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Brothers - Interview with Sidharth Malhotra

Asiana interviews Sidharth Malhotra about his latest Bollywood film, Brothers

Posted: 11.08.15

Bollywood's ultimate hunk, Sidharth Malhotra gets hot, sweaty and roughed up in the boxing ring for his latest movie Brothers, starring khiladi Akshay Kumar, legendary Jackie Shroff and sultry Jacqueline Fernandez. In the few years he has been in Bollywood, he has shown his versatility by playing a variety of roles, other than the usual romantic, and this time is no less. We get to see him play a tough, action hero type, with massive muscles and a body to die for - which he has worked extremely hard to achieve for this role. Anisha Vasani finds out more...

 

 

 

Congratulations on your role in Brothers, which is based on martial arts.
Would you say this has been your dream role as you are starring alongside such a prolific star cast such as Akshay Kumar and Jackie Shroff?

Yes of course! I think every boy growing up wants to play a fighter, do some good action scenes and kick some ass in that genre. I was pretty excited working with such an iconic cast and Akshay has always been an iconic hero, so matching steps with him at some points were nerve wracking and then Jackie Shroff became a friend more than a father. With Jacqueline Fernandez, we didn’t have many scenes together but we all interacted and got along really well on set and I’ve learnt so much on camera and off camera, especially how to handle the work in front of these experienced actors. I think I’ll remember this film for various reasons for years to come.

They say that Brothers is a remake of the 2011 sports drama Warrior. Would you say that’s true?
Yes it’s true, its an official remake, which is a first. I think for Indian cinema, we are not claiming it's similar, we are saying that we are officially adapting it, however it's not a complete adaptation – it’s also been changed to cater to our Indian audience and palate, so the backstories are there but my character is totally different and the flavor of it is very different.

The film seems very intense and you play a very angry character. Was it challenging for you to play this after your role in Ek Villain?
It was challenging for me not to repeat the role of Ek Villain because it comes into the same zone. I was very conscious but by the time we started shooting it was such a different character and different world - there’s no romance for me in this film so emotionally it was different. The challenge was in the physicality and the transformation into the fighter was the emotional side of it.

Is it true that you and Akshay had to go on strict diets and train heavily in martial arts? How much did you have to train for the role?
When I signed the film, I realised that I had to gain 10kg and Akshay had to lose 10kg. They wanted Akshay to look leaner and me to look bigger to make us have different styles of fighting and look convincing so that we could hurt each other in the ring. I took four months off after Ek Villian in training - eating and sleeping everyday. We had international trainers from Los Angeles called 87/11 who trained us up, especially in martial arts, as I did not have any martial arts experience, whereas Akshay did. We had a gruesome five months of intense training; I gained weight and picked up a new sport and hobby. It was very painful at times so I discovered ice baths to muscle soak the pain– it really was my saving grace from muscle soreness and you’ll see me in the gym in a big tub filled with ice. The process was extremely painful looking back but it was all worth it and paid off in the end.

Do you feel that it was very competitive with you and Akshay, especially as he has background experience in Martial Arts?
Not at all! On the first day we broke the ice – we’re both from Delhi, both Punjabi, both into fitness, both into food and both our families are from the army. On the first day he was very sweet and said, ‘working with a younger actor like you motivates me’ and I replied ‘well working with an action star like you makes me nervous and scares me!’ This role was very new for Akshay as he has done so much action and he found it very motivating. We had so much fun on the shoot.

You must’ve had many funny encounters on set; can you share a few with us? Any pranks on Jacqeuline? Did you manage to swing a few real punches at Akshay?
With this kind of film, you have to make a lot of physical contact. We were only in shorts and bare bodies, so there was nowhere else for us to hit, so we either hit in the stomach or kicked the shoulders. Of course, I made a few mistakes where I made physical contact with Akshay but he’s extremely fun and he’s an actor who likes to enjoy everything. It was extremely fulfilling for him - all the games that we played, workouts together, pulls ups and even playing cricket in the ring together were so much fun. We played a lot of pranks. They had names printed on our backs, while we were posing for a picture and Akshay made a lot of fun on set even though the film is not a comedy. Offset we were always having fun, which made the set and work a lot easier.

Did you manage to get Jacqueline in the ring for a few shots?
Jacqueline and I wanted to have lots of fun in the ring and we even made a video, but we were not allowed to post it as the ring wasn’t allowed to be photographed, but both of us have been promoting the film and we get along famously. Unfortunately we don’t have many scenes together and barely interact. Maybe next time as I’d love to work more closely with her.

You’ve worked very closely with Karan Johar as an assistant director on the set of My Name is Khan and on your first debut Student Of The Year. How was it working with him on this film?
In the past, Karan was my boss and there was a lot of screaming and shouting but now for this film it was my payback time because I’m the actor. We have a great working relationship, as I understand how focused and great he is as a director. He is very particular, does his homework for you as an actor and we have a very strong working relationship. I didn’t use any of the perks that come with being an actor.

Do you feel that Karan is a big pinnacle in your career as he gave you an amazing opportunity to star in Student of The Year?
I owe him my career and the life I have here in Mumbai. It’s all because of him and Student of the Year that made me and that’ll be for life. Every actor wants to be part of Dharma Productions and to be selected is a blessing.

A lot of women lust over you worldwide! How does it feel to be the only Bollywood star to feature twice on the cover of Men’s Health? That must be a huge compliment!
I was unaware about how big it was the first time and even more unaware of what it would mean for me in years to come. I started my career as a model - it reminds me of the journey that I went through and of the things I should be thankful for. It’s more for the women to enjoy so I’m not complaining!

What can we look forward to in your upcoming projects?
The next two films I have coming up are more lighter - one is Kapoor and Sons, where I am starring alongside Rishi Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Fawad Khan - this is a sweet endearing, funny film and the second is a love story with Katrina Kaif, which will be shot in the UK, so these are my two softer features for the rest of the year and there are many more in the pipeline!

Brothers releasing on the 14th August.

Interview by Anisha Vasani
Transcribed by Imaan Ahmed
Sub-edited by Sonia Ahmed

 

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