Natasha Coutinho (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 15, 2017)

Sidharth Malhotra, who is known for his lover boy roles, is all set to change his image with his upcoming films, from the maar-dhaad Reload to the chills and thrills of Ittefaq and Neeraj Pandey’s reel-life mentor-protégé drama Aiyaary. “Yes, I’m working on some unconventional movies. Reload is a popcorn action flick with some daredevil stunts, chases and hand-to-hand combat, while in the murder mystery, Ittefaq, I play a compelling character alongside Sonakshi (Sinha) and Akshaye (Khanna). Aiyaary is an espionage thriller set against an army backdrop and I’m eagerly looking forward to shooting with Neeraj (Pandey). As an actor, I want to entertain the audience with different stories and not stereotypical roles,” asserts the actor.

Reload is almost complete with only a song left to film and even Ittefaq which is being shot at Madh Island should wrap up in the coming days, just before he kicks off Aiyaary with Manoj Bajpayee. It’s been six years since Sidharth made his debut with Karan Johar’s campus caper, Student Of The Year, alongside Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan and he’s ready to hand over the SOTY baton to Tiger Shroff who toplines the sequel. “I’ve seen Tiger’s work, he’s a spectacular dancer and he will win easily if there’s a college dance competition in the film,” the 32-year-old actor smiles.

SOTY brings up the subject of his steady date, Alia Bhatt. After a brief estrangement, the couple has often been spotted hanging together in Mumbai and taking off on holidays together. But while Sidharth is ready to talk about Mumbai, the city he’s gradually fallen in love with, he clams up on Alia, the girl he is reportedly in love with.

“Mumbai is buzzing with energy and a bunch of inspirational people who push you into working harder. Living alone also teaches you to value the little things in life. It’s made me more independent, responsible and self-disciplined. I ensure I spend quality time with my friends and family and go on a holiday once a year,” he says, but is quick to add that at heart he will always be a Delhi boy. “I miss Delhi, and home-cooked food the most. It will always be home for me.”

Many of his contemporaries, from Alia and Parineeti Chopra to Sonakshi Sinha, have turned playback singers. Is he planning to join the crooner-actors too? “I’m an occasional bathroom singer and have not thought of professional singing yet,” he says shortly. What about producing or directing a film? “I’m in a very happy space as an actor right now. I’m getting to work with the best of directors and looking forward to reaching out to millions of hearts with different stories and challenging roles,” he exults, going on to reveal that though it’s all work at the moment, whenever he can take some time off, he would like to take up adventure sports. His dad was in the merchant navy and he has had a connect with the sea since he was a child. “I love the sea too and would like to take professional training in river-rafting when I can find time,” he signs off.