“I would like to be the first Asian James Bond”
Sushant Singh Rajput might be just a few films old, but he has never failed to impressed us. Be it as a loyal friend in KAI PO CHE!, a confused lover in SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE or a faithful boyfriend in PK, he has always entertained the audience to the fullest. The charming actor, who will now be seen in the crime thriller DETECTVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY! which releases today (3rd April, 2015), in an exclusive interview to Glamsham.com, spoke about his film, his preparation for the character, his favourite detective character, the Khans of Bollywood and much more. Excerpts from the interview:
Had you seen the television series of Detective Byomkesh Bakshy before shooting for the film?
I saw it, but not as a preparation for Byomkesh. I saw it when it used to come back in 90s when I was a kid. So, it was just like I had faint memories of it when I started shooting for it. The visuals, the mannerisms of Rajit Kapoor, the music & the sketch we use to have of Byomkesh Bakshy, those were the slight distinct memories I had, but never as a preparation for the film. It was only after I did the film is when I saw everything about Byomkesh has already been done.
Did those faint images help you in any way while preparing for the role?
No, they don’t. I think the script does and just because I read all the stories of Sharadindu (Bandyopadhyay), who wrote Byomkesh, all the 32 stories, is why I got an idea of the character and the world it was set in and also because the film that Dibakar wrote was a completely new interpretation of the same thing. So, I didn’t have to.
When Rajit was playing the character of Byomkesh, he was loved by almost everyone and as it was a television series, it wasn’t too glossy still people enjoyed it and religiously watched it, so do you think people will be able to connect with the film just the same way as they did with the TV series?
We need to understand why people got connected with that TV series. We always have this fascination of something that is slightly complex & how a person is very seasoned and his style of working solves it, but the process of is what fascinates us. So yes, why not, we are very clear about our intent as film makers and actors. Dibakar always seeks honesty in whatever we do as actors and just because the script is so fascinating, it’s written in a very tight way and also there is a sense of abstractness in the film. And also I’ll tell you, this Byomkesh Bakshy is not as seasoned as Rajit Kapur was in the TV series because this is his first case; he is just fresh out of college. He is intelligent and he thinks because nobody is, he has this seduction for anything & everything that’s intelligent. So he gets himself into this complex case and then what happens is going to be like how he transforms while solving the case. He is intelligent, but he is not seasoned. He still lacks those fundamental abilities which a very seasoned detective must have. It’s like an amateur doing something and very gradually transforming into something.
”The idea of doing something new with the same old thing was very fascinating”
When you were offered this film, a Dibakar Banerjee film, how was your reaction?
I was very excited; number one-it was Dibakar Banerjee’s film, number 2- it was YRF’s film and this never happened, Dibakar doing a film with YRF and then the idea of doing something that has already been there for the last 50-60 years doing that in a very personal and a very innovative way. So this idea of doing something very new with the same old thing was very fascinating.
Was it a conscious decision on your part to do DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY!?
Of course, it’s always conscious. But, I don’t think about the audience when I say yes to a film or when I am shooting for the film. Its only after I am done with the film is when I think that everybody must come and watch it and should like it so that they get entertained and also, I get to do movies like these like I always wanted to do. It’s a very conscious decision of doing films.
Byomkesh as a character has always been morally right; in this film will we see any grey shades of you?
Yes you will. You definitely will because more than his idea of what is moral, immoral & what is right & what is wrong, he is a secret of truth and he is fascinated by anybody who is intelligent irrespective of how moral he is. So it’s his fascination of solving something very complex and at the same time having that company of somebody who can give him a very intelligent challenge. So these two things are most important to him and not the moral & not what is wrong according to somebody else’s point of view. There are many scenes in which this guy knows that the other guy is wrong (the villain) and he wants to have a good conversation, he wants his company just because he is getting seduced by his intelligence. So that thing is the most important for him, also solving something that is slightly complex and then comes morality & everything, so yes, grey shades, very much.
You all haven’t revealed much about the villain and there were reports that Aamir Khan was offered this role, so is the villain somewhere close to Aamir or someone who is all well-known as him or we haven’t seen him at all on screen?
You have seen him but then we are not telling you who the villain is just because that is one of the things that I solve in the film. So if I tell you who the villain is right now, you will lose the curiosity when you are actually watching the film. So, that is the reason of not telling you who the villain is and nothing else. I can assure you about one thing, he is a fabulous actor and I have done workshops with him. Sorry, he has taken workshops of me as an instructor.
”I don’t think about the audience when I say yes to a film”
You have not been the sole lead in most of your previous films, and DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY! is entirely your film, if you are offered a good script where you will be playing the second lead, will you accept it?
Of course. I don’t think how or what are the things that make a script powerful, but there is something that I can understand when I read a script that ok, this is something that I need to do. Irrespective of the first lead or the second lead, irrespective of the duration that character is there in the film, I’ll say yes to a film. So I’ll do another film like PK or KAI PO CHE! even after say my three solo hero film’s success. The film is more important and getting to be a part of the film is more important.
What about television? If something appealing comes up, would you mind going back?
I am thinking of something that I might be able to pull off. So, we might be doing something on TV and also on digital platforms very soon.
You are amongst the most promising new comers of this industry, how do you feel about it?
I feel very good. I never thought thinking about all the logical reasons that can help me to be in this industry and survive and get the kind of roles that I am getting, so it was a very distant ambition but at the same time I was very sure that one day just because of the sheer reason of enjoying what I do is why I’ll get a chance in Bollywood and I’ll survive. So these two ideas were always there. And right now when I am actually doing it, I feel fortunate and at the same time I feel very very confident that if the reason remains the same, of me working in this industry, I will survive and I will, I think, do a much better job in the near future.
Which is your favourite detective character?
Karamchand and Sherlock Holmes.