Siddharth's latest release Jigarthanda, directed by Karthik Subbaraj, has got a fair amount of praise, which has got to feel good for the actor. In the first part of his candid interview, he described the film's script as one of the best he's read in a long time. Now he talks about another upcoming release that he's excited about — Lucia — Bollywood, being outspoken and his relationship with actress Samantha.
You’re in the Tamil remake of Lucia and we hear Bangalore Days. Are you more comfortable with remakes?
Bangalore Days hasn’t been confirmed; I haven’t even signed the film! It’s amazing how the media states I’ve signed on projects I haven’t been approached for. As for remakes, I spent the first 10 years of my life saying I’ll never do remakes! I turned down some of the biggest remakes in the last ten years including my own films because I’ve a problem with doing anything twice. As far as other remakes go, I didn’t find anything interesting and something that I needed to do or could be done better by me.
Lucia blew my mind and I just had to be a part of film like that. I don’t think those kind of films are made every day. I think I was very uncomfortable doing remakes until Lucia which completely changed my whole perception. If someone has done a film really well, you’re either going to strive to do it differently or exactly
as the original – I prefer the former. Lucia is a visionary film and we’ve tweaked it a little bit. I’ve played the double roles very differently from the original.
In Bollywood, Rang De Basanti was a superhit. But your career there didn’t really take off.
I never wanted a career in Bollywood. Out of the three films I made there over eight years, two were superhits (RDB and Chashme Baddoor) and one (Striker) was critically acclaimed. If you want a career in Mumbai, you need to be there and I had no time or the inclination to do that. I’ve always fortunately had a lot of work in the South – one can be a main career (South films) and one, a hobby; and Mumbai, for me, was a hobby. Bollywood for me is not a priority and I’ve extreme disrespect for people who think Bollywood is a step up from the South.
You are said to be picky about your roles. Do you think this makes you lose out on good films?
Picky is a euphemism! I’ve never been in a position in my life where I am flooded with scripts or the films that I’ve turned down have gone on to becomes hits. I pick one script out of the three or four I’m offered. I’m not from the film industry and it’s not like people are writing scripts especially for me. I pretty much work on my own and so some director has to really see me in a role to give me a job. And that doesn’t always happen.
Unfortunately, I’ve also been at the receiving end of a typecasting situation where for the longest time that people thought I could do only romantic or boy-next-door roles. Or there was confusion as to whether I was a Tamil or Telugu actor. Right now, I’m breaking these moulds and that’s why I said 2014 was very important for me, because of the diverse roles I’m playing in various films. It’s nice to be called popular but I hate the adjectives 'chocolate boy' and 'lover boy' because it limits the type of roles one can play.
Actor, producer, singer, writer... any regrets along the way?
I think I’m still living the dream! Given my background and the fact that I’m still in films means somebody up there likes me. The only regret is that I’m very self-critical and I would’ve liked to achieve more in the last 10 years than I have. I’m hoping to fast-track it. I need to find some kind of identity and anchor because that’s something that everyone needs. I’m still vaguely nomadic, supposedly famous, reasonably talented actor – that’s not good enough for me. As for the different roles I’ve played off-screen, I love multi-tasking and I’ll never say no to anything. Eventually, I’ll do direction too.
You are someone who speaks your mind and lands in controversies. Are you a misfit in the film industry?
I don’t think I’m a misfit but it’s obvious I don’t learn from my mistakes! If I had any sense of self-preservation, I’d have shut up a long time ago. I don’t think it’s a mistake even now because it’s about defending your right to have an opinion and I refuse to apologize for my opinion. It’s becoming dangerous in this country. If the film industry starts getting touchy, then who is going to let the film industry have freedom of expression?
Your personal life is always in the news. Are you in a relationship with the actress Samantha?
It’s extremely personal. I don’t think I owe that answer to anyone except my parents. But if there are any girls out there who have romantic ideas about me then I’m not available - by any stretch of the imagination!
So when are you planning to tie the knot?
It’ll happen at the right time. When it happens it’ll not be secret eloping ceremony; everybody’s going to know about it. It’s on the cards for sure. When you’re in the film industry, you don’t like to jinx things. My life is at an excellent place right now and this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life. Personally and professionally - it’s all good!