Mumbai: As Sushant Singh Rajput’s latest film Sonchiriya opens to overwhelming reviews, but an underwhelming box office performance, the actor simply smiles at the irony of it. “I’d like Sonchiriya to be appreciated for all the hard work that our director Abhishek Chaubey has put in. In fact, all of us actors and technicians slogged in the Chambal heat. It feels nice when the reviews appreciate one’s efforts. I’ve never sought fame or fortune. Never been enamoured by the 100-crore club,” says Sushant without a trace of vanity.
Not that Sushant is a stranger to success. His large-screen debut Kai Po Che! was a hit and the Dhoni biopic was a blockbuster. But the actor ascribes the staggering success of these films to chance. “I’d say the success of those films was a happy accident. It’s not as if humein isse blockbuster banana hai (I have to make these films a success). I work entirely for my job satisfaction. Otherwise, I could have made money in any other profession. I am here to make a difference, firstly to myself. When I look back on my body of work, I want to feel a sense of pride. Whether it is Kai Po Che!, Byomkesh Bakshi, M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Kedarnath or Sonchiriya, I am happy and proud to be associated with these films.”
Sushant reveals that he likes to surrender completely to his characters. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep peacefully if I didn’t give all of myself to every character I accept. Agar main apne kirdaar ko theek se pehchan na paaon, usski antar-aatma ko choo na loon toh yeh toh beimaani hogi (If I am unable to understand my character and grasp its essence, then I would be betraying the character). Either I don’t accept a film or I do. And if I do, I surrender to it completely.”
For his role in Sonchiriya, in which he played an outlaw, Sushant spent days and weeks preparing for it. He stayed unwashed, unfed and unattended. “My character wants to surrender to the law. I surrendered to the law of self-discipline that I’ve made for my job. What I found in common between my characters in Kedarnath and Sonchiriya was that core of humanity. Mujhe woh pakadna tha, (I wanted to catch that) success or failure is not something I understand.”
We ask the actor is his perennial determination to play out-of-the-box characters proves to be a heavy cross to carry. But the actor says, “Not at all! It isn’t as if I have set out to do out-of-the-box characters from the beginning of my film career. These are the roles that have appealed to me. I am open to doing the ‘massy’ type of films, provided the script appeals to me. I would love to do a full-on masala film. And I am not the only contemporary actor doing out-of-the-box films. Rajkummar Rao, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann Khurrana are also doing films that are removed from conventional entertainment, and doing very well for themselves.”
We are still curious to know how the lack of box office success doesn’t perturb him at all, to which the actor responds, “As I said, I feel there is appreciation for all the hard work being put in my films. Maybe in my case, it doesn’t show in the box office figures. But as long as I have the freedom and power to do the kind of films I want to, I am in a comfortable place.”
Currently, Sushant is shooting for Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore and not for a second does Sushant feel he is shooting with the director of the mega-hit Dangal.
“I am having so much fun shooting for Chhichhore. The atmosphere is relaxed and positive. We’re having a blast. As far as I am concerned, I am working in a film that has already given me what I want.”...