Ahead of the release of Raabta, Sushant Singh Rajput opens up on what makes him a star, how he reacts to gossips about his alleged love life, his life-changing moment, co-star Kriti Sanon and more…
Tell us about your role in Raabta
There are two characters that I play. It’s a very modern take on reincarnation. Basically, what we have tried to convey is if there is something called pure love, it doesn’t dilute with time, be it one life or multiple lives. Even if you don’t remember what happened in the previous lives, you tend to get close to a person without any reason or you don’t like somebody just like that. They talk differently, they behave differently and there is no similarity between (my characters’) present and past lives. But if you look through everything then it all is connected.
Your last film was physically taxing and you took time to get out of the skin of the character. Is it the same with this film too?
See it’s always physically taxing because you almost give 8-9 months of your life playing a certain character and it is exhausting. You are changing the pattern of your thinking, trying to think in a completely different way, which is very exhausting. There are skills that you need to develop with each and every film, like in Dhoni it was cricket, in my next film I go to NASA, I almost become an astronaut and in this film, it is martial arts.
From Delhi College of Engineering to Bollywood via television, how has your journey been?
DCE is a good college, I was getting a scholarship and also getting calls from many international universities to go and study there. While it doesn’t guarantee you anything but at the same time, it guarantees a certain amount of money per annum. But every time I would work for that kind of money I would not like it. When I was in my first semester, I started dancing with Shiamak Davar. I was dancing behind stars. I liked it although no one would look at me. Then Shiamak asked me to start doing theatre. Till then I was a shy, introvert boy but when I performed on stage for the first time, I felt very powerful! That is something which has stayed the same from 2006 till now. Nothing has changed. I am getting goosebumps even while talking about it today!
What is the first aspect that you consider before saying yes to a film?
Of course, the story comes first. Secondly, there should be something which I will not be able to comprehend completely and hence in order to understand it, I will do the film. If I already know how to do it, I will never do it, no matter how commercially viable the film is, I’ll not touch it. Post Dhoni’s release, I had three films back to back but the film that I was supposed to shoot right after Dhoni, it didn’t start and I suddenly got 3-4 months gap in between. Many filmmakers approached me with their scripts during that time and somehow those scripts were not that…umm that thing was missing. I knew I could do it, so I didn’t do it! Instead, I took up a play. Saying no to huge pay cheques for a play is something nobody perhaps has done till now! After watching the films I am doing next, you would definitely say, ‘Oh! How did he do it?’
Do you believe that M S Dhoni: The Untold Story made you the star that you are today?
That’s for people who did not consider me a star before. But for me, nothing has changed. I have done 54 characters till now and I have worked hard for each of them. I put in a lot of effort for Detective Byomkesh Bakshy and enjoyed doing it. Friday it released…didn’t open, Saturday and Sunday miserable and on Monday I was completely okay. I did not force myself to be okay, I was okay! Dhoni! Friday massive! Saturday massive! Sunday massive! Monday I was again completely okay! I am not future obsessed I just don’t think what is going to happen with this film. The 7-8 months that I invest in doing a film are exciting for me.
What is the one thing that you like and dislike about being a star?
That’s what I am saying! Perception has changed for people who probably didn’t consider me a star before and do so now. Tomorrow my two films won’t do well and they will not consider me a star anymore. So, it’s their headache. In my head, the day I dropped out of college in the third year, instead of staying there and getting a degree and I was happily dancing behind Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan) and Shahid Kapoor, from that day I am a star. This is because I did something which I really wanted to do. From 2006 till now, there has not been a day which I didn’t like. I’ve been a star throughout…like superstar! (Laughs)
Does it affect your personal life?
If I go and read it seriously then it will affect me. It’s not that I don’t read about myself at all. Sometimes I do. Very recently there have been stories which are so new to me that I am also reading them for the first time. I have no problems with it because I can understand that living in this digital age, where there are like 10 trending topics every hour, we need talking points. I have no problems with these amazingly stupid stories. I am just requesting that if you are investing time in writing fiction stories about me, make that interesting so that I get to read it, I think, Oh! I am so spicy!
Would you like to do another sports biopic?
Not now! It takes a lot…(laughs) I have bought the rights of another biopic. I found that story very interesting! It’s about Murlikant Petkar. He is the first Indian to get a gold medal in Paralympics. It is one of those stories that you should know about and we are trying to make the film. And let’s do something that in 10 years down the line I get to do my own biopic.
How is Kriti Sanon as a co-star?
I was surprised! It’s not that I look up to or look down upon any actor. I remember doing an improv during our audition. The most important thing for an actor is that he or she should be listening. She reacted to that improve and came up with another improv! She actually did really well! There were times when I would look at her doing something and say, oh wow! If the film does well and people get to see it, they would definitely appreciate what she has done. They will be surprised!