Before the release of his recent sleuth film, Sushant Singh Rajput had admitted that he was a “bit nervous”. But now that the movie is out — and has earned the young actor ample critical acclaim — he is “relieved”. Here, he talks about working under pressure, finding his place in the film industry, and more.
Have the reviews for your performance reinstated your faith in your choice of films?
Yes, they have. Every time you try something new, you don’t know how the audience will react. Looking at the overwhelming response, I am relieved.
Does this put extra pressure on you for your next, which is a biopic on MS Dhoni?
I perform better under pressure. I choose my films carefully, and then I give each one my best. It’s good that I have expectations to live up to. And I promise I will not disappoint.
You have worked in TV, films and theatre. Which medium is the most creatively gratifying?
I think theatre does something to you. You perform in a linear manner, there are no retakes, and you get instant feedback. If you are pretending on stage, the audience will see through you in a flash. Given a chance, I would love to do plays in between my films.
Do you feel you have found your footing in the industry now?
I can’t claim that. The film industry is like a pyramid — as you keep going up, it keeps getting tougher. The only way to survive is to take your work seriously, give your 100 per cent and make the right choices.
Having done challenging roles right at the start, do you think it will be easier for you to do the so-called usual, run-of-the-mill parts in the future?
It might be, but I could go wrong too (laughs). I would love to do a light romantic film that has songs and dancing, so that I get to dance too. After all, those are the films I grew up watching.
Your role in your latest release is based on a legendary literary character (Byomkesh Bakshi) that has been portrayed by several thespians. Were you worried about the kind of reaction you would get?
Once I say yes to a film, I never think about anything else while I prepare for the role, or during the shoot. It was only during the promotions that I started thinking about all that. Honestly, I was a bit nervous (smiles).
Since film-makers today are coming up with innovative ideas, and are experimenting a lot with the scripts, do you think now is a good time to be an actor?
Absolutely, it’s a great time to be a Hindi film actor. I think movies are changing and so are the people. So, today, if you are serious about your work, you will get work. New-age film-makers are courageous and are making some great films. You get to learn a lot while working with them.
You are currently working with several acclaimed film-makers. How does it help you as an actor?
If I think about the last one-and-a-half years, I have evolved a lot by working with and having conversations with film-makers like Dibakar (Banerjee) and Shekhar Kapur. You just spend time with them and you don’t even realise when your thought process evolves.
What drives you to choose the kind of roles you do?
I work in this industry because I love performing, and that keeps me excited. The only way to sustain motivation and excitement is to constantly try new and challenging roles. I might not completely comprehend them initially, but I understand them while working on the part.