He's had his share of ups and downs, but now national award winning actor Arjun Rampal has found a firm foothold in Bollywood. His aim is to be a contributor by bringing good cinema to viewers and says he doesn't want to be a liability.
"I hope I have grown as an actor. I am more comfortable in what I do. I think I understand it better now. I have had opportunities, I had been blessed with opportunities to work with the best in the business and I have learnt a lot from them. I feel there is a nice future and with the experience, I can hope I make good cinema," Arjun said in an interview.
Arjun's cinematic journey is not unusual. Like other models, after scorching the ramp, he too decided to dazzle on the big screen. But when he debuted in 2001 with Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, he had to face disappointment. At that time, no one knew that in future he would deliver such dazzling performances that he would be conferred a national award.
After failures like Moksha, Aankhen, Ek Ajnabee, he got his share of accolades when Farah Khan presented him as a villain opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om. The film was a super-hit and so was Arjun's performance as a cold-blooded producer and a mean lover.
Arjun's success mantra was not to give up.
"You should never give up and you should never say no. I think these are negative things. What I know is that I can act, I enjoy, I can contribute and entertain people and that's the belief that keeps me with who I am," said the 38-year-old.
"The day I get bored of what I do and the kind of work that I do, I would not do it. Right now, I am in an exciting phase. The phase that was not going right for me, I was in a phase of discovery, trying to find what is it that I really wanted to do, so again it became exciting on that level," he added.
"People will speculate to whatever levels they have to, but I don't live for those people. I live for my audiences, for bringing good cinema to my audience and being a contributor rather than a liability."
Arjun proved his mettle as an actor with hits like Don: The Chase Begins, Rock On!!! - for which he won a national award for the best supporting role - and Raajneeti.
Has the people's perspective changed after he won the national award?
"I don't know. I have had a slow start, but I think people who have really believed in me, got really proud especially my family, my friends, who have stood by me. A lot of professional people who I have worked with always said it will happen and when they saw it (happen), that was the highest point in my career and in my life," said Arjun.
His negative portrayal in Om Shanti Om and Raajneeti won appreciation not only from the critics but also from the audiences.
"I think people like my characters. There is no colour to any character, they are not grey, they are layered, and to find characters that are written like that I think is wonderful. I enjoy playing characters which are more dimensional and more layered rather than being one-dimensional," said Arjun, who has a quite an interesting bouquet of films coming soon.
He has finished shooting for Rascals and Shah Rukh Khan's highly anticipated sci-fi thriller Ra.One.
He has also been roped in for Tigmanshu Dhulia's Jai Ramji ki, Sudhir Mishra's next venture, a war movie and one more, which he refused to talk about.