Viewers are surprised by your transformative performance in Scoop. How did this happen?
I am glad it is a surprise. The long break that I took helped me to evolve and mature as an actor. Initially things didn’t pan out well, you know.There was a lot of learning to do on my end as to what went wrong. I cannot tell you how elated I am to read all those reviews and comments, the messages and calls. It is an overwhelming feeling. This is why you actually set your career goals to become an actor. Yeah, I am guessing this ten-year break helped me to become a better version of myself.
Were you surprised when Hansal Mehta thought of you for the role of the cop Shroff? Were you at all unsure whether you would be able to deliver?
I was totally surprised when Hansal Mehta told me he wanted me to play this part in a series he was doing for Netflix. To be honest, I was very apprehensive and reluctant to take on the part in Hansal’s film. I’ve been busy writing and producing things for my own company. I never imagined I’d go back to acting. But Hansal was sure, he was very insistent. So was the casting director Mukesh Chabra. I insisted that they do an audition with me so that we knew where we stood. I guess the audition went well. That’s why we’re having this tete-a-tete. I have to give it to Hansal and Mukesh to see this character in me.
How much did you observe the real character before playing the fictional one?
It is a fictional character. So I had to work on it and make it my own. Shroff is not a simple police officer. What got me excited is there are so many layers to this character. His relationship with Jagruti Pathak (Karishma Tanna playing a character inspired by Jigna Vora) with his team, his son… they were very exciting to explore. Then of course his health, which in the latter half deteriorates. Most important is the layer of guilt that he feels for his aggression towards Jagruti Pathak, in framing her… While all this complexity was on one side, on the other side, I produced a series on the life of Navneet Sikera. I interacted a lot with him. That came in really handy in Scoop.
Did you follow Jigna Vora’s case when it happened? What is your take on what happened to her?
I didn’t really follow Jigna Vora’s case to that extent when it happened. I found out a lot more after I met Hansal. It has been an unfortunate flow of incidents for her. I have been interacting with her recently, actually the last was just half a hour ago. She is a strong woman, battling the collaterals of all that she went through even today.
What do you think went wrong with your career after such a hyped debut? If you had a chance to change anything, what would it be?
I am guessing people didn’t particularly like my performance in Love Story 2050. I can see there were shortcomings in my early performances. I would certainly not want to change anything in the past, because that’s the reason I am here today. Had I not been through that journey I wouldn’t have been here today. The love and adulation I am getting for Scoop make the ‘now’ very beautiful for me. I wouldn’t like to change a thing. I am very happy with my life.
Tell us about your plans post Scoop?
Barring my immediate family, no one had any idea I was doing Scoop. Right now I am just enjoying the praise for the show and my performance. I have no plans. Lately I’ve just let things flow naturally as they come. Let’s see what lies ahead. I’d love to do something as challenging as Scoop again. I am a patient guy. I can wait.