Q: What is the movie ‘Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty’ all about?
Q: What appealed to you about Holiday?
A: I said yes when I heard just the first half of the script from Vipul Amrutlal Shah. I was so captivated, I couldn’t wait to find out what happens in the second half. I was impressed by the script and how true to life the issues it deals with are. I am proud to be part of a film which touches upon reality and the very issues we face today. This is real cinema, not fictional cinema, this is what makes this role very exciting for me. In fact, I’ve learnt about the field of intelligence whilst submerging myself into this role, especially given the unique concept and narrative. I’ve heard stories surrounding the notion of sleeper cells, the role they have played in terrorist attacks and the importance of cleaning them up to safeguard populations. This script is raw, gritty and real, and I became addicted to the plot.
Q: What was it like working with director A.R. Murugadoss?
A: I was extremely honoured to work with A.R. Murugadoss. He is a very talented and skilled director. He very quickly learnt my acting style and guided me on how to give the best performance possible. I always joke that even though his height is quite short, his imagination and power is through the roof. He is a man of brains. This is a very special role for me to play as it has challenged me and has allowed me to portray a role I was very keen to get my teeth into. I truly hope that I have done the character justice for my fans.
Q: Was it a challenge to transition from the romantic parts to the more serious aspects that the role demanded?
A: Not really. I have been acting for a very long time, and it has become easy to transition from character to character, and from scene to scene. When you have great co-stars like Sonakshi Sinha you can bounce of each other’s onscreen emotions in seconds. One of the best things about this job is creating an atmosphere that draws everyone’s attention and sucks them into the film, rather than leaving them bored in their seats.
Q: We understand your dad was in the army, do you have memories of him in the army at all?
A: I don’t really have many memories of my dad being in the army, as he gave up the army by the time I was born. However, I would say he definitely brought me up with military discipline; he would wake me up at 5am and take me jogging with him, after that I was always early to bed and early to rise. Because those moments with him were precious, I never messed around when it came to my father; he was a great man and the army knew they were blessed to have him. I appreciated his every word and every movement.
Q: When you eventually get to take a break from your busy schedule, What is your favourite holiday destination?
A: I love Goa. It’s very chilled out. Everyone knows me there and everyone say’s hi, without being intrusive. It’s the only place in the country where I can roam around and enjoy myself. My family and I travel the world, but there’s no place like our little Portuguese cottage in Goa, we spend every Christmas there and have the best family memories.
Q: How supportive is your wife, Twinkle of your career?
A: Tina is a breath of fresh air when it comes to working in this industry. She has the sharpest, wittiest tongue, but I always know where I stand and what she truly thinks of my films. Her taste is very different to most, but her love and support over the years has kept me standing strong, for there is always a strong woman standing behind any successful man. She’s been through everything with me, my fans should really thank her more than me!!!
Q: What was your relationship like with you father-in-law, legendary Bollywood Actor, Rajesh Khanna?
A: I knew Kakaji even before I met his daughter. He was a producer and in my struggling days, I had visited his office 5-6 times to look for work. On one of my visits, he told me that he was making a film with Chunky Panday, post which I should come to him. He would often say to me, ‘Buddy what are you doing?’ He was a very chilled out man. One of my favourite memories was when we all went to Goa for a family holiday, it was unforgettable. Even though he was very sick, we insisted he came to enjoy himself, and why not!! What I liked most about him was that he was very lion-hearted, and he was a yaron ka yaar. Jo bol diya soh kar diya. He liked the fact that I was taking good care of his daughter and he loved my son Aarav a lot.
Q: A great father, a good actor and a successful businessman too… is there something in your life that you still long for, after achieving so much in life?
A: I have got more than I have ever dreamt of. I consider myself very blessed. I love my life and my job has taken me places and given me a life I never believed existed. All I can ask for now is health and happiness for myself and my family.
Q: What do you do to emotionally de-stress?
A: I am not a very talkative person, so I don’t talk much. I can offload 30-40% to my wife. That’s it. Otherwise, I deal with my stress myself. A good game of cricket in the garden usually does the trick, but I’m not the kind of man that takes my worries home with me, work is work, but it has no place in my family home, what happens in the outside world stays there. When I walk through my front door, I leave as much stress or anxiety there and walk in with a light heart so my kids don’t feel my pressure.
Q: Do you get to spend enough time with your kids?
A: As a father, seeing my kids grow up is one of the things which makes me happiest. Earlier, when I used to finish shooting, I would come home and hangout with my wife. But after my kids were born, I couldn’t wait to finish work so that I could rush back home and spend time with them before bedtime. Fatherhood changes all your priorities, but there’s one thing everyone knows about me, I always make time for my kids, no matter how small, I miss nothing!