Excerpts from the interview:
Was there ever a hesitation getting on board with a remake like this because an OK Kanmani already exists and its loved so much by the audience?
S: A hesitation, not to get on board the film because once both of us saw it we loved OK Kanmani so much, you know… first of all we were so happy that we were offered a film like this together. But of course with every film there is any kind of pressure, any kind of expectation – that’s always there. I just hope not to let people down, that’s all.
Somehow these days what we’re wanting to see onscreen is stuff we relate to. Do you think the era of the great romance is over? Do you think we’re not able to invest in over the top characters anymore?
A: I don’t think great, big, epic love stories will ever go out of… maybe they’ll go out of fashion for a while but I think it’s something that’ll always remain as long as love exists, people will want to tell stories that are deep and spanning over time that are larger than life and all that stuff, because people will always connect to it because it’s a universal feeling. So maybe right now we felt for the past year or two that we hadn’t had a love story that’s connected on that level, but I’m sure it’s just around the corner. I don’t think it’ll ever go away.
S: I completely agree with him. I really love a good romantic film, you know? I think Aashiqui 2 was in that space and I think our film OK Jaanu, maybe it’s not like a period love story or anything… but I think it’s more contemporary in a sense. Not to say that this can’t become a “memorable” love story. A good love story can fit into any time period.
OK Jaanu looks like thev kind of film that allows you to play yourselves. It’s about real people, people you and I know in our lives. Is this easier to play or a role that requires physical or emotional prep because you don’t relate to the character?
A: It’s tricky. I was excited to get a chance to do this genre because in the capacity of a leading man, I don’t think I’ve done a genre like this – which requires you to bring more of your personality to the character. I think that’s actually very tricky because to have perspective on your own charm is weird, you know? Because it depends on how you quantify yourself. So it’s weird, it is! But that’s also where the writing comes in and it depends on that kind of stuff. For me, I found this quite liberating because in my last few films I’ve played characters that were supposed to be very different from my own character. In this film I felt free and I felt like I can do what I want. It felt like a younger version of me perhaps, but you’re not bound by so many parameters that you’ve to kind of work within. So it’s tricky but particularly for me, at this stage in my career, it was lovely.
S: … You’re right, this film is probably closer to me in a sense. Also, the flavour of the film is more conversational and I hope when people watch it they feel like “arey yaar, I’ve experienced something like this…”
Would you be open to doing roles that are not likeable? Something that doesn’t directly portray you as the ‘hero’ or ‘heroine’?”
A: I find that those are the kind of characters that people connect with because they’re imperfect. I was watching “Gone With The Wind” recently, and I realized that guy is kind of an asshole, and that’s why you like him because he’s flawed, he isn’t perfect, and he isn’t heroic in every sense, which makes you connect with him. That’s what makes him an interesting character, there’s a friction that’s formed because of that. I look forward to finding roles like that, and for people to write roles like that. That’s what makes great characters – when they’re imperfect. It’s boring to be the nice guy that’s perfect in every way.
Are you concerned it may spoil your image?
A: No, not at all! For example, Aashiqui got us a lot of love, and the guy was a suicidal alcoholic. In the end, he was probably selfish and he wasn’t there for her. But that made him real, it endeared him to people because they could see that vulnerability in themselves maybe. So I don’t think that’s the way you should think about it.
Tell me the best thing about shooting an intimate scene, and the worst thing about it.
A: The best thing about it is probably that more often than not, your co-actor is an attractive girl, so there’s nothing wrong with that.
S: That’s a good answer.
A: The worst thing is that I guess it’s technical, but it needs to be. So, they’ll be like “chin down” and you’re trying to feel it. It’s a technical process, you don’t really get turned on.
S: I like his answers, can I steal them?
The best and the worst thing about being famous.?
S: The best thing about being famous is that you are famous, and you get a lot of love and adulation. Sometimes when people scream out your name and cheer for you and say “we love you!”, that’s a great feeling. The worst thing about being famous is that maybe on a day that you don’t want to be famous and be normal and chill, maybe walk around Bombay, you can’t do that.
A: The best thing about being famous is that, yes, you get love, you get adulation, and people appreciate you for what you do. You also get preference at restaurants, you know when you’re looking for a table. But sometimes the chef overcompensates and they put too much butter, and the chai sometimes is a little too sweet; they put extra sugar. So yeah, more often than not, it’s good. The food is better.