Did you have fun at the shoot? We were in the middle of a forest!
I had a great time. It’s my zone because that’s how I spend most of my year. The location was great! The shoot kinda expressed who I am with the bike and the adventure—I’m a mix of those two things. I was at ease and that’s what made it fun.
You’ve had a very busy year, it seems. Tell us what you’ve been up to.
I’ve been travelling a lot. First I went to Leh with my dad along with 35 bikers. We rode all the way from Chandigarh to Leh. I really love the fact that I did that with my dad. It was a great bonding experience. After that, I made a trip to Siachen Glacier, which is guarded by the Indian Army, bordering China and Pakistan. Initiated by Eros Now, the mission was called Salute Siachen. Fifteen of us, including Arjun Rampal, Rudra Pratap Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki and Sonnalli Seygall, went on the trek. Apart from the North Pole and the South Pole, it has the largest glaciers on the planet. And it is fiercely protected. We just wanted to tell the soldiers that we’re so grateful for what they do for us; for selflessly being away from their families. They’re doing it so that we have the freedom to enjoy our lives without even thinking about what’s going on at the borders. It was an amazing journey.
You’ve been up to something with the NBA?
Yeah, I’m working for the NBA in India. I get to play with NBA superstars who come to India and create content for them. Also, I signed up as the brand ambassador of the first professional basketball league in India called UBA. And now I’m having a camp for 25 of the best Indian players—16 of them will then be selected for a camp in the U.S.
Sweet. You also launched SquadRann almost a year ago. What was the motivation?
SquadRann is a bunch of us, including a lot of the guys you see on Roadies, doing crazy, adventurous, sporty things. This country has the largest youth population in the world and it needs to be more active. In a few years, all these guys who have to be decision-makers will be tackling health issues which will not let them operate at optimum capacity. So now, through SquadRann, we want to revive the joy of just competing against one another and spread awareness. It’s an important message.
You also build and customise bikes in your free time, including the one starring in this shoot. How did that start?
This thing started off as a passion of mine. My dad bought me my first official bike and I started to modify it. When I showed it to my parents, they were really proud to see the result. That’s what brought me to Roadies also. I was going to join the Army and the only reason I auditioned for Roadies was because I wanted to win the bike. So my dad supported me and told me to go do it. When I saw life outside the Army for the first time, I found it so exciting and adventurous and satisfying creatively. So customising bikes isn’t a business for us. My partner, Jignesh, and I take up projects for friends and people who are passionate about bikes and riding. I’ve made bikes for Ajay Devgn and Salman Khan. Jignesh and I also won the award for best bike restoration in 2012. And this year, at the India Bike Week in Goa, we won the award for best bike modification.
Beards have made a comeback in popular culture. What’s your take?
As soon as I could grow a decent beard, I’ve had it. I’ve only shaved for different roles. My dad’s always had an amazing beard. It’s crazy how everybody is growing a beard these days! I don’t believe in trends. I think you should do what you feel comfortable with. Having a beard is a really cool thing for a lot of guys because they love it and they should do it for that. Not just to follow a fad. How much will you inconvenience yourself with trends? If I find something cool, I’ll continue doing it.
Is there something you would never be caught dead wearing?
Never say never! I can’t guarantee that. I’m somebody who isn’t afraid of experimenting or taking a risk. But maybe I won’t wear a suit made of snakeskin or alligator skin because that’s not cool, anyway.
What attire are you most comfortable in?
You’ll probably always find me in tracks or sports gear. There’s a lot of stylish sportswear out there now. I’m always in sports shoes—basically always ready to get up to something!
Maxim has initiated the #MakeHerSmile campaign. The idea is that change begins with respect for women. Maybe do small things that make her smile. What can guys do to make the women in their lives smile?
If you pay attention to your wife, your girlfriend or your mom—any woman in your life—it makes them happier. You don’t have to buy expensive stuff and do extraordinarily big things. You just listen to them and hear them out. It shows them that you care.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MUNEESH TARSEM
STYLING: ISHA BHANSALI
HAIR & MAKE-UP: MARCELO PEDROZO
PRODUCTION: GRAVITY GRACE