Hoping for the best

Last Updated : 02 March 2013, 14:04 IST
Last Updated : 02 March 2013, 14:04 IST

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It is a dream that many have tried, but few have lived — the transition from the small screen to the big one. Shah Rukh Khan is one actor who’s lived this dream. And Rajeev Khandelwal is another.

Now, one more television star is all set to live the dream of becoming a film hero. That’s Sushant Singh Rajput, who’s winning praises for his performance in Kai Po Che. He was also the small screen sensation as Manav in Pavitra Rishta.
How did the transformation happen?

“I did television for more than two years. It gave me a lot of fame and money. But, very soon, I started feeling suffocated. There was no challenge, no improvisation, and worst of all, no learning. So I left television,” explains Sushant.

But he did not jump straight into films. “I was supposed to study filmmaking at UCLA. When casting director Mukesh Chhabra saw me having tea in a restaurant, he asked me if I would audition for him. I gave an audition and got selected,” he says.

Lots to learn

But, won’t films also be boring after a while? “Television is relatively easy. Actors know what they have to do. Fame comes quickly. Films are very different because every six months you play a different character; you create something new from nothing. That challenges me as an actor,” he explains.

While comparing films and television, Sushant mentions, “Surprisingly, none of the filmmakers I am working with (Abhishek Kapoor, Maneesh Sharma and Rajkumar Hirani) have seen me on TV.”

Interestingly, Sushant never imagined that he would be on television. After ranking seventh in an all India engineering entrance exam, he was all set to study and lead a routine life as a techie. But that was not to be. “I completed six semesters of engineering before admitting to myself that I was wasting my time, that I needed to be in Mumbai — acting, dancing and making films. I had a backup plan ready too — to open a canteen in Film City. Or, as a last resort, go back to college,” he says, remembering his days of uncertainty fondly.

So, how did he get his break? “When I came to Mumbai, I realised that this was really what I wanted to do. When I am in front of the camera, the feeling is good. I knew I had to pursue it. I joined Nadira Babbar’s theatre group. I didn’t go to auditions for two years; I was just learning. Then one day, when I was doing a play, people from Balaji noticed me and I got a call from Ekta Kapoor, asking me if I would be interested in doing television. I said I had not thought about it, but she said she would make me a star. So I said okay!” The rest is history. Pavitra Rishta and Manav achieved iconic levels, and Sushant Singh Rajput became one of the most sought-after stars.

How was it working in Kai Po Che? “When I auditioned for the movie, I had a good physique. But Abhishek Kapoor asked me to lose weight for the role. After a few weeks, when he met me, he was surprised — I had lost 11 kilos and was ready for his role.”

But, the actor feels there is a long way to go for him. “There’s a lot of room for improvement. As an actor, I am a novice right now. For Kai Po Che, I was training with Ranji players, had a gym instructor, and took dance lessons. The six-pack was a result of training six hours every day. I am here to create memorable characters. I am extremely happy and excited that I have been welcomed this way. The toughest part for me was to emote in front of the cameras in the heat of Gujarat. We had to work under extreme weather conditions, and it was truly challenging. We really had a tough time while shooting,” he says, visibly happy that the hard work is paying off.
“None of the characters I have played till date — Preet (Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil), Manav (Pavitra Rishta) or Ishaan (Kai Po Che) are similar to each other. I am trying to give my best.”

What about his personal life? Is it true that he is all set to get married to Ankita Lokhande, the female lead in Pavitra Rishta? “She has been very understanding. We both would like to get married in future.”

Published 02 March 2013, 13:53 IST

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