In his two years in Bollywood, Sushant Singh Rajput has already proved his versatility by doing diverse roles — be it an enthusiastic boy-next-door in Kai Po Che (2013) or a shrewd sleuth in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!. Now, as he prepares for his character in the biopic on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Indian cricket team, we speak to him about the film, his other projects, and more.
You have been keeping a low profile post the release of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!. What have you been up to?
At first, I was preparing for Paani. Then it was decided that the biopic on Dhoni will be made before that. So, for the past many months, I have been busy with the extensive prep work for the film. Also, after my last movie, I got an opportunity to spend some quality time with my loved ones.
There have been several reports about the kind of efforts you are putting in for the Dhoni biopic. Can you tell us more about that?
Well, I can only say that I have done my best to prepare for the role, and now I am looking forward to working with Neeraj Pandey (director), and his wonderful team.
Were you upset when Alia Bhatt reportedly walked out of a film that you two were to do with director Homi Adajania?
No, why should I be? I don’t know why she opted out. The most important thing is that I never say yes to a film because of the actors who are also part of it. It’s always the director and the script for me. Once I am convinced of the project, and if the director wants me, I will stick with it with passion and enthusiasm, no matter what happens.
There is speculation that you will star opposite Deepika Padukone in the Hindi remake of The Fault In Our Stars (2014).
I have not been approached for the same. As of now, I have only signed the Dhoni biopic.
Do you ever feel anxious or get upset when other actors, especially your contemporaries, deliver hits every year?
Sometimes, yes, but then I remind myself why I wanted to be in this industry in the first place. That keeps me calm. If you stick with your convictions — no matter what happens — you start respecting yourself. In the future, I might quit acting and work on a farm, or I might become the biggest superstar of this country. In the end, all you should have is an exciting story to tell. It’s a long game, not a short battle.
You were appreciated for your role in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!. We’ve heard that the makers are also planning a sequel. Is it true?
I hope it is. Many people have told me that my performance in the film was better than all my other movies, and I feel the same as well. I think the only reason for that was Dibakar Banerjee (director). It’s rare that you get an opportunity to work with a director like him, who is so intelligent, and courageous enough to back his original style, and not care about ‘popular’ trends.
Do you think moviegoers in India are open to more diverse content in films now?
Yes, their taste has definitely evolved. And it’s imperative for the future of Indian cinema. There has been a quantum jump in the way Hollywood films are performing in the Indian market, which means that our audiences are craving good films with new ideas. We might stumble a bit initially [while exploring new concepts in films] because of the particular kind of films they (moviegoers) associate our industry with, but we will ultimately earn a good reputation.
Why do you take so much time to prepare for your films?
I can’t see any other way of going about it. The kind of films I’ve worked in require extensive preparation, and I’m not inherently talented (smiles). So, I make up for it with hard work. Also, I want to live my life to the fullest. About 15-20 years from now, I don’t want to regret not spending enough time with my loved ones.
You have come a long way from living in a small flat to buying a penthouse in Bandra.
Those were amazing days. There were so many of us in that small room. While one would be cooking lunch, the other would be doing the chores. But we were so excited, and as happy and content as anyone in this world because of the kind of fun we used to have. I have somehow managed to sustain that enthusiasm and excitement.