Who’s the bigger villain between the two of you in Ek Villain?
Sidharth: Sizewise? Weightwise?
Riteish: I think our producer Ekta Kapoor. But otherwise it is Mohit Suri. When you start working with a director like him on a script like this — which, on various levels, deals with the darker side — it’s not only the dialogues or performances, it’s about the approach. It’s about everything you do, right from how each scene is shot. It becomes really easy to perform when everything else around you is so correct.
Sidharth: Yeah. And Mohit really did that. For instance, he even plays music on the set or he’ll give you correct references about how he wants the scene to come out. It was new, at least for me, to get this aggressive dark side. Actually for us to get that little off, psychotic thing. It’s tough to answer who’s the bigger villain because he has portrayed both the characters in a negative tone. As we keep joking, both of us are the villains and he and Tushar (Hiranandani), the writer, are the heroes.
While shooting did you get in touch with your dark side?
Sidharth: It was therapeutic. All my 29 years ki bhadaas has come out — coming to Mumbai from Delhi, staying here alone, changing houses, getting a job… all that has come out. I have become very calm. We were screaming, shouting, kicking and punching, which was therapeutic. I have taken out all my angst.
Riteish: He has become calmer, I have become more violent. This film is an unique experience because I have never done something like this and I have been working for the past 11 years. I have never been in a space that is so dark. Playing a dark character does put a question asking whether you are something like this in person, but then I realised that everyone is capable of being that. It’s just how you control and manage your life everyday to be good.
Both of you have powerful roles here but…
(Both together): That’s why we signed the movie!
Was there insecurity about the other getting more footage?
Sidharth: Mohit narrated the script to us exactly how it is. We were aware of what we were doing.
Riteish: We loved the film and knew that there was something exciting for each of us to do. I wanted to do that role as it was something I had never done before. I remember when Ekta and Mohit first called me, I asked, ‘Are you sure you want me to play this?’ They said yes and I said, ‘Okay let’s go ahead and do this.’ You find the film has a complete balance and once you sense it’s a complete story, then it doesn’t matter how the balances are shifting throughout the story.
Looking back, do you feel anything you did in the past was villainous?
Riteish: Umm… Saying yes to Grand Masti? (laughs) When Milap (Zaveri) started narrating the script of Grand Masti, I stretched, put a napkin on my face saying I can’t face you.
Sidharth: It’s too early for me to have done anything negative. Our film is far more intense and serious.
Riteish, does Grand Masti still haunt you?
Riteish: No, it doesn’t. I think I’m really proud of the film.
Will you do a sex comedy again?
Riteish: As of now, however much I could offer in that genre, I have done. I don’t know how much more I can do.
And Sid, what about you?
Sidharth: Comedy is comedy. Yes, if there is interesting content and cast. I found Grand Masti really funny.
Riteish: There is a way to do it. Many a times, we cross the line and go on to the cruder side. It can be aesthetic and yet funny. Sex comedy is a genre that can stay, but it needs to be appreciated, not only by masses but also classes. We need to find that one product that will cater to everyone. Just like Hangover. I really liked the film.
Did you take any tips from Riteish?
Sidharth: There is, of course, a sense of calmness and relaxation which comes with a lot of work, which I could see in him, even when I was doing an action sequence or any other kind of scene. So, that was great learning. With a lot of work, you know what is working and how to cheat at times to get that emotion or action quicker. He has always given inputs. At times, I have got too excited and it would end up with one knee here and one punch there (on him). But he has been a sport.
Riteish: There was an action sequence where he is beating me up. He had to hit my chest and I had to lie flat on the ground. After the fourth time, he hit me so hard…
Sidharth: Mohit on the mic was like ‘C’mon Sid!’, he pumped me up.
Riteish: After the take, I held my chest and shouted ‘aaah’. The thing that I have learnt from him is the kind of excitement that you need to put for every scene. So many times I used to sit (idle). Obviously, our roles are different, so it is not that I was doing the same thing that he was. But before a shot, he would go down, do push-ups, get his eyes bloodshot red for the scene, and if there is a retake, he would do it again. I used to look at him and feel that he is giving it his all, would I do something like this if I was doing that role? Probably not. That made me question whether I was lazy in my thought process. You start drawing parallels and that taught me that every shot is important. In my own way, I do what I have to do, but there are little things that you pick up. Somewhere ahead in my career, if I get a role like he has, probably I will use this input to improve myself.
