers of his latest film, Ek Villain.
In the new film, Siddharth moves away from his chocolate boy image to play a character with grey shades.
Directed by Mohit Suri, the romantic thriller also stars Sharddha Kapoor and Ritiesh Deshmukh and will release on July 27.
Siddharth talks to Sonil Dedhia about the new film, and also says why he is not afraid to take risks so early in his career.
After two releases, both hits, do you think you have cemented your position in the industry?
I have made a good beginning. Ek Villain will decide whether I can cement my position in the industry.
I made an interesting choice. Some people warned me not to do the film as it was a risky proposition. They didn’t think I could pull off this role.
Have you found the trade-off between stardom and losing anonymity?
I am still getting used to stardom. It’s a great place to be in.
I don’t come from a film background so I am grateful to everyone who loves my work.
At the same time, I am trying to get immune to the gossip and the link-up rumours that are written about me. There are times when I have to explain things to my friends and family. I guess that’s the flip side of stardom.
'People have an image that I did only sweet boy roles'
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com
With Ek Villain, you have managed to break your chocolate boy image.
Yes, there is an image people have of me, that I did only sweet boy roles.
With Ek Villain, I got the opportunity to break out from this image. It is a way of answering my critics; to tell them I am here to perform and not just for glamour.
I kept hearing that I would not be able to shout, yell and do action. I hope people like me in my new avatar.
Isn’t it risky to do a film like Ek Villain so early in your career?
I hope I can make a mark with Ek Villain.
At this stage of my career, playing a negative character and doing a film in the thriller genre was an exciting decision for me.
I didn’t have any reference for my character. It was exciting but at the same time, I was nervous because people might not accept me in Ek Villain.
But as an actor, it was creatively very satisfying. I don’t know if the film will be successful or not. The promos have been accepted, so I think there is some expectation from the film.
'Both Riteish and I are playing negative characters'
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
What was your experience of working with Riteish Deshmukh?
Riteish has been in the industry for quite some time now but Ek Villain was a new twist for him too.
He has never done something like this before. He normally does entertaining and comical roles.
Both Riteish and I are playing negative characters, but I am louder in my actions. Compared to my character, Riteish’s character is unassuming.
He brought in a sense of relaxation on the sets.
Were you nervous working with a senior co-star?
No, not nervous but to get into my character I would do a lot of things that Riteish might have found very stupid (laughs).
Since I am playing an aggressive character, I would pump myself up by doing push ups before a shot to warm up and all the time I would read and rehearse my lines. But he never complained.
In fact, Mohit was also very serious on the sets so Riteish would help by lightening the mood.
'I pushed my limits as an actor for Ek Villain'
How did you prepare for the role? Did you any reference points?
I didn’t have any reference points. Films like Shah Rukh Khan’s Darr or Sanjay Dutt’s Khalnayak, which I had seen in my growing up days, subconsciously became reference points.
Although Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Dutt played negative characters, they were likeable.
Ek Villain is different, but I did derive some inspiration from those films.
Earlier, my character was very loud and a complete bhai (gangster). Later, we decided to tone it down.
I worked on my look and decided to keep the stubble with some tattoos. My character in the film doesn't speak too much so I had to convey a lot through my expressions.
I pushed my limits as an actor for Ek Villain.
'Every person has a dark side'
Is there a dark side to your personality?
(Laughs) Every person has a dark side. I was born and brought up in Delhi and played a lot of sports.
I used to play rugby, which requires a lot of physical strength. The game requires you to get aggressive. I think that helped me to play my character.
Who is that ek villain that you hate the most?
The whole journey of coming from Delhi to Mumbai and struggling to survive in the industry, the producers who rejected me and some who gave me films that never started (laughs).
Even getting a house in Mumbai is a big task. People reject you for wrong reasons, even if you have the money.
They have an issue because you are an actor.
Mumbai city is a villain if you come from outside. But the city has given me a lot and I am happy to stay here.
'I don't have an affair with any of my co-stars'
You are unhappy with rumours linking you romantically. Do you need to clarify things to your parents?
Yes, at times. The link-up rumours affect my parents. They are written so convincingly that anyone will start believing them.
There are times when my parents have called me and said, ‘Acha beta aaj tumhare bare main padha ki koi heroine ke saath tumhara affair hai’ (Today we have read that you are having an affair with some heroine).
They are going through the same training session as I am.
You have constantly denied rumours of being involved with Alia Bhatt, Shraddha Kapoor and Izabelle Leite. Are you single?
I am single and don’t have an affair with any of my co-stars.
I’m very fond of Shraddha and Alia and we bond well.
Our off-screen chemistry helps us work better on screen.
During the making of SOTY, I did hang out with Alia. In the same way, Shraddha and I spent time during the making of Ek Villain. I hope people stop reading between the lines.
But don’t you miss having that special someone?
I do, but I can’t just go out and start dating someone and create that special one in my life (laughs).
I have had my share of dates and I have checked out the feeling of being in a relationship. As of now I am not in a relationship that I can talk of.
'People just pit Varun and me against each other to create rumours'
There was also news about a tiff between Varun Dhawan and you.
Yes, Varun and I had a huge laugh when we read it.
People just pit Varun and me against each other to create rumours.
In fact, we tried to fight over the phone but we simply couldn’t do it! We tried to abuse each other but it didn’t work.
We have been friends even before we started doing films. We can pick up the phone at any time and share our problems. I don’t think we can ever fight.
You are doing a film with Akshay Kumar.
It’s not official. We have not announced the cast as yet so I can’t talk about it.
It will be interesting if Akshay is a part of the film. It is an exciting script and it has a lot of scope for two characters.
The film is about mixed martial arts and fighting. I will have to start training for it soon.