'I am hungry for that one big milestone'

Prashant Gupta’s journey in Bollywood began with a stint in Rajshri production movie Ek Vivaj Aisa Bhi But his role of a cop in Rahat Kazmi’s critically acclaimed Identity Card gained him popularity and also him fetched the best supporting actor award at The San Francisco Global Movie Fest.

The 33-year-old actor will be next seen in Sanjay Amar’s 19th January. In a conversation with Metrolife, Gupta talks about his life, inspiration and struggles. Excerpts:

How did you get into acting?
I began my journey in the performing arts at the age of three. I would perform throughout the year, as plays and cultural programs during Diwali were organised by the Marwari Jewellery community of New York, where I was born. Little did I know that the passion for acting was rooted in me.

Perhaps, the other aspect to influence the pursuit of cinema were the actors and actresses of Bollywood, many of whom I would go to see during the live concerts held abroad. After completing school, I pursued a formal education in acting. After graduating, I dabbled in whatever opportunity I could get — a few plays, commercials, short films. I eventually shifted base to Mumbai to pursue my luck in the film industry.

What was the one big break for you?
I haven’t had a big break yet. I’ve managed to carve a narrow path by just treading along all the obstacles and built a firm foundation with stones thrown at me. My screen time has increased with every film and perhaps remuneration, only to an extent where when I put it all together, it feels like I made it through. I am hungry for that one big milestone.

Tell us about your role in 19th January.
I’m playing the role of an English speaking National Investigation Agency (NIA) officer looking into the tragedy of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, through the eye witness testimony of a present day rockstar.  

What are the main
problems one faces while getting into this field?
It’s the battle of reality verses illusion. Reality is just pure hard work, persistence, constant honing of talent and much of discipline. The biggest illusion to eradicate is if he/she can do it, I so can as I m so much better looking, talented.

But there is also a thing called destiny. Economy is another problem, in terms of how expensive it is to survive the struggling period without family support or alternative income. And money remains low until you’ve hit big time.

What are your expectations with the movie?
It is an extremely relevant subject today, all the more because of this trending debate over ‘tolerance and intolerance’. I want it to be seen by many, perhaps a few may ban it. I am expecting the song Sahibo to be loved by all, I just hope for all good works of cinema to get their due from the audience. It’s sad when there is a demand for good cinema and yet they get sidelined to festivals and a nil release.
 
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’m clueless about even the next five days, honestly. I’ve seen far too many times how each day comes with its own blueprint. The only surety of the next five years is that I
will be exactly five years older than today (laughs).

Your greatest lesson in life?
Your struggles will end the day you accept that your struggles will never end.

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