From the beginning of his Bollywood career, Sushant Singh Rajput has been quite selective about the films he does. In less than three years, he has proved his versatility with movies like Kai Po Che (2013) and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015), among others. As he turns 30 (on January 21), the actor talks about growing old, the changing relationships in B-Town, and more.
During a recent Twitter conversation, you said that you are “getting old”…
While chatting with a fan on Twitter, I realised that I will be turning 30 this year. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was 16. Given that the average lifespan of Indians is around 60 years, this (at 30) is where you take a new turn in your life. I have made a lot of mistakes, but I am proud of them all. Because of them, today I am in a position to spend the final lap of my life in the most exciting way.
You attained success rather swiftly. Did the journey entail any weak moments as well?
There were quite a few of them. The first one was when I lost my mother (in 2002). It was a terrible feeling. It still feels terrible. That was my first encounter with [a family member’s] death. When things like this happen, you realise the impermanency of everything. It changed something in me. I am not the same person I was before she passed away.
This year, you also complete three years in Bollywood. How has the experience been so far?
It’s a lovely place. I have found that most of the people who work here really like what they do. So, that’s great. But despite all the knowledge, experience and instincts, nobody knows what’s going to happen next. So, there is chaos, and when the fate of a film is declared, the dynamics change instantly. It’s funny how we start perceiving ourselves and others differently based on box-office numbers that we have largely no control over.
Unlike other actors, you are perceived to be a private person, and also someone who functions differently in such an insecure industry.
It has to do with me not taking myself very seriously. I think we are all insecure, and there is nothing wrong in accepting that. But the problem arises when we try to counter this insecurity by cultivating this illusion of control, and we start taking ourselves and everything we know too seriously. I am not a private person, you can ask those who hang out with me.
You have spoken about being a great admirer of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Irrfan Khan.
I just love what Irrfan and Nawaz do, and how they do it. In an industry, where the typical hero had a completely different image, they have redefined everything with their acting skills. It’s too bad that we didn’t realise this before. I pray to God every day that he makes me the biggest superstar, but before that, I ask God to make me a good actor. Being a star is hard, but being an actor is even harder. I want to be both before I am done.
You don’t seem like someone who gets carried away with his fame. You seem to be at peace with yourself.
I am at peace because I have understood that I will always be insecure, and that there is no way around it. So, I have struck a deal with my insecurity (smiles). I have told my ‘insecurity’ that I know that I will eventually lose everyone I love and everything I have earned. But till the time I lose it all, let me have the time of my life.
Recently, you referred to cigarettes as your ‘coolest friend’. Why did you quit smoking then?
Yes, I miss him (cigarette) sometimes. I am sure every smoker can understand what I mean. But he was too selfish. Just to be with me, he was asking for everything I have got. So, we mutually decided to call it off (smiles).
The release date of your next film, the biopic on MS Dhoni, is out. Are you nervous or excited?
I am very excited. I have given everything I have to the movie, and I am satisfied. My director, Neeraj Pandey, is happy. And knowing that — since he isn’t very expressive — is a big thing. I am desperately waiting for audiences and the man himself (Dhoni) to watch it.
Watch the Detective Byomkesh Bakshy trailer here
You have become the unofficial insomniac of the industry…
(Laughs) I went to see a doctor; and she told me that there is no problem with me. But, she too, is clueless about why I can’t sleep. I think I have made the same kind of deal with my sleep cycle that I have made with my insecurity. I just want to make the most of my life.
You turned 30 yesterday. Are you content with what life has offered you till now?
All our lives, we are conditioned to be ‘careful’, and to continuously ‘seek’ in order to grow. We strive to become someone we are not. This is why most of us feel so terrible most of the time. The key for me would be to stop obsessing about the future, and to start living now with everything that I have got and everyone I love.
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