Sushant Singh Rajput: actor on the edge

Sushant Singh Rajput on being an introvert, his love for the stage and his forthcoming films

June 08, 2017 08:44 pm | Updated June 12, 2021 07:02 pm IST

Sushant Singh Rajput is clearly restless. In auto-pilot mode, meeting mediapersons for Raabta ’s release, Rajput’s limbs seem to have a life of their own. He says apologetically, “I am always this fidgety, when I am thinking.”

For Rajput, his chosen profession is a long-term plan to catch up on things he might miss otherwise. Acting was for Rajput the only choice that offered the thrill of enacting out the various facets of human nature. He shares, “I thought let’s choose a career where I behave differently and get paid for it. I carefully choose all my characters, not to prove a point. But the thing is that I need to convince myself that I am somebody else for those five-six months.”

But when it comes to picking his projects, Rajput prefers a little ambiguity in his characters. “I’d be giving five-six months to the film, I should not figure out everything in a month. Then the next four-five months would be very boring. There are things I understand in the script, there are many things I don't understand. If I know exactly what I have to do, I won’t do it. It doesn’t have to do with any kind of belief, it’s an experience.”

Ups and downs

Does his faith in acting witness any crisis when confronted with box office flops? “I worked very hard on Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! and that film didn't do well. It didn't do well on Friday, Saturday, Sunday but Monday morning I was completely fine. Just two-and-a-half days, it bothered [me]. On Monday, I was as normal as I was before Friday. That happened [in a] similar way for Dhoni .”

While stardom is fraught with uncertainties, Rajput confesses that he doesn’t give in to the feeling of insecurity. And this goes back to his reticent nature and shy childhood. “I was an introvert, I wanted a certain acknowledgement because I couldn't talk.” He confesses that almost every action, from becoming a class topper, excelling in a professional career to earning pots of money, was to be approved by others.

When Rajput first found success with TV shows, the accolades it brought made him really happy. “I’d admit I’d go to malls and hang out so that I get to see people looking at me.” For Rajput, a successful career has also meant a gradual change in his mindset. “There were decisions that were made in my family because of money, so money was a differentiator,” he says. “I have started earning money to the point that I don't have to think about money. Having multiple choices because of the kind of money I had [has been] liberating. But it only works to a certain point. If you don't have money, it [becomes] very important.”

The actor -- who made his film début with Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che in 2013 -- had a difficult run at the box office post his dream launch. But playing the Indian skipper in M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story last year turned out to be wise decision as the film not only raked in the moolah at the box office, it also brought home critical plaudits. He’s now playing two characters in a tale of reincarnation in Dinesh Vijan’s Raabta . “We talk about two different worlds, previous lives, and we show that although these characters are completely different, [the] emotions [are] the same. [The] connection stays unaffected,” he shares.

What’s next?

The actor will be seen next in Tarun Mansukhani’s Drive and Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s Chanda Mama Door Ke . The former has the potential of becoming a caper franchise. “ Drive is almost done. [It’s] like a Ocean’s 11, The Italian Job, The Fast and The Furious kind of a film,” says Rajput.

On the other hand Chanda Mama Door Ke , is nothing like anything he has done so far. The adventure film stars Rajput essaying the role of an astronaut … which for the actor meant delving deep into the science of intergalactic space. “It has given me an opportunity to get into quantum physics and astrophysics,” he says. “These things fascinate [me]. I play a navy pilot who has been chosen to be an astronaut.” Rajput who busied himself preparing for the film with watching space documentaries and reading books, says excitedly, “I am done with all the theory of it. We are going to NASA next.”

Changing track

Last year, Rajput was supposed to start shooting for Homi Adajania’s Takadum opposite Parineeti Chopra but the film got postponed. “I had three months free. I started getting many offers because Dhoni did well but I didn't find any script interesting. There are directors I really wanted to work with but the scripts weren’t interesting enough,” he says. The sudden professional void of three months gave Rajput an opportunity to go back to theatre. His sleepless nights were effectively used to discover Alberto Moravia’s The Two of Us . Rajput’s encounter with the delightful Italian master’s spunky prose led to him adapting it for the stage. “I was thinking of performing it in March but we were not quite sure. We will perform [it] this year for sure.”

Rajput asserts that this experience has been very satisfying, “I could have made millions by doing a film but [that] doesn't [excite me].”

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