Weren’t you shooting for Humshakals and Ek Villain at the same time?
Riteish: Yes. Interestingly, this telecam operator was the same for both the films. One day, he used to see me jumping and barking like a dog and the next day, he would see me and say ‘Sir aap bahut alag lag rahe hain.’ It’s not easy… Humshakals was really difficult! Seriously. doing comedy where you have to behave like a dog and dress up like a woman can really be physically exhausting. Probably mentally, a film like Ek Villain takes up a lot. I think Sid, you’ll make a pretty woman.
Sidharth: Will I? Okay then I’ll do Humshakals 2. And no, Riteish wasn’t barking on our set.
Riteish, are you as funny in real life?
Riteish: Films make me funnier. Someone asked me whether my sense of humour is something that I have and bring to films or has working in films made my sense of humour better? It is like playing cricket, where everyday when you start playing different bowlers, you start becoming a better batsman. You might have a sense of humour, but when you start working with comic talents like Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Johnny Lever, Sajid Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Govinda, David Dhawan, you start learning from them and know exactly how a punch is delivered. It catches on to you and you become funnier. If at all I am funny in real life, it is because of films.
Sid, from all the characters you’ve played so far, which one are you closest to?
Sidharth: I have only played three characters and the third one is yet to come out. So, I am still figuring it out. Closest would be the characters I have played in Student Of The Year and Hasee Toh Phasee. For this character, I had to go out-of-the-box to think and get out the negative aspects, angst and aggression.
Has Riteish’s humour rubbed off on you?
Sidharth: He is a great narrator of stories. I have heard all the fun stories he has been through. Some of them we can’t discuss openly (here), but it was great fun whenever he was on set. It would just lighten up the mood, no matter what kind of content you are doing. It is always good to have that vibe on set and he used to bring that.
Riteish is very good at imitating and mimicking others. Has he ever tried to imitate you?
Sidharth: Not in front of me.
Riteish: The greatest thing about mimicking someone is not to mimic the actor, but mimic a person who mimics them. Someone who is actually a great mimic deciphers the entire personality, takes a few traits and stresses on those lines and that’s how you do it. I actually just copy that person. I never copy the original guy. It is very difficult.
So, whose mimicry are you best at from the industry?
Riteish: Most of the time my own (laughs). I don’t know… it all started with Sanjeev Kumar in Dhamaal and it was not supposed to be there in the film. It was just a dialogue that I said off-camera and Indra Kumar said, ‘Yehi camera pe kar’ and it started from there.
At parties, whose mimicry do you get asked to do the most?
Sidharth: He is not doing stand-up comedy at parties!
Riteish: It starts at the story narration. If you are part of a situation or a story and then you are narrating and suddenly, you start acting like that person.
Sid, you have a Brazilian past (link-up with model Izabelle). Any plans to go for the football World Cup?
Riteish: Brazilian past… which has got nothing to do with the waxing part, right?
Sidharth: Yeah, I wish I could travel and see the World Cup. But I can’t.
Riteish: I am shooting. I wish I could go. My wife (Genelia) is a huge football fan.
Riteish: Sid, do you actually feel pressure with so many newcomers coming in?
Sidharth: Good question. Yeah there is always the pressure of performance, the pressure to portray a character correctly, to pull this character off.
Riteish, after Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya, have Genelia and you received any acting offers together?
Riteish: Both of us want to do a film in Marathi. She speaks Marathi at home. She has acted in five different languages — Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. And I think doing a Marathi film will be great. Probably, next year.
Sid, when Hasee Toh Phasee released, you had said that the best way to get a girl is to chase her and make her laugh. Are you still doing that?
Sidharth: Of course, chase them, do odd things and laugh. There is no hard and fast rule on how to get a girl. That was just one of our ways in Hasee Toh Phasee. It is still going on. I am trying my best. Right now, it is tough to get people with this whole villain and aggressive thing, but the intense, brooding thing is working out with girls.