After signing big-banner films, Sushant Singh Rajput is being billed as the next big thing. He has even been roped in for Shekhar Kapur’s Paani, where he replaced Hrithik Roshan. Sushant talks about success, pressures of stardom, live-in girlfriend Ankita Lokhande, Shah Rukh Khan, and more.
How has your life changed now?
I feel cut off from the world. But it’s an exciting phase. I used to dream about working with such filmmakers (Dibakar Banerjee and Kapur), so it’s a huge responsibility. I will give my 100 per cent and won’t disappoint them. I’ve kept my phone off and am at home planning how to go about my films right now.
You and Shah Rukh Khan have many similarities — both of you are from Delhi, started with theatre, trained with Barry John and worked in TV before films.
Frankly, I’m an actor right now because of Shah Rukh. When I was in school and even when studying engineering, I used to watch his films. Shah Rukh’s name was and is synonymous with romance. Whenever we spoke to girls, we used to talk like him. When I was in the eighth standard, I would dance to ‘Suraj hua madham’. I have to achieve many things before I become even the ‘S’ of SRK.
If you could act in any of SRK’s TV series, which it would be?
It has to be Fauji, because the character was so relatable. At the same time, he pulled it off in such a heroic and energetic way that even if there were several actors in a frame, you would only watch Shah Rukh. You won’t believe this but, four-five months back, I bought the entire DVD set of Fauji.
Don’t you think you should do one masala potboiler now?
I would love to, because I love dancing. I am also trained in martial arts, so if I get to do such films, it would be a very comfortable zone for me. I am just waiting for the right script.
Your personal life must have taken a 180 degree turn too.
I am lucky that Ankita is so supportive. She is an actor herself, so she understands. She is excited about what I do as well. If you spend time with your loved ones, you get the energy to do your job better.
You are being called the next big thing. Are you excited about the tag?
I’d be lying if I say I’m not excited. It excites me to hear these things, but I forget them after two seconds. This also happens when a critic pans my work. I don’t take it too personally.
Does Ankita get jealous of your female fan base?
I try my best to make her jealous, but there is some problem with her (laughs). She is so secure that sometimes I think I become uncomfortable. I am not being modest, but I don’t know why and how it’s (female fan following) happening. Since Ankita knows me inside out, she knows ‘ki iske palle kuch nahi padega’ (he won’t understand anything).
Does she complain that you don’t give her enough time?
It happens every day. But I manage to pacify her. Maybe I use my wit and charm. But deep inside, she knows that I am honest and not commitment-phobic. People tell me that I am very lucky to sign the films I’ve signed, but I feel that I am lucky to have Ankita in my life. Sometimes I don’t even have to tell her anything; she knows it all.
Is there any pressure from your family to get married?
I have always been very transparent about this issue. I know that after so much hard work, I have got the girl, and I won’t be able to do this in my life ever again (laughs). There is no second thought about it. I have to get married to her, and it will be very soon, probably this year or early next year.
Do you see other young actors as competition?
No. It’s cruel to compare two actors working with two different filmmakers on two different characters. You can match their stardom on the basis of the number of films, endorsements or fees they are charging, but you just can’t compare two different actors.