Ruslaan Mumtaz: It is easier to say I don’t love you!

BollywoodLife cornered the young actor at the music launch of his new movie I Don’t Luv You. In a candid chat Ruslaan Mumtaz opened up about the film, love in today’s times and why he hesitated to speak about his alleged involvement in that notorious MMS scandal

He made his Bollywood debut six years ago with the teenage love story MP3-Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar. The film certainly won him positive reviews, even though it was not a commercial success. Since then Ruslaan Mumtaz has appeared in several movies like Terre Sang, Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai and Dangerous Ishq. These days the 30-year old is excited about his latest film, I Don’t Luv You. We caught up with the charming dude recently to talk about his work and to discuss other issues that kept him in the news.

The poster of I Don’t Luv You looks provocative and edgy….

There is more to the poster than meets the eye. Similarly, there’s more to the film than what is obvious in this poster. The film is about a MMS scandal. It’s about two people who are in love…or they aren’t – you will really not know unless you watch the film. The theme revolves around a boy, a girl and a MMS clip. It talks about the hazards of technology and how the dark side of it could actually play havoc. It is a love story with the recording being the conflict point.

Almost always the conventional Bollywood love stories romanticise that impossible fairytale love. The title of your film negates that idea. Why?

This is a realistic film. We have just tried to portray how the youth is in today’s time. This generation feels that love is a burden. The much needed trust that nurtures love is diminishing. The challenges, the pressure and the commitment issues are too much to handle the moment you confess your love to someone. So this generation is hesitating to say yes, I love you. On the contrary, if you say I don’t love you – and that’s what my film says – nothing is at stake. In fact, nothing is involved.

Do you believe in what your movie says? Would you reiterate the same sentiment in your personal life too?

Yes, I do feel that saying I don’t love you is much easier. The moment you say I love you, the statement automatically carries unwanted responsibilities with it.

After your debut film MP3 and after some not-so-memorable roles in movies that followed, you seemed to have disappeared. Now you have three back to back releases. How does it feel to be back in the reckoning?

As an actor, I have been doing my job. Even in the last two years, though I haven’t had any releases, I have been busy shooting for different projects. And If I am doing my job regularly, I feel that I am around. In fact, I was busy working on three projects – I Don’t Luv You, Mastang Mama and Romeo Idiot and Jattani Juliet. You will hear those announcements real soon.

I Don’t Luv You is about a MMS scandal. You have been dragged through the mud for something similar in your real life (allegedly with singer Salma Agha’s daughter Sasheh)….

Whatever happened in the past is blurred from my memory.

What exactly happened?

You know what – I haven’t really spoken about this. If I had, it would have shown someone else in a bad light. My personality doesn’t allow me to do that. Just to prove that you are right, you can’t say that somebody else is wrong! So I would not rather talk about it.

Fair enough! But looking back at the sorry episode in your life, how do you feel?

I think it was a very stupid thing to do. I think it was immature to bring whatever happened in my personal space to the media. I don’t want add more to that immaturity. Coincidentally, I am working in a film that deals with the same issue. I sympathise with everybody who is involved in incidents like this. I don’t think that anyone will shoot a MMS or a video and leak it to the press or to anyone for any kind of mileage.

But don’t you think that this film will dig up old bones? It might also get you more mileage…

If somebody does an interview with me and then it goes out, I can’t control it. But I am not calling a press conference. I am not asking for mileage. You can point the finger of blame at me only when I am going out and talking to the media. But if somebody else is talking about it, I have no control over the situation.

Tell us, as a newcomer, as a young actor, how do you choose your projects?

As an actor I am very selfish. I play safe. I select only those roles I am comfortable playing and perhaps the ones I think the audience will like. So first I see what my character is all about, then the subject is my priority. I cannot do a film that I can’t watch with my family. I did Terre Sang. The film was about teen pregnancy, but I knew that the subject would be handled with maturity. Even I Don’t Love You is about a sex scandal, but I am confident that it has been handled maturely. I will never do a sleazy film.

What kind of films do you want to do in the future? How would you carve a niche for yourself in the industry?

I am doing what I like to do. I am not here for any competition, or for the box office success alone. All I am looking forward to is acceptance as an actor. I want people to appreciate my work. I want that hope in the minds of the audiences that sooner or later this guy will arrive.

You are quintessentially good looking, a chocolate hero. Would you dare to experiment with different, unconventional, off the beaten track roles, considering that Bollywood is not just about regular love stories any more? Would you take that risk?

There will be work which will be different when the right time comes. I know I will not look like this forever. So five years down the line, I will have a choice to play different kinds of roles. But these romantic guy types of roles have a shelf life. And sooner or later this shelf life is gonna expire.So at the moment I am enjoying these college-goer kinds of roles, because they are not going to last forever!