He’s def­i­nitely ‘drool’wor­thy. And though this in­ter­view did go through its share of bumpity rides with many a ‘not to­day, Sidharth’s shoot­ing sched­ule has changed’ re­sponses. The gor­geous Sidharth Mal­ho­tra more than made up for all the ir­ri­tat­ing de­lays

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY -

There’s some­thing about Sidharth Mal­ho­tra… Per­haps it’s the in­ten­sity of his limpid brown eyes that gaze at the world with ut­most sin­cer­ity or maybe it’s just his im­pact­ful screen pres­ence. Per­haps it’s his boy­ish charm that make the girls swoon and is such a hit with the au­di­ence. …What­ever it is, this man, they say, has the same mag­i­cal zing that per­haps leg­ends like Amitabh Bachchan and Ra­jesh Khanna had. Of course, Sidharth has been in the in­dus­try for just five years. And though he’s had his share of hits and misses, he’s carved a niche for him­self. And with his reper­toire of fine per­for­mances in his var­ied films, one can con­fi­dently say that Sidharth Mal­ho­tra is def­i­nitely a su­per­star in the mak­ing. Read on to know more about Sidharth’s take on his up­com­ing films, me­dia, love and life...

You are ex­tremely low pro­filed. You just do your work and stay away from the lime­light. Is this a con­scious de­ci­sion to be dif­fer­ent from the other ac­tors? No, I don’t think it’s a con­scious de­ci­sion. It’s just me. My day-to-day deals are so well planned and well thought of that ev­ery­thing in my life goes like clock­work. I feel I do what­ever comes nat­u­rally to me, and ba­si­cally what­ever I am used to. When it comes to movies, I want to do as much as I can, as many films as I can, more in­ter­est­ing stories... But yes, I get so caught up with the movie mak­ing busi­ness that I don’t have the time for any­thing else. Of course, I go out when I have to. But I re­ally don’t have too much time for any­thing else. But of course, now you’ll see a lot of me as I have three up­com­ing film re­leases in the next six months. So I think you’ll get quite tired of see­ing me now. (laughs)

It­te­faq is cre­at­ing quite a buzz. What made you take up this film? We are very ex­cited with the re­sponse that the It­te­faq poster has got. There is def­i­nitely a buzz. I think peo­ple like the sus­pense an­gle in the film. I chose this film be­cause it was a genre that I have not seen on the big screen for a while which is a pure, sim­ple mur­der mys­tery. In re­cent times, I don’t think we’ve seen a very good mur­der mys­tery. So I picked this film be­cause it was very in­ter­est­ing and I also play a char­ac­ter, which has a lot of grey shades. In the film, peo­ple are ac­cused of mur­der and you don’t know who has ‘done it’ till the end. So I think it is a very ex­cit­ing film to watch for me as an au­di­ence and I am ex­cited to play a char­ac­ter like that as an ac­tor. Also, I have a great team of pro­duc­ers back­ing the film as well - that just speaks vol­umes about how good our con­tent is. Red Chill­ies, Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Jo­har - it’s a great team. And I en­joyed in­ter­act­ing with all the ac­tors in this film. It was great work­ing with Ak­shaye Khanna and even though Son­akshi and I are not paired op­po­site each other, and we are just play­ing char­ac­ters, it was great to play a char­ac­ter along­side her. I think she is a fab­u­lous per­former.

I think Jac­que­line, as a per­son, is the eas­i­est per­son to get along.”

Sidharth, you’ve picked a lot of films with in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters even anti-hero kinds. Wasn’t that risky as a new­comer? My en­tire life and jour­ney has been a risk. I be­long to South Delhi, and I came all the way to Mum­bai to be­come an ac­tor. I was a com­plete out­sider and it was a com­plete risk! I have had my pe­riod of strug­gle too. When I came to Mum­bai, I was un­em­ployed for a long time. And I lived in the hope that I would get a break. I started out as an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor and even went through the crit­i­cal phase of hop­ing and be­liev­ing that I might make it some­day as an ac­tor. Of course, it was a huge risk! It took me five years to get a film. So you see, my life has trained me to take risks. And when I did get a chance, it was the most amaz­ing one. I was launched in a film called Stu­dent Of The Year with Karan Jo­har. It was ab­so­lutely awe­some. And I got im­mense ex­po­sure. So I al­ways go with my gut in­stincts and that’s how I took up films like Ek Vil­lain, Hasee Toh Phasee - and my in­stincts are very strong. And I felt these were stories that the other peo­ple would not tell. And that’s what I wanted to do - to stand out and do the kind of con­tent which would speak for it­self and not take the easy route. Noth­ing in my life has come easy so far and I like it just this way. So I felt why stop even in movies - might as well, take risks here too and see what hap­pens!

