The inspiration behind Ketto.
Well the main idea behind it was to make charity in our country easy, accessible and fun. We felt that charity was very serious, it had a lot of gravity attached to it. A lot of people wanted to help but did not know how to. So we wanted to make it very easy. When you go on to the platform you will realize that in as much time as it takes to buy a movie ticket you can help contribute to someone’s life. Ketto makes charity that simple.
On being associated with various charities like Save The Children, SOS Children’s Villages etc. Has charity always been an intrinsic part of you?
I come from a family that does a lot of charity and I felt like we have this misconception in our country which is that something we’ve been taught since childhood that ‘ek haath sey aise do ke doosre haath ko pata na chale’ (give from one hand in such a way that the other hand doesn’t get to know of it) and I think that was great because it taught you humility- to give but don’t feel too proud of it, just give quietly. But I felt that as a celebrity if I can sell a cola, clothes, bikes and cars, then there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be standing for a good cause. As a celebrity it was very important for me to come forward and endorse something. We would say that ‘oh you are doing this I would like to do this as well,’ and create awareness.
On helping Shiva Keshawan, 2014 Winter Olympics participant from India.
Shiva was somebody who came to us through this organization known as the Olympic Gold Quest, an organization that works with training athletes and helping them with their training equipment and stuff. I thought it was amazing and heartwarming that so many people came forward to help, but it was also sad that in our country an athlete needs money to actually help with his training and equipment. It was something that saddened me.
On activism today.
I think we all have a voice and social media has given us a platform for the expression of that voice, but I think it’s a little misguided right now, because anything that happens people have these angry sentiments about it and people want to express that but then it fizzles out quickly. So I think activism is great as long as it has a direction. Shortlived anger is of no point because people go on social media and vent and then their job is over. It needs to lead to something more.
On AAP’s political zig-zagging
Well at least there’s been a beginning! And I think as a political party you need to give it time to grow. I think they’d just started. But I think what’s great is that they won that many votes because I think in a country like India it shows that democracy is really flourishing. A party that started a year back ended up defeating the party that had been in power for so many years. I think that’s a great sign for democracy. It might take sometime to get it right, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
On being the adrenaline junkie.
Well I am a little obsessed with speed- I do skydiving, rally racing. I’ve been flying now. So it’s something that’s been a part of me and its something that I enjoy a lot. People say that you take your career slow so I guess the speed comes out somewhere else.
On being a gastronomical adventurer.
I love food! Though I don’t look like it because I have a metabolism that is faster than Usain Bolt. I don’t think you can be a Punjabi or a Bengali and not be a foodie. It’s sort of a part of our genetic make up!
On working at Motley (Naseeruddin Shah’s theatre group).
It was amazing! Naseer bhai is an amazing guy and he’s also an amazing actor to learn from, simply because he’s been acting for a long time now. But when I was working with him every time that he’d turned up for a rehearsal or hold a workshop, he was incredibly enthusiastic about it. And I think that it’s really amazing that when you worked for so many years and you still put in so much hard work and enthusiasm. For a new actor there’s no greater lesson.
Theatre or acting on screen?
Well I prefer screen for sure! Theatre is, of course, something that is fun but for me this whole process of cinema is something that I have been into for a really long time. So I like everything that goes into cinema, beyond the acting.
On his latest film, Kaun Kitna Pani Mey Hain.
It’s a farcical look on the water problem and it’s dealing with an issue of how we are running out of water and that in the next 30-40 years probably all the wars will be fought over water. But it’s portrayed in a very funny and entertaining sort of a way and I think that’s a sign or a great script- being entertaining, making you laugh, but at the same time telling you something you don’t know. It makes you enter a world that you are not aware of. And that is what the script had which I thought was fantastic.
On being a comic book junkie.
I’ve been obsessed with comic books since I was young, ever since I can remember. And then at some point, around 6-7 years back I started collecting comic books. And like it happens, when you start collecting something you become more and more obsessed. And I recently splurged on a comic book, which was a lot of money (the actor spent $6000 on a vintage Batman comic). But it was worth it because it was the entry of one of my favourite villains in a comic book. So I wanted to have it!
Crazy questions you’ve been asked.
There have been some really random crazy questions that have been thrown at me. I once went for an interview I was asked by the interviewee to tell her something interesting. I was confused, and asked her about what? So she said anything that would make a good quote!!
Describe your self in three words.
Tall, dark and growing!