He started learning the piano when he was five, moved to strumming the guitar when he was 13 and began jamming with his band at 16. “Baba didn’t even know that I could sing,” admits Pradeep Sarkar’s 18-year-old son, Ronit, who has sung the title track in his just-released Lafangey Parindey.
“He discovered that I had a voice when he came for a show at Jazz By The Bay last November. I was performing with my band, Icrecream Truck, and he was scouting around for a young voice at the time. Soon after, he asked me if I’d cut a scratch for him.”
Ronit recorded the song and was told to keep his fingers crossed as the team waited for Aditya Chopra’s nod. It came immediately and he was back in the studio, minus his ‘Baba’ who was too nervous to be around.
“It was a marathon six-hour recording, at the end of which I lost my voice. It was a tough song, not the kind I usually sing which is perhaps why most of the reactions have been, ‘Hey, that’s not you!’” Ronit reminisces, adding that his ‘Baba’ got the visuals bang on with all those biking and boxing shots.
Quiz him on his bonding with biker boy Neil Nitin Mukesh and his blind love, Deepika Padukone, and Ronit says, “They’re both warm and friendly but I am more pally with Neil’s younger brother who’s the same age as me and whom I’ve known even before this film started rolling. Deepika’s walk after she’s blinded is one of my favourite on-screen moments. I had my exams, following which I went out of town, but I attended a few shoots and I was impressed with both the actors. As for dad, he’s most energetic when on the sets. He’s a workaholic who hates taking holidays.”
So is he planning a career in music, direction or acting? “I’ve done plays in school and college and I enjoy music. But I really can’t say what I will do tomorrow,” he insists.
His Baba has directed three reel life love stories, Parineeta set in the 1960s, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag in the ‘80s and Lafangey Parindey in 2010. Does he have a love story too that he’ll like to recreate on screen some day? “I’m working on it,” he smiles. “There was a girl once, but today I am a free bird.”
Ah, a lafanga parinda? “If you mean a biker boy? Dad doesn’t let me get close to a bike. I’m still trying to get a handle on my car,” he retorts.
“And if you mean a free bird, well I’m kinda shy and have to pushed out into the open. Thank God, ‘Baba’ pushes me into doing what I want rather than what he would want me to do.”