From being a doctor to Bollywood, what prompted the change?
I completed my medical studies in 1991. My father always wanted me to join Elder Pharmaceuticals, which was his business, which I did. While I was in college, I got a modeling offer from my friend’s agency, which I took up. I went on to do a few ads for brands like Proline, which I did just for the high. It was then that AASMA SE AAGE on DD happened, which became a popular daily. One day, I happened to get a call from Balaji Telefilms, stating Ekta Kapoor was keen on meeting me. I went down to their office, where I took a screen test for KKUSUM. And then, the very next day, we began shoot. My father approved of my move, and supported me to take the plunge. The show which was a huge success ran for five years, however, it was only two years down the line that the seriousness set into me. Post KKUSUM, I did KUMKUM and SARA AKASH, which were not as satisfying. One day, I happened to be on the sets of PRATIMA a soap on Sahara One, where I called my friend and said ”Let’s start our own production house!” and within a month, we had an office running under MAVERICK Productions. It was a creative and business decision as well.
‘I want to produce good entertaining cinema…’
Well, if you ask me, I would say nothing went wrong. We recovered all our money. It was meant to be a short and sweet film, which it was. It was appreciated by the audiences, and I think it was a decent attempt. It is still running in few places. People are still humming the music which featured RDB. Our next big venture, DULHA MIL GAYA which has Sushmita, Shahrukh and Fardeen was delayed, and is slated to release in September 2009. I am yet to recover my money for that. So it does not really matter if you have the big wigs or not.
Tell us about your upcoming film CHASE in which you play the lead.
CHASE is an action packed thriller where I play the lead along with Udita Goswani. Though the film is still awaiting the completion of its last schedule, we are looking at a September release. I have performed quite a few stunts myself, being absolutely scared of heights and I hope the audiences enjoy watching me in a different role this time around.
Any other films in the pipeline?
Yes, there is another film with Ram Vilas Paswan’s son in the lead in the Hindi genre. We are currently looking for a female lead. We are looking at going on the floor around end of July, with a release by November or December. There is another kanada film which is slated for a release in June 2009. On the sidelines, we are reading a few scripts and short listing our next projects and also entering the regional space in a big way.
Well, we want to build a library of films and yield maximum returns. As of now, we are looking at making mass entertainers, not the art films for atleast the next few years to come. I want to produce good entertaining cinema, not for the awards, but for myself. Maverick is entering into the regional space in a big way
You have been juggling the role of being an actor, producer, businessman, doctor and restaurateur. You would call yourself Jack of All, Master of…?
Well, I do not want to be a Master. I am extremely satisfied with my life, and am a self motivated person. I take things as they come; nothing has ever been planned consciously. I studied to become a doctor, but today, I am doing everything I never thought I would be doing. Acting is a passion, Restaurant is execution of my father and brother’s passion Maverick Productions was an enthusiasm for the subject and now business. Sometimes, God is kind to you, and I consider myself to be very lucky. Of course, hard work is essential to attain and keep up the success.
CHECK OUT: ALOO CHAAT makers back with CHASE!
Any director you would want to work with, any actress you would like to star with, an actor you would love to cast?
Talking of directors, I would love to work with Aditya Chopra, Madhur Bhandarkar and Ram Gopal Verma. They have given us some of the most compelling cinematic experiences. As for actresses, I love Kajol’s spontaneity, Kangna is a wild actress, however her roles are becoming cliche unfortunately. Kareena Kapoor is vivacious and I like Vidya Balan as well. And among the male brigade I like Ajay Devgan, Akshaye Khanna and Madhavan for their tremendous acting talent.
Any Hollywood actress you would love to date?
(Naughty smile) Umm…There is Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez; the list can just go on!
Amidst the flurry of numerous things, what lies beneath the real you?
I have faith in God and most importantly, faith in myself. I try to do the right things, and I am blessed with a strong support system. My father is always there for me, and I feel lucky to have a close knit of four to five friends.
What about the personal front. Any wedding bells to tick soon?
(Blushes) Well, there is someone special in my life. It feels good. (Smiles) Let’s see how things go, but no wedding bells as of now.