He made his Bollywood debut as a cricket fanatic in “Kai Po Che!” and he has graduated to bringing alive India’s most celebrated new-age cricketer — M.S. Dhoni — on the silver screen. Yet, actor Sushant Singh Rajput says he never knew he could act and that films happened as a natural progression from theatre and TV for him.
An actor who tasted fame with “Pavitra Rishta”, Sushant landed a key role in Abhishek Kapoor’s “Kai Po Che!” alongside Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh. That marked the turning point in his career.
Looking back, he credits his small screen stint and theatre for the course that his career has taken.
“Everything I learnt in theatre and on TV has been instrumental to what I am doing right now because I never knew I could act,” Sushant said.
The 30-year-old star said that it was theatre that first helped him to “gain the kind of confidence” needed to be a performer. However, it was TV that helped him with the technicalities of acting.
“TV (helped in) understanding camera angles, close-ups, master shots and the how-to, when-to, how-much-to… and everything else I learnt like the lines and all,” added the actor, who was here to launch a new collection of watches by the Swiss watchmaker Tissot.
When he faced the camera for the first time for a film, he wasn’t jittery. “I remember the first time I was facing the camera for a film was in ‘Kai Po Che!’, I was not very nervous. I was nervous obviously about a new project starting, but not about whether I was good enough for film or not,” said the actor, who is also a talented dancer.
He comes with no Bollywood connections. How difficult is it for an outsider to survive in showbiz?
“Yeah, it does get very difficult. It is difficult for everybody because we have heard about some very successful outsiders’ stories too, and unfortunately not-so-very successful insiders’ stories. So, in the long run, it doesn’t matter, but for a short period of time.
“… The insiders are given slightly more room to actually downplay their failures and magnify their success,” he said, asserting that “as long as… irrespective of who you are, if you do your job properly and you’re professional, you’ll be hired,” said Sushant.
He has so far starred in films like “Shuddh Desi Romance” and “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!” Describing his voyage in Hindi filmdom, Sushant said: “As long as I am getting what I want to do, and the most important thing, as long as I am excited about everything I am doing, I think I am on the right path.”
The actor recently went through a low phase after he broke up with his long-time girlfriend and TV actress Ankita Lokhande. But he says he doesn’t let personal issues take a toll on him. “The only thing that would affect me is if I am not feeling okay, like, health wise. Otherwise, there are very few things that can affect me to a level that I am not able to concentrate in the present,” he said.
As of now, he is most excited about the forthcoming release of Neeraj Pandey’s “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story”, a film about India’s World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, releasing on September 30.