Sushant Singh Rajput
still the same inquisitive guy, filled with excitement"
Ankita R. Kanabar
(This interview has been published in the March 28, 2015 issue of Super Cinema)
as he walks through the corridors of Yash Raj Films, you sense something
different. Maybe it's the walk. This man isn't really walking like himself.
That's more like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy's' walk - brisk and confident. Dressed
stylishly in a cream t-shirt with dhoti-pants, Sushant Singh Rajput further
justifies that he is still in the Byomkesh' mode while he promotes the film.
Though, the slightly long hair tied into a little pony is clearly for the Dhoni
biopic that he's prepping for. Now you know this guy definitely is doing
something right, despite being relatively new. One minute he is easygoing, and
another, he is serious enough about his craft to get all animated to explain
you things. That's probably what makes for a very interesting conversation with
|Photo credit : R. Burman|
you are one of those actors who go the method way to the extent of even learning
to eat like your character does...
you do any film, your goal is always to convince people that you're the
character. For a film like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy', we were talking about a
Bengali boy in the 1940s, so it needed to look that way. You have to get the
basics correct. The only thing I was told was to not learn the language, rest
everything from the art to the culture of Kolkata has been incorporated in the
script. We took the liberty for the language because it's a Hindi film and we
didn't want to dilute it by bringing in the Bengali accent. Apart from that, I working
on everything else. From playing a detective to a cricketer or someone else, I
have to prepare because I have to first convince myself that I can be that
character. Only if I convince myself, will I be able to convince the audience.
being a period film, was it more difficult to relate to the character, than say
a Kai Po Che' or Shuddh Desi Romance'?
Of course it was very challenging, but I don't think that playing a guy of the
last ten or fifteen years is easier than playing a hero from 1940s. Even if you
essay a character that is of today, you have to change so many things, because
he's a different person all together. For playing Byomkesh though, I had to do
a lot. For instance, there was only radio or telegram at that time, no mobile
phones, no internet, so one had to keep all these things in mind while acting. What
happens is when you act, you prepare a lot to get to a point where you let go.
You have to be very sure that when you let go, you think like the character. If
we have to talk to someone, the first thing is to grab a phone. Now changing
that feeling, requires time. You have to stay in that zone for so many days
just so you're convinced. I wasn't using my phone for about four to five
months. I wasn't reading newspapers, watching TV or using the internet.
that why you made a conscious decision to go into your shell and completely
stay away from the media as well before you began shooting for Detective
the script is different, if the world is different, if the character in your
head is different than who you are, you have to do it. There's no other way.
You have to live the character for a certain period of time before you start
shooting for it. Like I mentioned earlier, the first step is to convince
yourself that you are that character, and the only way to do that is to stay in
that zone for a while before you actually start shooting. But, while it's
challenging fit into the mould and later come out of it, that's the most
exciting part. We're so used to living like our own self, that it's very
tempting and exciting to change for a character, and then again come back to
the neutral state when the film is over. That transformation is exciting.
Kai Po Che' released, you'd told me you were so inquisitive, you'd
remain on the set even when your shot was done, to just learn the technical
aspects. From then to now, how much has changed?
It's not something I'm supposed to do, but it interests me, because you learn
so much. Film-making involves a lot of things - the lighting, the lenses,
cinematography and I'm very curious. During Detective Byomkesh..' Dibakar used
to give me a track which isn't there in the film, but he'd ask me to listen to
it so I get the flavor of the film or a particular scene right. Now I learnt to
do that, so, that's just one change from Kai Po Che'. Another thing is, I've
learnt a lot about the lighting. For instance, if there's a scene, and I'm
talking to a co-actor, I would stand at a spot where the light would fall on my
eye because sometimes just a visual says so much. So, just getting these little
things right helps so much.
|Photo credit: R. Burman|
there also a difference between how you felt then, and now?
think, I'm happier now, because of the sheer experience of working on different
characters. Otherwise, I'm still the same inquisitive guy, filled with
excitement. It's just that, because I'm surviving, and getting to work with
different film-makers on different scripts, is why I'm happier now than when I
while films do make you very happy, what is it that gratifies your soul?
the thing. When I'm giving a take, say it's a fourth or fifth take and I feel
something, I can sense something. Sometimes, after the take I can sense that I
did something which I'd never planned but it was good. There's a gap of two-three
seconds and then the director says okay'. That moment is what excites me - to feel
you've done something right and then get a validation for that. I always crave
for validation from my director, because I know that he's intelligent enough
and is one of reasons why you've said yes to the film.
you now been able to let go off the methods of the TV? In the sense that there
it's more spontaneous, because you have to meet deadlines every day. Films you
get time to prepare.
but I feel that a good actor on TV is a good actor. It's not like actors on TV
aren't good, because you're given so many pages in a day, you have to learn the
dialogues, act it out. More importantly, do it well, so you have those TRPs
every week. Even the technicians are so skilled. It's difficult so, television
teaches you a lot in that sense. On the other hand, for a film, you're only
working on a character for six months and then move to another so that's very
fascinating, and everything is more well-planned. So even though the process
may be different, the acting part is similar. Very frequently we confuse being
confident in front of the camera to spontaneity. We get confused. But the point
is, because you're playing another character, your spontaneity is different
from theirs; we are all different. Normally people think, he prepares a lot, so
he isn't spontaneous. But, we prepare for so long to get to a point where the
character can be spontaneous.
the last few years, there's been no dearth of newcomers in our films. Somehow,
you've always come across as very secure in your space...
not like I'm secure. I've not met anyone in my life who's not insecure.
Everyone is. But the only reason why I'm in a state of peace is because my
excitement is ten times my insecurity.