You’ve just said that you’re an out­sider. And Karan Jo­har launched you. I can’t help but ask you about the great “nepo­tism” ques­tion. What do you think? Does nepo­tism ex­ist in the in­dus­try? I was just read­ing one of Ran­bir’s quotes. He was pro­mot­ing Jagga Ja­soos and not deny­ing it at all. He is from a film family. His fa­ther, Mr Rishi Kapoor got into the films be­cause of his fa­ther and like­wise, Ran­bir. So, it is a cul­ture. I would not deny the fact. Mind you, I’m giv­ing Ran­bir’s ex­am­ple, quot­ing his own quotes. But I don’t have an opin­ion on it. I wouldn’t say any­thing is right or wrong or good or bad. Be­cause I am a prime ex­am­ple of an out­sider and yes, I some­how am stand­ing up for the out­siders who have come and made it. Look at Mr Shah Rukh Khan, Mr Bachchan, look at Mr Ak­shay Ku­mar… there are names in the in­dus­try which have reached some­where from the out­side and have made it so big. And that’s the way it is. I feel it is difficult to make a com­ment with­out of­fend­ing peo­ple or with­out tak­ing any­thing away from their hard work. So I feel, to each their own. And at the end of the day, it is the au­di­ence who judges the per­for­mance and the film. And that’s all that mat­ters! I feel even­tu­ally what some­body does in front of the cam­era is far more im­por­tant than how he reached there. If they aren’t do­ing any­thing good in front of the cam­era, the film won’t work.

You’ve got an­other film un­der your belt which ev­ery­body is very ex­cited about… A

I chose It­te­faq be­cause it was a genre that I have not seen on the big screen.”

If I don’t talk about my personal life or my equa­tion with some­body, it is some­thing I can do with­out.”

Gentleman and your chem­istry with your co-ac­tor Jac­que­line Fer­nan­dez is su­per HOT! What do you have to say about the vibe you and Jac­que­line share in the film? Well, we shot for A Gentleman for about a year. We shot at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions - Mi­ami, Mum­bai, Bangkok. So it took quite a while and it is a film which I have given a lot to. It has ev­ery­thing that I would like to watch in a film - action, comedy, en­ter­tain­ment and even a thrill an­gle to it. It’s got ro­mance with Jac­que­line. And com­ing to your ques­tion, I think Jac­que­line, as a per­son, is the eas­i­est per­son to get along. You never have an ice breaker mo­ment with her. She comes across as very open and friendly. And that’s how we keep it. We met on the sets and though we worked briefly in Broth­ers, we got to know each other much bet­ter in this film. She’s witty and cool. A qual­ity which I envy about her is that I’ve never seen her in a bad mood, which is an amaz­ing thing. Ob­vi­ously, ev­ery­body goes through their ups and downs. But she al­ways knows how to con­trol her downs, specially her mood, which is an amaz­ing qual­ity about her, which I re­ally envy and ad­mire. She is also a hard worker, who is re­ally fo­cussed about her work and wants to do as much as she can. And I re­spect that about her. She’s been a fab­u­lous, easy, fun co-star per­haps a bit too ob­sessed with the so­cial me­dia, which I keep pulling her leg about. But it’s re­ally been great and I am pretty much look­ing for­ward to the pro­mo­tions of A Gentleman. You’ve been in the in­dus­try for five years. How has the jour­ney been? The jour­ney has been very in­ter­est­ing. There is so much that I have learned about my­self, so much I’ve learnt about the in­dus­try, movies, about scripts. Not com­ing from a filmi back­ground. I was com­pletely un­aware about what the movies or the in­dus­try is all about. So these five years have been so much of a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I have been like a sponge and picked up stuff. And I have learnt

so much - film­mak­ing is such a big col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort. I also learnt how im­por­tant it is to not only choose the words on pa­per but also with the peo­ple you work with. I’ve learnt to push my lim­its and try out dif­fer­ent gen­res - whether it’s action, ro­mance or comedy or even to play a spe­cific char­ac­ter. So I have no com­plains. I think it has been a great roller­coaster ride and I am hop­ing that will keep mak­ing me learn more and more things about my­self. But per­son­ally, I be­lieve I have a nice, ful­fill­ing life.

