Sidharth Malhotra on working with Neeraj Pandey, Manoj Bajpayee in Aiyaary: It’s a film I'm very proud to be part of
Sidharth Malhotra has had five successful films out of eight in his career and yet Aiyaary seems to be an acid test for him, just because three of his films did not work at the box office.
The stakes for the younger lot is getting higher and higher in Bollywood. Sidharth Malhotra has had five successful films out of eight in his career and yet Aiyaary seems to be an acid test for him, just because three of his films did not work at the box office.
With Aiyaary, Sidharth, who plays an army officer in the film, is a part of a spy thriller and he is totally confident about the content of the film.
“Aiyaary is a relevant and real film, and this is essentially because of Neeraj Pandey’s writing. Also, this is the first time I have a story and a script that can make a difference and has a message for the youth of this country. I love the thriller zone, and the action that comes with chase sequences makes it quite entertaining. The title is very apt for our film, because the characters are military intelligence agents, who are also 'shape shifters', which is what 'Aiyaary' means. They have been taught to merge in the crowd, not get noticed and get relevant information. This is probably the closest depiction of real life spies who are invisible to the common man," says Sidharth.
“Neeraj's grasp on screenplay and dialogue is very strong. His preparation and clarity stands out while narrating a scene and that helps an actor. His films are thrilling and fast paced with a good message," Sidharth further added.
In his six year old acting career, Sidharth has steered clear of being pigeon-holeded into one genre. After his candy-floss debut in Student of the Year (2012), he took up the role of a hardened criminal in Ek Villain (2014), then a rugged, intense boxer in the sports drama Brothers (2015) and a struggling writer in the dramedy, Kapoor and Sons (2016).
Does he feel his potential has been tapped enough? “It is all about making choices. I like to make choices which are slightly risky, out-of-the-box and choose genres that we haven’t seen much: like a murder mystery, action comedy. When you try new things there is always an element of risk involved, and some work, some don’t,” says the 33-year-old actor.
“What I meant was, today it is very difficult to find conflicts in love stories because times have changed and there is no reason for a boy and girl to not be together. Whereas deep-rooted characters like in Ittefaq or Aiyaary have a lot of depth, which I personally like. Films like Aiyaary adds a lot of credibility with makers like Neeraj Pandey involved. It’s a film I am very proud to be a part of. I feel this film has an important voice to be heard by the audience. Hence the Ministry of Defence wanted to watch it because they were intrigued to see what we are saying,” he says.
The film shows a mentor-protégé relationship between Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth, and interestingly this equation trickled into their real lives as well. “Most of my scenes are with Manoj and I got to learn so much from him; especially understanding how they (actor's like him) treat acting, their preparations. It was nice of him to just sit with me and talk about acting. I asked about the techniques he adopted while working in theatre, how he prepared for his scenes, Hindi poetry, Urdu diction...there is so much to learn! I also learnt from Manoj only by observing him prepare on sets,” says Sidharth, further adding, “We got friendly because the kind of person he is. He doesn’t carry the weight of doing such serious cinema and prolific work.”
Is direction something that interests Sidharth? "No, not right now. I need to have a story to tell. I will get into direction when I am running out of roles. There are lots more to come and I am also discovering myself. Acting is an ongoing process; as your personality and experience changes you do better and better as an actor. I am like an onion; as you peel you'll see more layers,” he says.
There have always been numerous stories floating about Sidharth’s love life, however, the actor remains unfazed. “These are two different departments. Especially for somebody like me who has come from the outside. I am consumed purely by my work and there is no space for anything else,” says Sidharth. Fortunately for him, he has managed to expand his fan base despite box office verdict. “I have been lucky, love keeps flowing on social media and I stay in touch with many of my fans. Giving this love and energy regardless of what is happening at the box office is something I appreciate,” he says with a charming smile.
We can't help but ask: Is all well between him and his Brothers co-star, Akshay Kumar considering that Sidharth was vociferous in expressing his displeasure when Padman’s release was shifted to clash with Aiyaary (to accommodate Padmaavat)? Sidharth, like many others in the industry, accepted the Padman challenge and posed holding a sanitary napkin just couple of days before the film's release.
"Well, I won't say that I promoted Padman, but yes, I was wishing them luck," laughs Sidharth, adding, “And yes, of course, all's well with Akshay. When I get free from Aiyaary promotions, I will certainly watch Padman."
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