He is no longer the child prodigy who broke millions of hearts in Taare Zameen Par. Once upon a time — okay, not so long ago, it was 2007 — Darsheel Safary was the youngest actor to be nominated for Best Actor alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De.
A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. Now Darsheel is poised for his debut as a leading man.
“I am 20 now, no longer the kid from Taare Zameen Par. It’s surprising how people remember that film and my character Ishaan to this day. And I don’t mind. In fact I love it… as long as they don’t pull my cheek,” laughs Darsheel, who is now going to be playing the lead in a film called — believe it or not — Quickie.
Bachcha badaa ho gaya hai!
“I knew you were going to say that. But I was hoping you wouldn’t,” Darsheel mock-sighs. “I did quite a few films as child, including Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children. But it’s Taare Zameen Par that I am known for. Fair enough. But I’ve moved on. I am a grown-up. The transition from child actor to a leading man has been smooth. I did theatre in between.I think I am now a fully passionate student of acting and cinema.”
Quickie just fell into Darsheel’s lap. “It’s one of those things that are bound to happen in life. I didn’t want to make my debut as a leading man in any random love story with six songs , two new girls, and three location changes . I wanted to do something that would reflect my own state of mind and the way people of my age react to love and life.Quickie was just what I wanted.”
Darsheel describes with excitement the moment he walked into the producer’s office. “It was like going into a treasure house. There was a handmade poster of Sholay, visuals of Baahubali and Robot. The place felt like I belonged there. It’s the coolest place to hang out [at] and I don’t mind driving down from my home in town (South Mumbai) to the producer’ office in Andheri. If just hanging out with them is so much fun, I can imagine how much fun making the film would be.”
Quickie, directed by first-timer Pradip Atluri, will be a quickie.
Says Darsheel enthusiastically, “We start in March and finish in 40 days.I am super-excited because the film talks a language that I do, and discusses young people’s preoccupation with dating, breaking up , one-night stands and lack of commitment.”
In the meanwhile, Darsheel is busy catching up on his movie viewing. “I’ve become a passionate movie buff.I watched the entire Hobbit series in one night. Now I am watching the classics.No, Taare Zameen Par is not my list of must-see films.”