‘Don’t enjoy promoting films’

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Sushant Singh Rajput on being an introvert and his role in ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’

It’s been hours since Sushant Singh Rajput has got up from his seat. The actor has been busy promoting his second film 'Shuddh Desi Romance' looks fatigued but doesn't protest when he sits for a quick chat. "I am an introvert and still not very comfortable talking about myself," he says about himself. Dressed in a tee and jeans, the actor talks softly, smiles a lot and has a glint in his eyes when he talks about his engineering days. Sushant who has come a long way since playing Manav in ‘Pavitra Rishta’ days talks about his character in the film and what excites him as an actor.

Excerpts from the interview:

When you take up a film, what excites you as an actor?

When you read a script, it has to be something new and interesting. When you read it, you should be intrigued. It stimulates your curiosity and you have an instinctive feeling towards the character you have to portray. It should make you want to be a part of the film and then with your director you start exploring the nuances of the film. For example before 'Kai Po Che', I had refused a couple of scripts because they were all conventional roles.

From engineering to acting, how did the transition happen?

I have worked in three different mediums. I think it has to do with my inability to express myself most of the time. I studied engineering, not because I loved the stream. I was supposed to so I managed to crack the entrance exams. Post that, I started with performing arts and went to Shaimak Davar’s institute and Barry John’s acting classes. When you are acting, you are bringing your privacy and your vulnerable side out in the open and that can be uncomfortable. But when you do it, you are willing to make a fool of yourself and that feeling is very liberating.

Then how do you manage being in the public glare?

I don’t enjoy the promotions. I am an introvert but I know on today’s age, marketing a film to the audience is very important. We know that we made a good film and it has to be sold to the people who will watch it.

How did your parents react to this?

My parents were insistent that I finish my studies and get a degree but I was sure about what I wanted to do in life. I didn’t want to waste anymore time and dropped out of college. They were shocked but didn’t say anything so I took their silence as approval (laughs)

How smooth was your transition from TV to films?

I had never planned to work in TV or films. It is just that I was at the right place at the right time. TV happened and when I stopped learning from the show, I quit. I wanted to go for a filmmaking course but at that time I was offered these films. My first audition was for ‘Kai Po Che’. Second one was for ‘Peekay’ and third was ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’.
I didn’t think that I would get to work with these filmmakers and production houses. I have been very fortunate and since cinema is in a state of flux and the mainstream audience is open to realistic films, there is room for every kind of films.

How much do you depend on your director for inputs?

It has to be my interpretation but I was fortunate enough to have worked with directors who had clarity about what they want from their actor and at the same time they were willing to let me experiment, explore and improvise. There is always a healthy debate since we are on similar wavelength.

Who was your influence in Bollywood?

I have grown up watching SRK and Yash Raj movies. Though the styles of old generation have inspired the younger generation, they have also persuaded them to change. Acting styles are dialectic hence change is essential.