He's got the aptitude for fiery performances.. visible in films such as Jungle, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Matrubhoomi. Here's Sushant Singh quizzed by Sonil Dedhia.
You are just a sidekick in Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag, aren't you?
I don't know what you mean by that.. but it's a full-fledged role. I play Tambe, the right hand man of Babban (Amitabh Bachchan). So, it's a significant character. I'm also doing Mukhbiir.. and there's a film by Sunil Doshi where I play the lead role.
(Laughs) Yes, please put that in capital letters. So far, I've had to gratify myself in briefer roles. I do want to break into central protagonist roles.. but do I have a choice?
I have played some important characters in films like Jungle and The Legend of Bhagat Singh. At the end of the day, I have a house to run.. I have to earn money which is why sometimes I take up any film that comes my way. <b1>
Ever wondered why lead roles continue to elude you?
Partially, I blame myself for that. I don't belong to a film family. Being a Jat, I have my ego. I never approach directors for work. Incidentally some directors have bigger ego problems than me.
Absolutely. I don't want to demean anybody.. but let's admit it.. the director is the most powerful man on a film set. Producers give their money to him, which means he has the financial powers as well. That power leads to ego.
Why hasn't Ram Gopal Varma offered you the role of a hero yet?
Ramu is a mature director. He did offer me a film like Jungle.. asking him for a lead would be too much, wouldn't it?
What are you doing in Pradeep Sarkar's film?
It's a four and half scene role.. but I did it for Mr Pradeep Sarkar and Yash Raj Films.
Okay. Let me cut straight to the point. Why haven't you made it big despite having talent? <b2>
(Thinks hard) I can't analyse that. Maybe I don't work in big banner films. A terrific actor like Arshad Warsi was almost wiped out but the Munnabhai series saved him from falling into oblivion. I've had my share of success.. if I were not a good actor, you wouldn't be here to interview me. Right? I'm glad the media recognises the real talent.
Are you in touch with Mansoor Khan, who gave you your first break in Josh?
Mansoor shifted his base to the south long ago. After Josh, I did meet him.. but only once. There has not been much of an interaction between us of late.
Didn't Chetan Anand approach you for a film once?
Let's make it clear.. Chetan Anand had not approached me. I went up to him to ask for a role. Initially, my character was negative but as the script developed, it slowly turned into a positive one. I became the hero. Wow! At that time, it was being said that Chetan did not like my long nose. (Laughs) I offered my nose to him, "Sir, main apni naak katva deta hoon."
Tell me why do you die in the climax in most of your films?
(Laughs) I guess my directors love to see me dying.
How has your experience in TV been?
Oh, it's been fantastic. I started off with Dhadkan, which was based in a hospital. It had caught on in popularity but gradually saasbahu soaps took over.. and Dhadkan had to succumb to the TRP pressure.
Nowadays, although TV is driven largely by commerce, as other businesses, I do see some good serials. It has always been a strong medium.