…And you have made a huge suc­cess of your­self. What is the tough­est thing about be­ing a film star? Is it us? The me­dia? I think that’s a per­cep­tion. It took me a while to un­der­stand that be­ing com­mu­nica­tive is a part and par­cel of my job. There are cer­tain pages to be filled, cer­tain web­sites to be filled, and you re­al­ize that you can’t take it per­son­ally. So it’s a part and par­cel of stardom. But I think the hard­est thing would be as an ac­tor to, maybe, dig my nose in pub­lic! I have to con­trol my­self - I am a bratty Delhi boy! (laughs).

Varun and you started al­most at the same time. What is your equa­tion with him? The equa­tion is great! We ac­tu­ally started off be­fore Stu­dent Of The Year. I met him when I was an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor in My Name Is Khan. So our in­ter­ac­tion is from way back. Our equa­tion is great and it will al­ways re­main so. But again, con­jec­ture about our equa­tion will al­ways re­main… more so for fill­ing up more pages. Just be­cause we are all busy in our world, and we haven’t worked to­gether for some time. Peo­ple have spec­u­la­tions or want to think and as­sume cer­tain things. But there is noth­ing much to say about it. It’s been a long as­so­ci­a­tion. I think all of us are ex­tremely friendly from the Stu­dent Of The Year group.

Talk­ing about spec­u­la­tion… There’s a lot said about Alia Bhatt and you. Don’t you think Sidharth, that if you come out and say, ‘okay we are a cou­ple, just good friends or even that we just hang out to­gether’… the spec­u­la­tion will stop. But does it re­ally make a dif­fer­ence? First pro­fes­sion­ally, I think we are all the same be­cause we are ac­tors. Peo­ple want to talk about us be­cause of the char­ac­ters we are play­ing or how the box of­fice is do­ing. So I think that is the first and fore­most thing which is of prime im­por­tance. If I am not giv­ing you de­tails about my films, I should be wor­ried. If I am not re­leas­ing my trailer on time, I should be wor­ried… But if I don’t talk about my personal life or my equa­tion with some­body, it is some­thing I can do with­out. Be­cause pri­or­ity wise, the whole rea­son I am talk­ing to you is be­cause of my movies and my work, and not who I’m see­ing or not.

Are you sat­is­fied with your ca­reer graph as a film star and ac­tor? I think sat­is­fac­tion is a des­ti­na­tion which none of us have achieved. I can’t say that I am com­pletely sat­is­fied. But I have grat­i­tude for be­ing where I am, so I am some­where in the mid­dle. And I think that is ex­actly where my jour­ney is. It is just the be­gin­ning be­cause there are lessons which have been learnt. There are some peo­ple that I’ve met, great di­rec­tors, who I have worked with, great stories that I have been a part of, so I am happy. I’m still start­ing out but I won’t say I am sat­is­fied. But I’d say I have a lot of grat­i­tude in my heart for the past and I am re­ally ex­cited about the fu­ture.

If you weren’t a film star, what would you be? My mom and dad were ex­tremely stressed out when I didn’t get Maths af­ter my 11th and 12th in Delhi, so the only thing which was left was Ac­counts. And they were like kya karega ladka bade hoke? And I was one of those mil­lions of kids in Delhi who were re­ally lost and who had that herd men­tal­ity. No of­fence to my brother who did his MBA but I re­fused to be a part of the herd where I’d do my MBA and get into a mar­ket­ing or fi­nance job. Al­ready 15 of my friends were do­ing just that. And I was sure I didn’t want that! Now I am re­ally happy that I didn’t get into that herd.

Lucky, for us, you be­came an ac­tor and not a mar­ket­ing guy… Ex­actly! You guys wouldn’t have had me if I were work­ing in an of­fice. (laughs).

Sidharth, is there any­thing you want to tell our avid Stardust read­ers? Stardust is one of the most old­est and clas­sic brands in In­dia. Dur­ing my grow­ing up years, ev­ery shop I’d go to had a Stardust, and I couldn’t help but flip the pages and see pic­tures of ac­tors, and see what movies were com­ing out or what they were up to. So I am ex­tremely ex­cited to be on the cover of Stardust. It is an ex­treme high for me that peo­ple will be read­ing about me in Stardust and I hope this keeps go­ing on for many more years and many more movies of mine. And thank you, Stardust for al­ways be­ing there and mak­ing us read about the movies.

Sat­is­fac­tion is a des­ti­na­tion which none of us have achieved.”

...with Jac­que­line

a still from It­te­faq

...with Alia Bhatt

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