Does the fact that you come from a family of politicians become a burden?
There are times when it helps, like maybe in fixing a meeting. Most people tend to think that I’m some spoilt son of a politician and so I’ll take my work for granted. It’s pretty hard to get people to believe in me. If it helped a lot I’d probably be in a film by now.
Do you have to be more cautious of your behaviour than young men your age?
Yes, definitely. When I started modelling, I appeared on the cover of one of the leading newsmagazines in the country, where they showed my face with a woman’s body. I resemble my brother Kalikesh Singh Deo, an MP from Bolangir. The opposition took those images and plastered them all over Bolangir. You do need to be careful, but being part of the (glamour) industry means you need to get people to talk about you.
Do you think your brother Kalikesh has an easier life?
It may look like an easy life, but I know he can’t live for himself as much as he has to for others. It is especially hard for him in Odisha because the tribals have a certain way of thinking that he must bring himself to fit in with. On the other hand, when I go from one meeting to another carrying portfolio, updating my work, brushing up theatre skills, I know I’m doing it for myself and I can deal with my own disappointments.
How has the shuttling between Bolangir and Bollywood affected your worldview?
I realised how disjointed the worlds of the wealthy and the poor are in India. I was the pampered child. They didn’t hand out cash to me but I don’t remember asking for something and not getting it. I understood the value of being financially comfortable in the past two years when I moved out.
Does it bother you that who your partner is will eventually be decided by your parents?
I’ve always been friends with or dated whoever I wanted to. But eventually I would want my family to take a call on who I should marry.