Dribbling past the stereotypes

July 12, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 04:36 am IST

As Diljit Dosanjh moves forward on the turf of Hindi cinema, the actor-singer says he doesn’t work according to a set strategy

Making an impact:Diljit Dosanjh in actionSpecial Arrangement

Making an impact:Diljit Dosanjh in actionSpecial Arrangement

“The only thing in my mind right now is the opening of Soorma. I live in the moment. It is something inbuilt in me ,” says Diljit Dosanjh as we settle for a chat in Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabadi. It is an important journey for him as the actor is returning from Shahabad (Haryana) after meeting Olympian Sandeep Singh’s family where Sandeep’s father gifted him the hockey stick of his illustrious son. It is an unusual journey for Sandeep Singh for he is travelling in a train for the first time after he met with a freak accident on the same route in 2006 that paralysed him for a year. His comeback from the injury makes the crux of the biopic directed by Shaad Ali. In a chat that is more in Hindi and Punjabi than English, Diljit talks about what he feels about sports, his process as an actor and why he does not care about the shelf life of his films.


What is your take away from Soorma ?

I have not indulged in any sports unless you count chidiya ud as one (laughs). But after doing this film, I have developed great regard for sports and sportspersons. I realised that there is a certain kind of strength that you develop when you play some sport. Even if a sportsperson gets defeated in a game, he still feels motivated. They can face any big challenge in real life much better than an ordinary person like in the case of Sandeep Singh who made a comeback after a major accident in his life. Players and soldiers have a great ability to cope with such situations in life and that is why they are the real heroes.

Was it difficult to play Sandeep Singh?

Playing hockey was the only thing that was difficult. I am blessed that Sandeep Singh trained me and gave me enough space to understand the game properly. I don’t have a process as the character is the child of the director. I keep asking questions to the director. I believe a film belongs to the director. The actor is only a part of the film just like any other member of the crew.

When you forayed into films, you already had a set of audience because of your popularity as a singer.

It was only because of my work. I have not brought any following from home as I do not come from a film family. I have created my space myself.

But now there are certain expectations?

I don't think about the expectations of audience. I only think about working hard, do my best and work according to the script and the vision of director.

Do you involve yourself in filmmaking process?

Bahut siyana jaldi marta hai (One who is too artful, perishes early). An actor should be aware of filmmaking process but there should be a line. Like I don't check my look with camerapersons and I even don't suggest them angles so that I may look better in certain scenes. I don't even know whether my left profile is better than my right profile. Nor do I care about it.

How important is pan India popularity for you?

I did not think about it much as the only thing in my mind is to do good work and if I am getting that work in Bollywood, I am happy. I want people to like the movie because of my characters. I would like my work to speak more than my image.

Did you ever have any apprehension that a turban-clad actor may not work in Hindi films?

I used to go to every place like this only. So when I entered the industry, I did not feel like I should change the way I look. I thought if they are going to cast me, they will accept me the way I am.

How has life changed ?

I have strengths and weaknesses just like anybody else, but I accept my weaknesses. If I hide those things, I will become a fake person and it is better to be a person with flaws than to be a fake person as the camera can catch that. I was clear from my school time that I will become a singer and college prepared my way for that. I come from a very humble family in Ludhiana; there was no one in the family who was associated with music. My passion has brought me here and I want to stay humble.

Most of your work in Punjabi films had an element of humour but you are being offered serious roles in Bollywood...

Those films were offered to me and I was not in a position to say no. Comic timing is essential for films but in real life I am a very quiet person and crack jokes only when I am sitting with my own people. Having said that I love all my work and I do not have any preferences. I do not segregate films according to their subjects as comedies are as essential as doing a Punjab 1984 which won the National Award.

But certain films do have more shelf life than others...

You don't know how long you will live. How can we forecast that about our work? I don't do films to make a record or to become a legend. Main nahin chahta ki jab main chala jaun to log mujhe yaad karein (I don’t want people to remember me when I am not there).

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