Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai
He was a newcomer that no one was willing to accept at face value. His first two films, Tujhe Meri Kasam and Out of Control, bombed badly.
But then came Masti. A year later, Riteish Deshmukh did Kya Kool Hai Hum and proved he was no fluke.
Now, after other hits like Dhamaal, Heyy Babyy, Malaamal Weekly and Bluffmaster, Riteish is back with Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai, a romantic comedy about an alien from Venus who lands on Earth in search of true love.
Sri Lankan beauty queen Jacqueline Fernandez is paired opposite Riteish in the movie directed by Milap Zaveri.
Riteish spoke to Syed Firdaus Ashraf about JKSAH. Excerpts:
When was the first time you saw a girl and said to yourself, Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai?
The first time I saw Jacqueline in her alien costume in the film. She was stunning.
But aliens are supposed to be scary...
Believe me some aliens are hot. Really, really hot.
'Sometimes some love stories are simply out of this world'
Were you bowled over by an out of this world girl in your childhood?
We were all boys in the family. As kids, we only talked of Superman, Batman and other boy stuff. No girlie stuff. But once you become a teenager, almost every pretty girl looks like a fairy.
The name of the film reminds me of that Sridevi song from Chaalbaaz, Naa Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai...
[Interrupts] We have our own Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai song. The story is very simple. I play the role of Rajesh Parekh, who is extremely unlucky in love. Whenever, he goes and tells a girl, 'I love you', he only gets a no.
Then Jackie descends from Venus because on her planet they believe that the only place where love exists is on Earth. The story is about a girl from Venus and a boy from Earth. Sometimes some love stories are simply out of this world.
What made you agree to a new director like Milap Zaveri?
I worked with him in Heyy Babyy and Masti when he was a writer. I had asked him why he did not direct a film. Little did I know that he would actually do it.
I liked the script and wanted to do a romantic comedy. It is just the kind of film that I would like to watch in a theatre.
'We are really touched when Farah Khan agreed to be a part of the film'
Is it true that you are superstitious and the reason why the film is releasing on April 9 is because Masti, a common hit between Milap and you, was released on the same date?
It is not like that. The film was supposed to release on April 2, but due to certain issues it is releasing on April 9. After the date was finalised, we realised that it was the same day when Masti released.
We heard that Farah Khan is also acting in the film?
Yes, she is a very close friend of ours. We are really touched when she agreed to be a part of the film.
As an actor, what is the most satisfying feeling for you?
When people say that I make them smile and laugh. I feel this compliment is the greatest that an actor can get.
In 2007, you had hits like Dhamaal and Heyy Babyy. But they were followed by flops like De Taali, Do Knot Disturb and Aladin. Does that disturb you?
We feel every film that we work in will do well. Why else would we do it? But sometime things don't work out. You can imagine a masterpiece, but you cannot go right every time. Just like every painting cannot be a Mona Lisa.
I'm not shy about acknowledging my failure. The fact that a film failed means I have failed and that I should learn from my mistakes. For example, my role in Rann was very different. But the film didn't work. So, you start all over again.
'Today, if I do a film like Kya Kool Hai Hum, it may not work'
Who are the people you go to for advice?
No one. I make my own decisions.
Do your family members act as critics for you?
My parents don't but my brothers do.
Why have you stopped doing sex comedies like Kya Kool Hai Hum? They redefined your career. Do you feel awkward now?
It is not about awkwardness. When I did KKHM, I felt it was new. You should know when to do those films and when to get out. Today, if I do a film like KKHH, it may not work.
'I regret not doing Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local'
Do you regret not being in a film like 3 Idiots?
No. I cannot regret that because I was not offered the film. Regret can happen only if I were offered the film and didn't do it.
So, which is the one role you regret not taking up?
[Thinks Hard] Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local and 99. I wanted to do them, but could not adjust my dates. But I am happy they did well.