With a winsome smile

With a winsome smile

A quick chat with actor Sahil Salathia

Sahil Salathia

It has been a relatively smooth journey in tinsel town so far for the handsome actor who made his debut with film-maker Ashutosh Gowariker’s Everest. But he has his sights set firmly on broader horizons. Meet Sahil Salathia, the cool guy with the winsome smile.

“When I started acting, I was very clear about the kind of work I wanted to take up. The medium is not the priority for me, content is,” he confesses. “That has always been my way of functioning in the world of Indian entertainment. Everest was a dream debut. Of course, I took time to finalise my next project, Safarnama, directed by Nikhil Agnihotri. This role unfolds at many levels, dealing with complex human behaviour, taking viewers through a kaleidoscope of human emotions.”

Sure, but in the interim, he must have received pearls of wisdom from the daddies in the film industry. Did he? He reveals with a laugh, “A leading film-maker did advise me to take up saas-bahu serials as I would make more money consistently, and would be able to buy a house in Mumbai (little did he know that I already own a house in the city). He said that since I did not come from a filmi background, there would be no curiosity to watch me on screen. In his words, there are too many star kids making their debut at this point in time, hence there is very little space for non-star kids, so why waste time?”

The fan mail has been flowing in since his portrayal of Yussuf, the antagonist, in P.O.W.- Bandhi Yudh Ke, which was directed by Nikkhil Advani. Sahil played the role of a terrorist based in Pakistan who exuded a certain body language. “I made Yussuf come alive with Nikkhil’s vision and support all the way,” he says.

Following this came a crazy fan moment for him when a seven-foot-tall bouquet of flowers was sent to his house on his birthday by a fan at midnight. “This took it to another level of love and appreciation,” he admits. “I thrive on the love I get from my fans and well-wishers. It is so heartening. They take their precious time out and make a sketch of me, send beautiful cards... An actor is nothing without the love and support of his fans and well-wishers.”

Of course, Sahil owes his pan-Indian presence to his roots as well. He comes from Jammu, did his schooling in Delhi, college in Chandigarh, and finally moved to Mumbai for work. “All four cities have a slice of my heart. They have all been important pillars in my life. But I do see myself owning a holiday home in Italy someday. And speaking of dreams, it is my secret wish to get a National Award sometime in the future,” he says.

Every successful person has a Rock of Gibraltar, and Sahil is no exception. “My family means everything to me. My mom, dad and my little sister, Preetika, followed by my two dogs, Dakku Salathia and Police Salathia. But if I had to pick one, it would be my mother: she’s my best friend and the biggest support system I have on this planet.”

Sahil’s days as a model have certainly gifted him an unbeatable level of confidence that he flaunts with lazy ease in front of the camera. What is it that he can gift others who envy him? “Never have regrets. Whatever happens, happens for a reason. I believe in setting goals and achieving them rather than regretting what has already happened. But it is important to have a voice and a vision. You must talk your heart out and fight the odds to get what you want. The world is unfair but it is still yours if you can go out and battle for what you want. Acting is about living different lives on the camera, about being able to work on your range of emotions, your experiences in life. And this you need not learn in an acting school in New York. I believe life is the best teacher. I feel drawing inspiration from people around me helps in creating sheer magic on screen,” he sums up.