Siddharth Malhotra, after winning hearts as Vikram Batra in Shershaah, is all set to tickle our funny bone with Thank God that releases this Diwali. In his decade long career, the young actor has himself to some intense dramas and is now experimenting with comedy with ace filmmaker Indra Kumar’s direction. The actor made his debut with Student of the Year in 2012.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Sidharth talks about why he hadn’t tried comedy before Thank God and how you need to be a secure actor to share screen space with Ajay Devgn. The actor also opens up about how he’s used his frustrations in life to prepare for his role in the film.
Excerpts from the interview:
What made you say yes to Thank God?
I heard this film pre-pandemic. When I heard the narration of Thank God, I remember how I was laughing and then thinking how even I do certain things that are there in the story. I had a very warm feeling that it has an emotional end to something that we can all connect with in today’s day and age. I call it a ‘fam-com’, as it can entertain a family and yet make you think in the end.
I play Aayan Kapoor, an ambitious businessman who wants to make money quickly and is chasing success in life. He eventually realises that he has gone wrong in life after he meets with an accident and his life hangs in balance. I believe in karma, and I think most of India and the subcontinent do too. So it is a little karmic angle to it but done with a lot of humour and energy. I hope by the end of the film, you’ll be left with a nice thought.
In your decade long career you’ve not really done any comedy film. Have you consciously wanted to market yourself as an intense actor?
No, not at all. I think I’ve reacted to the story first. I was very happy that it is a humorous and energetic film made for a commercial audience and yet it leaves you with a nice thought. As an actor, this character has given me such varied graphs to handle in the film. I find difficult to make people laugh, but here it was easy because people are laughing at this man’s frustrations in life. I have had a good share of those both before and after becoming an actor. Maine apni saari bhadas nikali hai iss film mein. It has been a very interesting experience — a filmmaker like Indra Kumar comes in who adds his flavor of commercial comedy to the film; and I got to work with Ajay Devgn and feed off his energy.
You said you’ve had a fair share of frustrations in life before and after becoming an actor…
We’ve all been there. In my struggling days in Mumbai, it is difficult to find a place to stay, to find a job, it was tough to get a break, and then to break into the film industry. So all those years and days ki bhadas (frustrations). When you’re doing films and trying to get the whole team to work in a particular direction, it takes a toll on your patience. So, I used that in Thank God with this character Aayan Kapoor, and that is what should be slightly amusing in the film, so I’m pretty much looking forward to this Diwali.
Are you at ease now that your films are doing well? Are you satisfied with the direction your career is going in?
I am never content, I’m never happy. In terms of work, I’m overtly critical of what I see of myself. I’m also very particular about how my work is being presented, but only when I’m involved in a project more than being just an actor, such as Shershaah. If you are involved in a film just as an actor, you can only do your bits, it is not on a wholesome level. So satisfaction for me is a fictitious thing, the closer you go to it, the further it runs away from you. But I feel grateful for the love that people have given to Shershaah and my films in the past. I think, right now, I’m still in that phase where I’m doing different things, new things, and Thank God is one such film that has all the ingredients to entertain people during the festive season.
Indra Kumar has made some massive commercial comedies, but people also say that one needs to keep their brains at home to enjoy his films.
Thank God definitely has brain, and more than that it has a lovely heart. When I read the script, I connected with the fact that it is all about emotions. Whether it was Shershaah, Ek Villain, Kapoor & Sons, it has always been the heart of the film that has touched me. Thank God has a lovely heart. I hope people will learn to be conscious about what they do with their families and what they do at work. They realise how people are obsessed with the wrong things, that is more important. Indra Kumar is obviously known for entertaining people over the years; he also has done dramatic films like Dil, and Beta, films that have entertained people without necessarily being mainstream comedies.
We often hear discussions about how actors are not comfortable starring in two-hero projects.
My choices of films through the years show my thought process. I’ve never shied away from having other strong characters in my films. Even in Brothers, a senior actor like Akshay Kumar played my elder brother, Akshaye Khanna played an important character in Ittefaq, and now Ajay Devgn is playing Chitragupta. I’ve never thought ‘dusre ka role kaisa hai?’ I see how I can contribute to the script, and I think you can impress the audience with either one scene or the whole film. I’ve never looked at it as ‘mera kitna aur kisi aur ka kitna‘. I look at the film in totality and not how much screen time I have, or how it works.