Hot Off The Small Screen | Verve Magazine
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April 15, 2013

Hot Off The Small Screen

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photograph by Subi Samuel.

Effortlessly taking the quantum leap from television to Hindi films, Sushant Singh Rajput has created an impact with the emotion-stirring Kai Po Che

Though his popular soap Pavitra Rishta has made him a household name to avid followers of the TV tale and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4 showcased his deft dance moves on the floor, film aficionados got a taste of his talent with his recently released debut offering Kai Po Che. Sushant Singh Rajput morphed on the big screen to play the more complex Ishaan in the film adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life.

He signed the movie on the basis of the ‘brilliant’ script. He says, “I had not read The 3 Mistakes… I auditioned because reputed names like UTV, Abhishek Kapoor and Chetan Bhagat were associated with it. Once I read the book, I prayed that I would get a part in the project.” KPC involved sharing space with two other actors. Yet Sushant asserts, “I will not trade this film with a dozen single hero conventional films. There is a calling from inside you when you read a script as honest as KPC and you should listen to it!”

When the Patna-born Sushant switched from engineering to acting, he took his family by surprise. He says, “I was drawn to acting by the process of making people believe something that is not true. When I told my family, initially they were in a state of shock because I dropped out of the most prestigious engineering college in India. My father went very quiet when I told him what I wanted to do. I took that as a yes and I followed my dream!”

His passion led him to Mumbai – theatre, television and films. And his success is underlined by the fact that he is known more by the roles he plays. Sushant admits, “It can’t get better than when people know you by your character’s name than your real one. But my characters are all a derivative of my own personality. They become real by my ability to listen and react spontaneously within the role. I am driven by my hunger to learn – I am immune to money and fame.”

He has straddled different mediums and though emoting seems to come easily to him, he says, “I am neither emotional nor expressive – in short, I am a bad actor – in real life. And yet, while shooting I am almost 90 if not 100 per cent my character. Television, theatre and film are all powerful mediums and it is very cruel and baseless to compare them.”

The current flavour of celluloid, who has prestigious projects like Peekay and a Yash Raj Films’ production in his kitty, admits to having his own cinematic icons: “Daniel Lewis, Al Pacino and Irrfan Khan are my favourites. But I do not try to emulate them. You play different characters and you have own process of interpretation so there is no point in following their styles. And, I have just started learning.”

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