Author Salman Rushdie and Tamil-Telugu-Hindi actor Siddharth get along like a house on fire. The unlikely friendship started during the casting of Deepa Mehta's adaptation of Rushdie's Midnight's Children and now
continues although the film is over.
For the role in Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children Siddharth was the author Salman Rushdie's personal choice.
Says Siddharth, `Salman says my character Shiva is very special. He is an iconic character in the novel.I always considered Saleem Sinai one of the greatest heroes in literature. And for a great hero one needs some
kind of a foil. I play that foil
. I don't have the kind of space in the novel or the script that Saleem Sinai has.But I find my character very fascinating.For me to work with Deepa is a dream-come-true.
She's mother-figure and a best friend.I love to her bits.That lady is cathartic.And let's not kid ourselves, Midnight's Children is the 'Booker Of Bookers'. To be part of it is an honour. Nothing like that is being done in
Expressing a disenchantment with the quality of cinema in India Siddharth says, `We're happier with regressive than progressive cinema, more eager to crossover into the West than to make pan-India films. It's really
disturbing. I have to say I've been singularly fortunate to get interesting roles. I came into acting with no background in cinema.In my 8-9 year career I've worked with ten first-time directors.`
After Midnight's Children Siddharth is again working with a female director Nandini Reddy, this time in a `high-energy comedy`.
Says Sid, `Nandini is the first director I'm working with who has made a hit film before. I've never done that before. It's taken eight years for a hit director to want to work with me.`
In February 2012 Siddharth turned producer with what he calls an autobiographical film. `It's called How To Mess Up In Love. I am master of that. I've done it all my life.Young people from far and wide come to consult
me on how to mess up in matters of the heart.
I am urban legend of romantic misfires. It did really well in the Tamil-Telugu languages, and there's talk of it being remade into Hindi. but I've to day Indian
cinema has become very comfortable with mediocrity.Every day we celebrate it.
We've come to a stage where good films are not allowed to be made. There is an embargo on quality work.Bad films are
given a boost in marketing and release. Audiences are getting systematically dumbed down.Good films will only work accidently.
We won't see Paan Singh Tomar for some time now. It's like that
illegitimate child whom the father owns up to after he becomes successful.`
Siddharth is looking at a rewarding period ahead. ' I am very optimistic about the future.If I am getting work it means the work is getting better. I came in 12 years ago as this idealistic actor ready to change the
system.Now I am in my mid-30s. I am just excited to get good work. I don't care about changing the future of cinema. I act because it makes me happy.`
However Siddharth says Tamil cinema is encouraging bright new directors. `Even Gangs Of Wasseypur is dedicated to three Tamil directors.So it's not just regressive South Indian films but also quality work that's
Siddharth says he's single. `Love will take a backseat for a few years. I am single, and fortunately so.I am obsessive about my work.Relationships need more nurturing than the first few months of excitement. One
needs to work on something more endurable.`
Ask him about his link-up with Kamal Haasan's daughter Shruti and Siddharth quips, `No, I just did two films with her. I've actually been linked with every co-star I've worked with. That's good because I do romantic films in the South.
Having said that, let me confess I haven't found a relationship of consequence for a while. Until I own up to a relationship it's just a rumour. And by the way I don't normally talk about my
personal life. Each time I am asked my standard reply is, 'And how is you sex life doing? ' If you want to know about mine why can't I know about yours? '