Interview: “I chose Acting over Engineering” – Sushant Singh Rajput
Bollywood debutant Sushant Singh Rajput spoke to Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik for BollyNewsUK ahead of his first release, Kai Po Che.
Kai Po Che is based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel The Three Mistakes of My Life.
In this interview, Sushant talks about his journey from theater to films, upcoming projects and much more.
What did you do before you signed ‘Kai Po Che’?
I was into theater for five years. After a stint for five years in theater, I worked in TV for two years (as an actor). Then, I was planning to go to UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) for a film making course. However, I was called to audition for this part and I got the film.
It is quite difficult for newcomers to make a debut in Bollywood with good films. How exactly did the film come to you?
I believe,if you can do it in theater, you can do it in TV and you can do it in films. The medium is not important, if you know your craft and if you are hardworking and honest in your work. The whole intention was not to do theater, TV and then films, in that order. My intention was to learn and I am still learning. Theatre, TV and films just happened in between. I am just going with the flow and choosing the right scripts. Before the release of Kai Po Che, I am working with quite reputed names with good scripts. I am working with Yash Raj Films and Rajkumar Hirani. There are wonderful times for actors right now. As long as you are honest, hardworking and know your craft, people will work with you.
Since ‘Kai Po Che’ is your debut Bollywood film, were you hesitant that it is not a solo hero movie?
No. The first thing that I learnt in my acting school was that “There are no small parts but only small actors”, a famous quote by Constantin Stanislavsky. I truly believe in it. When I read the part I was offered in Kai Po Che, I thought I have to do this film and I did. I am the only leading actor in my second film, produced by Yash Raj Films. I am also a part of Rajkumar Hirani’s next with Aamir Khan. I don’t look at the fact whether I am the hero or not or whether it is a solo film or not. I look at how I, as an actor, can contribute to the portrayal of the role and screenplay to the best of my ability.
How similar is the character of Ishaan in ‘Kai Po Che’ to you?
There are a few similar things but there are many dissimilar things about Ishaan, the character, and myself. Ishaan is slightly insecure because he has not done professionally very well for himself. To balance that, he is very impulsive and seems very insensitive from the outside. At the same time, he is very ambitious and there is a bundle of contradictions about his personality, which is fascinating about him. Personally, I like to believe that I am not impulsive and I plan my things. The common factor between my character, Ishaan, and me is that I love my friends and family. I share the same level of honesty with my friends as Ishaan does.
What kind of cinema do you want to be a part of ?
I want to do different things. I am a trained dancer and I would like to do a dance film. I am also trained in Martial Arts and would love to do a role that requires it. However, these are very superficial things. The most important thing for me is to be a part of a film that has something to say. It should convey a message to the audience but at the same time, be entertaining. These are wonderful times for actors in the industry and if something like that comes my way, I would love to be a part of it.
Did you read Chetan Bhagat’s ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’ before you started ‘Kai Po Che’ ?
Chetan Bhagat’s books were very famous in my college. While I was graduating, I did read his books Five Point Someone (2004) and One Night @ the Call Centre (2005). Due to some personal reasons, I did not read The Three Mistakes of My Life (2008) and consider this as one of my biggest mistakes of my life (laughs). I only read the script and was really happy with it.
The film does not touch upon the political issues as much as other films do. Is that intentional to avoid any controversies?
I don’t think there was a reason behind not going into political issues or the riots shown in the film. I don’t think it was a deliberate decision to stay controversy free. The book, The Three Mistakes of My Life, talks about politics, religion, the riots, sports and everything else. We could have gone into any of these issues. But this film talks about the friendship of three people. That is the main point of the film. It is a wonderful story about how the friendship of the three protagonists survives in the circumstances shown in the film. There are factual incidents in the film that happened in Gujarat between 2000 and 2002 but the film is not about that.
Do you ever think that ‘Kai Po Che’ will turn you into a star?
It would be very cliche to say something like that. I have seriously never thought about becoming a star. I was a scholarship student in one of India’s premium colleges. I chose this profession over engineering and that was not for stardom or money. I found the process of acting and film making very fascinating. Even if I don’t get paid all my life, I would still do what I am doing.
Directed by Abhishek Kapoor, Kai Po Che releases in UK cinemas on 22nd February 2013 through UTV Disney.