Back in 1993, I was studying in Delhi, and I had a girlfriend. I had never touched a girl before that in my entire life. One day, I decided to go out with her to a garden. We were sitting beside each other, and I just glanced around to see if anyone was looking at us, and I put my hand over hers. I thought love started in this way.

In my head, I believed even though I am an actor, there was no need to dance. That's not me.

There are thousands of ways to make people laugh - satire, black comedy, slapstick.

I interact with journalists all the time, and I note how they behave.

I have fallen in love so many times. If one relationship ended, I would search for another girl. I was always madly in love with all the girls that I dated.

You will never see me dancing around the trees, chasing a heroine; I will never do films, no matter what the budget, for the heck of it.

Being a recognised face has its problems. I miss the freedom to go anywhere I want to.

Most people go to ashrams or retreats to destress and rejuvenate themselves. But I come back to my roots, the place where I spent half my life. And when I return, I spend time in the farms, eating a stalk of sugarcane, driving a tractor, and chilling with childhood friends.

The Indian audience is getting exposed to world cinema and realising the power of unique plots and distinct characters.

Often when I feel I am reaching a saturation point in my performances, I think of coming back to NSD and attending workshops.

Love stories should be relatable.

I won't give the credit to 'good fortune.' Whatever I have achieved is because of my hard work and passion.

For me, as an actor, there is no commercial or independent or art cinema. For me, it's a character that is given by the director. And it is a task for me that I have to fulfill it to the best of my ability regardless of the kind of film that it is.

I do big films just to experience personal satisfaction.

How long will we keep making films where hero-heroine is dancing around trees?

I prefer if friends come over to my office and we talk our heart out over a cup of coffee. I feel that no one talks freely at industry bashes. Everyone has to behave in a certain way, and I think no one is real there. We can't have heart-to-heart conversations, and I start feeling uncomfortable at such dos.

If I am expected to play a dancer, I will learn dancing but won't do the random, meaningless dancing.

I am doing characters that have so many layers. And I am very lucky that I show a lot of variety.

Looks is a matter of perception. At Cannes, Europeans think I am good looking, while in India, I am not.

I feel satisfied after achieving something difficult.

I still can't believe it when people say I am a celebrity.

'Ali' is the story of a lower middle-class golfer who becomes a champion. I find the game very interesting and would like to continue playing it regularly after the movie is wrapped up.

I believe everyone is mad when they are in love, and I don't think that can ever end.

My job is to work hard and be honest with my character, and that's in my control. I can only try to give my best performance.

The easier it looks on screen, the more hard work goes into making it so.

I am very confident about my work because I have worked very hard.

I am trying every genre.

I have seen people climbing up and down the ladder of success, and I learnt a lot from them.

'Freaky Ali' is not a heavy film. It's a simple but inspiring film. It will inspire those who want to go from zero to hundred. People who have made an effort to achieve success from nothing will be able to connect to the character.

I was introduced to cinema by C-grade films that played in my village, Budhana, in UP. Only films by Dada Kondke, Mahendra Sandhu, and Kanti Shah were available.

Rituparno Ghosh is a legendary director, and I happen to be a huge fan of his.

Commercial hit films such as 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan,' 'Talaash,' and 'Kick' had big superstars to sell them; that may not have been the case if it were just me.

I kind of discovered Kolkata when I was shooting here for 'Kahaani.' I found the city fascinating.

Even though I hated doing farming and wanted to just get out of the village, I would work from 5 in the morning till 5 in the evening.

I grew fond of acting rather late. And that was because I was not getting any job. I had a few friends in Delhi who were associated with theater. They took me to see some plays in Delhi and Baroda. That led me to believe the I could also act. And it was after that I joined National School of Drama in 1993.

I am ably balancing big and small films. With every big film I do, I try to take up films that are high on content and small on budget.

If one line about the film excites me, I try to take it forward.

'Freaky Ali' may look like an easy role to others, but it is not easy.

In 'Haraamkhor,' I have explored a few things which I wouldn't have been able to do in bigger films. The process of shooting this film was so organic that it enhanced me as an actor and an artiste.

There was electricity in our village only for 2-3 hours a day, so all my life, I studied under a lamp.

I always thought golf was a game reserved for the rich and the elite... But it's a misconception. It's a highly technical game, and it's a game that you can play and master alone. You require sharp skills for it, and you can play the game alone.

I used to clean the sets and serve tea to the artistes.

I love observing people. Each face tells so many stories. It lets me understand emotions, and that, in turn, helps me apply my skills as an actor.

Before 'Raman Raghav 2.0,' I played a criminal in 'Badlapur.' Though the character was innocent, he was not correctly interpreted by some sections of the audience.

I knew I would get offers to play the villain after 'Kick,' and I had already decided to reject all of them.

Kabir Khan is a director who goes out of his way to make his actors comfortable. He's very chilled out. He makes the environment on set very casual and friendly.

I don't want my work to be heavy. The challenge is to make it interesting and engaging, keeping in mind the need for method acting. This is what I have learnt from Bharat Muni's 'Natya Shastra' and from the Russian theatre legend Stanislavsky.

Background scores allow me an absolute flight of the imagination, and I travel in my mind's eye. I do not like the scores to have vocal notes, because they act as a limitation to these flights of fancy.

In Mumbai, you have to act in real life, too.