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Self-promotion is just an illusion. Let the box office do the talking

People often say I am underrated as a star. But my question is – who rates you as a star? The film industry or people who build that image of you?

From the point-of-view of box-office success and collections, I’m very happy and my career has been very fruitful. Rival camps are always trying to put you down to pump up the star they are plumping for. If they want to create that perception, it is their prerogative!

I will keep playing characters that interest me. I know I don’t figure on the list of actors of some filmmakers. But that’s fine. They don’t understand the kind of cinema I do and I don’t understand the cinema they do.

But I am thrilled that my fan base is very strong. They love me! The fact that Murder 2 made a record-breaking box-office collection of Rs 66 crore proves this. The success of Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai proves that further.

An actor buys space in the media today but you can’t fool the trade. There are leading newspapers that feature people on their front pages even though no one watches their films. But they have the power to buy media space. There are some actors who are always out there in the media. The media also needs someone to occupy their space. But at the end of the day, it is the audience reaction and the success of your film that matters. And I have dished out successes consecutively. 

Self promotion? Why should I be visible when I don’t have my films up for release? I choose to be that way. So if people think I lack in that department, so be it. I don’t like going hammer and tongs talking about myself when I don’t have any release. Also, I cannot leave my wife and kid and go all out to be in the news. I have a life, I have a family!

As far as films are concerned, I choose the films I want to do and they work. So I don’t need to compare myself: Who is one film old or who has been in the industry for just a few years?I wanted to do ads but I never got the right brands. I endorsed a pan masala product and regret it. It was the worst decision of my life. Pan masala is a taboo product and I should not have done it. Back-to-back successes are terrible because it’s a lot of work. It feels great being recognised for the work you have done. For me, box-office collections are dearer than critical acclaim. When the audience endorses your films and over a period of time they keep endorsing them, it tells you that what you are doing is really good. But you also need to understand that it could easily slip away. Success is delayed failure. I could fail again but I need to be humble and keep that in my mind.Is there pressure to back a hit with another hit? I think there is much more pressure to release a film after a flop. Everyone has a different way of looking at things. Sometimes, actors assume that when their films are doing well, they don’t want to take risks and keep doing the same stuff. But I believe in taking risks.

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