What started as an assistant director’s journey for Bhopal's 25 year old Lakshya Kochhar has now turned into his Bollywood debut in ‘Gold’ - the historical period sports drama film directed by Reema Kagti and produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar under the Excel Entertainment banner. Lakshya bagged his first film right after he completed assisting Shujaat Saudagar on ‘Rock On 2’.
Akshay’s Bengali dialect coach Trishaan also stars in the movie. He has also got plenty feathers in his cap already. This Bengali lad is a trained actor from FTII, cast for International films & series (Furious 7, Sense 8, Viceroy’s House, Million Dollar Arm, Hundred Foot Journey etc), a member of C.S.A. ( Casting Society of America) and recently won the Indian Wiki-Media awards for digital entertainment as Best Casting Director for ALT Balaji’s web-show-Bose dead/alive. He is the only Indian casting director right now who has a degree in acting (from F.T.I.I., Pune) and experience in it both!
‘Gold’ tells the real-life story of India's first gold medal after independence at the Olympics. The movie is fictionalised tale of sports in India between 1933 and 1948 with a focus on hockey.
Were you worried about acting in an ensemble film?
Lakshya: I don’t think there’s anything to worry about, if you trust your talent. In fact I believe if you get an opportunity to work with such amazing actors, you should only be excited to learn the craft from them, see how they are in real life and just try to be a better actor, a better person and grow in life. I would love to be in an ensemble again if the script is as magnificent as Gold. So yes, I wasn’t ever worried, I was always very excited to be a part of one the biggest films of the year.
Trishaan: Oh no, never, haha! Anyways film making is such an art that needs a lot of team work. If anyone will get insecure and selfish, we would never be able to create anything. Also if such big stars like Akshay Kumar can do a film with a huge ensemble cast why can’t I. We should learn from our seniors. Anyways we have biggest of examples where our stalwarts have done tiny roles and graduated to bagging big ones. I am very patient and secure.
Tell us about your experience working with Reema Kagti
Lakshya: Reema is a true delight. She’s a master of framing, we all know about her writing skills but she’s an actor’s director, her description about every scene made it extremely easy for all of us to perform. Apart from being an amazing story teller, she’s one of the warmest people and the biggest animal lover you’ll ever meet. I can’t wait to work with her again, hopefully very soon.
Trishaan: I always wanted to work with Reema. She had been in my bucket list since Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and Talaash and got a chance to work with her in Gold. Gold shoot went on for almost a year and I never saw her out of energy. She had the same energy and focus throughout the shoot as was on the first day of shoot. My experience is wonderful. She is very sure and precise of what she wants from not only actors but also from me as a dialect coach to Akshay Kumar. She has the amazing sense of mixing art and commercials as any film we make, if it is not entertaining then there’s no point. I am really looking forward to work with her soon again.
Was there any pressure working opposite a superstar like Akshay Kumar in your first film?
Lakshya: I’d be lying if I said that there was no pressure or I wasn’t nervous. But the best part about working with AK sir is that he makes the environment so friendly and easy for you like it feels like we’re here to have fun and a movie is just being made on the side. He’s an absolute delight... a true inspiration, the most hardworking person in any group... very humorous, very witty and he just owns the screen when you look at him perform. So I was nervous but it just felt like a breeze working with him also it was an absolute honour sharing the screen with someone you’ve idolised all your life. It’s absolutely fantastic, like a dream come true.
Trishaan: I will be a fool if I say I did not have any pressure. But mostly as Akshay Kumar is such a huge star, I was really nervous on the first day of reading. But once we started reading and discussing the dialogues, intonation, dialect it all went off. I saw that everyone is here to do ones’ job and has absolute focus. Reema Kagti, Akshay Kumar, Kunal Kapoor, Vineet Kumar and all the cast and crew had 100% dedication and that helped me out of my nervousness to do my job well. And it is visible on screen.
How much of what you learnt on Rock On 2 sets did you bring on the sets of Gold?
Lakshya: I think when you work as an assistant director and see the hard work everyone puts in on a movie set behind the camera, you start respecting every department, every person on a film. Rock on was like a film school for me, it taught me the basics of filmmaking and the fact that everyone is trying to put in their best to make the best product that they can.
Hence I went into Gold with the objective of giving it all that I had and making the most of what I could of my part. The approach matters when you’re in the business of story telling and that is what helps you sustain I guess.
What is your equation with Farhan Akhtar like?
Lakshya: He’s an inspiration, I wish I was as cool and Multi faceted like Farhan sir. He’s a mentor and I respect him a lot. One thing I learnt from him is that as an actor it’s all you, it’s your talent, your skills, your intellect, your charisma, your work that will take you places. His hard work and dedication is simply admirable and inspiring. Also I’m a big fan of his sense of humour.
You have a major contribution to the film. Then what made you say yes for a role that is only for a brief time?
Trishaan: I am a trained actor from FTII. I trained not only in acting but in over all film making. When we create cinema, we are not only an actor, but we are contributing to a larger cause. We are a film family. Yes I was primarily offered to be the Bengali dialect coach for Akshay Kumar and later was offered the role which might not have a major screen time. But the important thing for me is to be able to contribute to such a mammoth project in as much capacity as possible. I am so proud to be part of Gold, not only as a coach but as an actor as well. I wish I could do more!
You are an Akshay Kumar fan but probably not supportive enough of him in the movie. How did you manage the contrast in real and reel life?
Trishaan: Oh, that is cake walk when you have a director like Reema Kagti and a super committed actor like Akshay Kumar around. Also it is my job to do so as a professional actor and to be able to do whatever my role demands. Anyways Akshay Kumar’s personality demands you to either fall for him or envy him and as an actor I chose to envy him, so it was rather easy. It’s the choices you make while acting that creates your character, isn’t it?
Any message for the audience who would like to watch you in Gold?
Trishaan: I would prefer everyone to experience Gold on their own. At this point of time, when it is already over 70 years of independence, somehow, we have started to take our freedom for granted. Our heroes are changing and the real ones who made this freedom possible are fading even from history books. It is evident by the trailer that it is the story of how we got our first Olympic Gold post-independence. It has a lot of sports for sure but for me it is not entirely a sports film. It is a film about earning respect for the nation. It is a story of people who wish to see Indian flag always on the top. Just go for the respect of our great grand nation.
Lakshya: Please take your families, friends, relatives, neighbours and everyone you know to watch Gold on the 15th of August! This film will make you fall in love with your nation again!
This film will make you respect the journey of this nation and this team in the most testing times of our country. It is a film you can watch with your families and be extremely proud to be an Indian!
I think everyone deserves to know about the 1948 Gold! It’s a story you can’t miss!...