“I did not use my father’s connections to get work in the industry” – Sunny Kaushal

Anish Mohanty

I discovered Sunny Kaushal and his talent when I saw him in the digital show ‘Official Chukyagiri’ in 2016. The same year, he made his feature film debut with ‘Sunshine Music Tours and Travels’ and was later seen playing a pivotal role in ‘Gold’ (2017). In this exclusive interview, he talks about his new film ‘Bhangra Paa Le’, journey from dropping out of CA studies for a career in films, not feeling any pressure as ‘Bhangra Paa Le’ – his first film as a ‘solo hero’ is about to release, why being from a film family did not really help and more.

This is your third feature film after ‘Sunshine Music Tours And Travels’ and ‘Gold’ and your first as, what one would call, a solo hero. Are you feeling the pressure to deliver a hit?

No, I never felt that pressure. If I start thinking about these things during the shoot, I will not be able to do anything. You do not know the fate of a film, so all you can do is to focus on the work at hand and do the best you can.

‘Bhangra Paa Le’ is a dance based film. What are your first memories of dance?

I have been dancing since I was a toddler. It is something I have always been passionate about. I have performed at my school and college. The rhythm was already there. For this film, we did do workshops and other kinds of training.

You were studying to become a chartered accountant and you left that behind to pursue acting. Now, with so many projects in your hand, do you feel secure as an actor?

Even then, I did not have a lot of doubt. I had always been creatively inclined and I thought it would not be a good idea to let go of my dreams. It was a natural progression, I guess. At that time, it was a bit of a risk but I am glad I followed my heart.

A lesser known fact about you is that you paint very well.

I was actually into sketching. It has been a long time since I have done that. Now, I am not sure how good I am at it anymore (laughs).

Your father Sham Kaushal is a celebrated action director. Do you think, being from a film family, help you get those first few opportunities?

No, I did not use my father’s connections to get work in the industry. When I went for the audition rounds, nobody knew I was my dad’s son. He is big in his own right but he was not a superstar actor. He is an accomplished technician and has worked with almost everybody in the industry but that did not really help Vicky (Kaushal) and me to get any kind of access. I am glad we went through the process we did without any help or influence.

You are playing two characters in the film. The older character is that of your grandfather, I assume. How was the process of playing these two characters?

Sneha (Taurani) and I would sit down and chalk out the differences between the two characters. Kaptaan, the older character is quite simple and innocent. Jaggi is rebellious and arrogant. He is at that stage when he thinks he is right about everything but he is actually not. We used to have extensive reading sessions. For 2-3 months we had readings every day.

Which portion did you shoot for first?

I started with Jaggi’s portion but there was a time when I used to shoot for both the portions on the same day. I used to play Jaggi in the morning and then, I would put on the beard, kurta-pyjama and play Kaptaan. Initially, it was very difficult but slowly, I got used to it.

2020 is going to be quite an eventful year for you. ‘Bhangra Paa Le’ is releasing in the first week of January and then, you have ‘Shiddat’ and ‘Hurdang’ releasing in the following months. You are also playing a pivotal role in Kabir Khan’s digital show ‘The Forgotten Army’ which will stream on Amazon Prime Video soon.

Yes, I hope the audience likes my work in all these projects. ‘Shiddat’ is an out-and-out romantic film, ‘Hurdang’ is a social drama with elements of romance in it. I had a great time working with Kabir Khan in ‘The Forgotten Army’. Looking forward to see how the audience receives the show.

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