Firstly, what appealed to you about your character (ACP Vishnu Kamth) in Dum Maaro Dum?
The character in general appealed to me. I enjoyed reading him. As Rohan described him, he seemed like a very layered person, the kind I’ve never played before. He had a lot of conflicting emotions although he was very straight-forward and had a calm demeanour.
Over the years, you must’ve seen many onscreen cops and now you’re playing one, so who do you think has been most iconic or memorable?
That’s a no brainer, really (laughs). It’s always been dad. I mean everyone has grown up having had a healthy appetite for Inspector Vijay. What I particularly like about him playing a cop was that he was very spontaneous and he would just go ahead and do something and do it with style. And no, I didn’t ask him for any tips for playing my character in Dum Maaro Dum (smiles).
This is your third film with Rohan Sippy and you guys have been childhood friends as well. So how does that translate at work?
It really helps if you know your director well and it’s even better if you’re friends. And Rohan and I have gone to school together so it becomes a very comfortable working with him. It’s just that when we’re on the sets, and he has to tell me something or explain a scene, he knows that I am an actor and also a friend. And I’m not the kind of actor who shuts down to himself. I always heavily lean on my directors. And in this case, Rohan and I spent a lot of time discussing my character before we went to the sets so that I could own the character that I’m executing.
You’ve rapped in this film again after your last gig in Bluffmaster. So have you sworn to reserve your rapping skills only for Sippy?
(laughs) Honestly, no one has asked me to do it after Bluffmaster.
Who are the rappers or music artists you look up to in recent times?
When I was a kid, I really liked Young MC. Now I think Nelly is great, Timberland, Justin Timberlake is great in hip-hop. Then I’m really happy for the great work Jay Sean is putting in, he’s a good friend as well.
Now, every actor would say that they like doing every kind of role but do you have a pet favourite?
I don’t know how to respond to that. I don’t have a dream role. What you really want to do keeps changing or evolving every year. So it’s difficult to pin-point one kind of role that would be the ultimate dream role. If you ask me today, I’d say I’m really enjoying myself playing a thief, which is what my character is, in Players, that I’m presently shooting for.
But is there a kind of character that you feel comfortable playing? Something that comes very naturally or easily to you?
I think it’s very important to create your own comfort zone since you won’t always get to play what you’re comfortable playing. So the challenge is to make what you’ve signed up for seem comfortable. If you don’t, it will seem like a laboured performance.
How does one do that?
There is no set formula that works for two different roles. So you have to figure out which is the process based on the character you’re playing. And no one will help you with that. You have it do it yourself.