You seem more excited about Aitraaz than any other film.
Aitraaz is the boldest film Iíve ever done. Itís a very controversial subject. It shows the woman to be in the supreme position of authority. Whoever called women the weaker sex didnít know what they were talking about.
Iíve always believed a woman can do anything she wants- from making babies to building homes and aeroplanes. In Aitraaz thereíre two women, one who breaks the man, and the other who reconstructs his life.
After the filmís premiere Mr.Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan told me how much Iíve underplayed my role and how tough it is to carry off the role. It feels nice to get appreciation from within the industry.
I play a very average guy- no jumping off skyscrapers, no hanging out of aircrafts. And yet thereís a quiet dignity and heroism associated with my character. He doesnít fight for applause. He fights for his convictions.
A lot of your films have you two women fighting over you.
Thatís true. Somehow most of my big films are solo-hero starrers. I guess Iím lucky to have beautiful women fighting over me. Aitraaz is the hardest film of my career.
The directors Abbas and Mustan gave me no dramatic scenes to perform. Iím a very normal 9-5 workingĖ class guy who loves to do his work honestly and go back to his wife in the evening.
Then one day his life goes out of control when heís accused of rape. I portray the agony of a decent middle class man as heís put on the dock for a disgraceful crime. The male as the target of sexual harassment is new to Hindi cinema.
Shouldnít we be exploring new themes instead of doing the same things over and over again? Two years ago, when I was in the US, the rape case involving basketball player Kolbe Brian hit the headlines.
A fan wanted to have sex with him. When he didnít give in, she accused him of rape. I was there in the country. I followed his humiliation. The idea stayed with me. Now when I did Aitraaz I referred back to that case.
Would you say Aitraaz is your sexually explicit film?
Itís the boldest film Iíve done. But thereís nothing sexually explicit about it. I earlier did Ajnabee with Abbas-Mustan which was about wife swapping. Now this is about the maleís sexual harassment. I can trust Abbas-Mustan to make sure the themes donít get cheesy or sleazy.
I love the strengths and weaknesses of my character in Aitraaz. He isnít afraid to show his feelings. He doesnít feel like a less of man just because heís caught on the wrong foot. He doesnít hesitate in seeking his wifeís help to bail him out of a crisis. I think we can call him a new-age metro-sexual character. Heís as real as you and me. I have never done that before.
Was it hard to take off your shirt and jump into bed?
We donít have any such scenes in the film. All said and done Aitraaz is a film targeted at women audiences first. Iíd call it a social not a sexual film.
Whatís the big deal about taking off my shirt? Nowadays actors take off their pants for no reason. Iím very happy with the way my career is going. Iím getting to play everything from a soldier in to a cook to a sailor. I donít mind going solo or being in multi-starrer as long as Iím challenged as an actor.
You and Priyanka are a very successful pair. Any awkwardness because of the rumours?
None at all. Iím not the least scared of being paired with her. Weíre a successful pair and weíll continue to do films together.
If Iím out of Suniel Darshanís Barsaat itís not because of Priyanka but dates. Seventy percent of the film is over. If I was in Barsaat itíd still be in the pipeline.