As he turns 31, Sushant takes stock of a year that will, among other things, see him play an astronaut; his extravagant birthday gift to himself and why Homi Adajania’s next is being reworked
Avinash Lohana (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 21, 2017)

After bidding 2016 goodbye in London, Sushant Singh Rajput had headed to Dubai for an adventurous trip in the first week of January. Now, the 31-year-old actor is all set for the year ahead. He starts shooting for Tarun Mansukhani’s next, Drive, in mid-February with co-star Jacqueline Fernandez and began prep for Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan’s space-adventure, Chandamama Door Ke, in which he will be seen as an astronaut, on Friday. The film rolls mid-year.

“I was really looking forward to my first day of training in a Boeing 737 fixed base simulator, which was a lot of fun. I had done my homework by reading up extensively, so it wasn’t very difficult. In fact I did 20 take-offs with a hundred percent accuracy, but the landing was a little difficult. I’ll have two very distinctive looks in the film besides a little change in the way I speak,” says Sushant, who is also doing reading sessions for Drive and refutes rumours that the film is a remake of the 2011 Ryan Gosling-starrer neo-noir crime film by the same name.

“It’s an original script,” he asserts. The actor has never worked with his Drive heroine Jackie before. They interacted for the first time at length while rehearsing for their joint act at the recently concluded 62nd JIO Filmfare Awards, for which they grooved to “Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo”, “Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho” and “Hamma Hamma”. “We spoke about a lot of things. Both of us like reading so in between rehearsals, whenever I wrote something, she would come up to me and discuss it. She is a great dancer and extremely hard working but what I like the most about her is that her Hindi is superb,” Sushant says cheekily, revealing that he gave the Sri Lankan beauty some Hindi lessons too.

For his 31st birthday today, Sushant intends to spend threefour hours of the day all by himself, a ritual he’s been observing for years now. “I might go touring the city on my bike and meet a few close friends later. I am looking forward to working even harder,” the birthday boy says. Has he bought himself a present? “When I was very young, I’d got a miniature Maserati Quattroporte in blue with a packet of noodles. I loved playing with it and had wanted a real one ever since. As a gift to myself this year, I have booked a Maserati Quattroporte. It’s expected to be delivered in a few weeks,” Sushant beams.

His next release, Dinesh Vijan’s directorial debut Raabta with Kriti Sanon, was initially slated to release on Valentine’s Day this year but has been now pushed to June. “We are done shooting for the film, barring a song sequence with Kriti which will happen soon. We wanted teenagers to watch the film as well and were looking for a date post the exam season,” he explains, and denies rumours that Homi Adajania’s Takadum with Parineeti Chopra has been shelved.

“The original script had certain similarities to the plot points of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil so the writer is reworking the script, which takes a lot of time. Once the final draft is ready, I’ll look at it and give my dates for the film,” Sushant signs off.
Actor, who turns 31 today, to spend month with US astronaut as film prep
Sonil Dedhia (MID-DAY; January 20, 2017)

When it comes to method acting, Sushant Singh Rajput is inarguably among those Bollywood actors who like to get under the skin of their characters. While preparing for Dibakar Banerjee’s Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (2015), the actor didn’t speak to his family for over three months. Similarly, to play a ticket collector in the M S Dhoni biopic, Sushant often hung out at Kharagpur railway station to learn the right body language and stayed at the railway quarters.

Now, to prepare for his next, Chanda Mama Door Ke, which is a space adventure, the actor is heading to NASA. “I am playing an astronaut in the film and I just finished training on a simulator this week. Sanjay (director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan) has given me around 15 books and eight documentaries, including For All Mankind (1989) that documents National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Apollo mission, to understand the life of astronauts,” says Sushant, adding, “Sanjay has contacts in NASA. I will spend almost a month with them to understand an astronaut’s body language and mindset. Sanjay has already given a uniform with a badge. I wear it almost every day. I can’t wait to work on the film,” he says.

Sushant is often criticised for going overboard with preparation for his roles. The actor disagrees. “I don’t think there is anything like over-preparation. I do it for myself, and not to prove a point to anyone,” says the actor, who turns 31 tomorrow.

Does he have special birthday plans? “A friend is planning a party. I will also be working for a few hours. I also like to go on a long bike riding alone on my birthday, keeping my mind free of thoughts,” Sushant signs off.