Sushant Singh Rajput, one of the most sought-after actors in Bollywood, talks about his upcoming Shuddh Desi Romance and other projects

A rank outsider has managed to ruffle feathers in Bollywood. In spite of no recognisable suffix and with a background in television acting (that’s a complete no-no in the industry), Sushant Singh Rajput has been standing his ground and how! Beginning with Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che earlier this year, this man bagged projects such as Yash Raj Films’ Shuddh Desi Romance and Rajkumar Hirani’s PK with Aamir Khan even before the release of his debut film. “I never aspired to be a star so there is no desire to hang on to this so-called stardom,” says Sushant despite being one of the most-sought after youngsters in Bollywood. “The reason to do first theatre, then television and films is only to better my acting skills.”

It’s a little difficult to imagine but Sushant says he has an inability to express himself when not acting! “It’s an issue I have been dealing with since childhood. I could never and even now sometimes stress over how to express my feelings. I joined theatre to overcome that. After all, it takes some steel to act in the presence of a live audience. That’s what I love best about acting. It allows the boring Sushant within me a chance to play some interesting characters!”

In this week’s release Shuddh Desi Romance (September 6), Sushant will be seen with Parineeti Chopra and debutante Vaani Kapoor. “It’s not a typical romantic film. The idea is that real romance is not as exciting as it sounds. The film talks about love and infatuation and how the two are quite interchangeable. It shows the dark side of our culture. In our country, anyone who tries to break out of the mould is prone to getting judged in a negative manner. There are issues regarding gender, marriage and live-in relationships and Jaideep Sahni, our writer, has understood and represented these very well. At the same time, it is a quirky, real entertainer,” he says.

Incidentally, Sushant is not under the three-film contract that is the norm for most of Yash Raj Films talent. He has one more film on their turf though — Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy. Ask him about this unusual turn, and he laughs, “Oh! We have a 100-film contract. Actually, we have mutually decided that we’ll take it on a film-to-film basis. And it’s working”, he adds.

Besides Dibakar’s take on Saradindu Banerjee’s extremely popular detective, Sushant is essaying an important role in Rajkumar Hirani’s PK and is teaming up once again with mentor Abhishek Kapoor on Fitoor, a modern-day adaptation of The Great Gatsby.