What kind of changes have you seen in yourself before you went to Dharamshala and after you returned?
(Thinks about it and then asks Natalie. She thinks about it too and says, ‘He’s not too stuck in his ways now.’) I have realised that life is what happens to you between your plans. I had these X amounts of investments, a house, the best television, the best microwave, the best clothes– two cupboards full of them with price tags on… I lost everything overnight. I couldn’t understand why it happened. I was very angry with God, very angry that I had been a righteous person, fair to everyone, never harmed anyone, then how could this person do this to me? But then I realised that person was my biggest teacher. All my attachments were gone. I was free for the first time in my life. My slate was clean. Now I could write what I wanted. That was the opportunity I got. I think I stopped holding the sand tightly in my hands. I was too much of a control freak. I was a liar. I used to lie to myself the most. As an actor, our job is to lie to ourselves. Only if we lie to ourselves convincingly can we convince the audience. That seeps into your real life sometimes. You don’t know when to stop acting. I am acting with her (points to Natalie), I am acting with my father. I am saying things that I don’t really mean. I want everyone to love me as an actor, a public figure. I am being somebody else I am not comfortable with, not happy with. I’ve stopped that. Now I am very open. I don’t think twice about saying anything. I just think, ‘What can happen to me that has not happened already?’. I think I am tasting life for the first time in a fulfilling way and that is reflecting in more ways than one. I am happy.
Natalie has known the pre-Dharamshala you and the post-Dharamshala you….
I’ve known her for three years now, but I don’t want to talk about it. Frankly, I feel that your personal life is not your personal life if it goes public. And I don’t want to have a relationship with eight million people. There is a sense of sanctity that is maintained if you don’t make a reality show out of your life. I’d like to maintain that. We make a good team. We are happy together.