Sidharth Malhotra on the pressures of performing, even off camera
Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 20, 2017)

Sidharth Malhotra admits that despite becoming a successful actor within four years of his 2012 debut, Student of the Year, his mind, like a pendulum, is constantly swinging between the Delhi boy who dreamt big and the Bollywood actor who is delighted to have arrived but always expected to be in character. “It’s the pressure of performing when the cameras are turned off that bothers me. Fame is short-lived and I don’t want to fake it,” he sighs. “I have lived 25 years of my life doing fun things but now if I spend time with close friends or even family, it is up for conversation. I understand it’s the nature of my job, but I’m still that Delhi boy who doesn’t want everything he does to get published because he believes he’s big sh*t. That’s a terrible space to be in and I never want stardom to go to my head. So I go from Delhi boy to Bollywood actor over and over in my head.”

Sidharth admits that his approach to doing films is also different from his contemporaries’ because of his “outsider status”. Things like how much more money he’s earning than competition is a nonissue. “Everything makes me feel fortunate,” asserts the actor, who has just wrapped up Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s action-thriller, Reload, which he reiterates is not a sequel to Bang Bang or has any connection to the 2014 Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif-starrer. “The stunts were high-voltage with respect to the hand-to-hand combats. French action director Cyril Raffaelli (who’s choreographed action sequences of Hollywood films like Transporter and District 13), flew down to train me so I get the body language right. The action is highly stylised, there is a lot happening in cramped spaces like streets, restaurants, bars and even a shop,” he informs.

In the first week of February, he starts the remake of Yash Chopra’s 1969 murder mystery, Ittefaq, which will mark the directorial debut of Ravi Chopra’s son Abhay. “Dharma Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment are coming together and that makes it a film with a lot of metal. You can expect something different and special,” he promises, adding that Aashiqui 2, which reunites him with Alia Bhatt, is also in its final stages of scripting.

Buzz is, Shakun Batra is writing a script with him and Alia in mind. Sid, who dismisses his relationship status with Alia as not “print-worthy”, is more forthcoming on the subject of re-uniting with Shakun. “It’s hardly been a year since Kapoor & Sons released and keeping aside the rumours, I’d like to say that Shakun and I are connected because we’re both from Delhi and started off as assistant directors. We understand each other’s camera language and it will be great to work in another feature with him, whenever it happens,” he says, refusing to take credit for his performance in Kapoor & Sons, saying Shakun gave the character an edge and he gave it his touch, both meeting half way.”

Last month, they reunited for a commercial shoot with Priyanka Chopra. Sid, who’d met the actress briefly in the past, says she’s easy to work with, has lots of experience and an open mind. “She knew Shakun, when I joined them on set there was laughter all around. It was a long day with lots of work and she was simultaneously coordinating with her teams in the US on a Hollywood film. It was wonderful to watch,” recalls Sid who is also working with the Indian government for Skill India, a training programme for people under 30.

He admits that seven years ago if someone had told him to take off his shirt and dance, he wouldn’t have done it. “On the Dream Tour, I was dancing bare-chested in a stadium packed with fans. An actor who doesn’t contradict himself over the years, is an actor who has not grown at all,” he signs off.