Posted by Fenil Seta
Sushant Singh Rajput on how his craft helped him come out of his shell and understand himself
Sarita A Tanwar (DNA; May 18, 2017)
Sushant Singh Rajput is difficult to put in a box. He’s difficult to define. He is a contradiction in terms of what he says and what he tweets (more on that later). He says he likes staying at home and reading a book, rather than partying. But when he parties, he becomes the topic of conversation, the following morning. He is the guy who turned his back on the biggest studio of them all — Yash Raj Films. He walked out on his live-in girlfriend, just when he was on the threshold of big things; that could just have been a coincidence, but that wasn’t how he was perceived. There are whispers of him being arrogant and affected by success. So much was being said about him. But he wasn’t saying anything. It is time for Sushant to speak. Also, he has a release coming up — Raabta. He has been linked to his leading lady Kriti Sanon. There’s so much to ask him, I don’t know where to begin and I don’t want to do a typical Q&A. ‘Can we just chat?’ I ask. Sushant was ready to free-wheel it. So, we jump from his work ethic to love life, from travel plans to life goals.... back and forth over coffee and cookies (for me) and cigarettes (for him). Read on for excerpts from the tête-à-tête...
What is your mind space right now?
I was always future-obsessed. I think it comes from wanting to be in control and that’s why I plan everything. Or I used to. Not to take away from when I started performing... Whenever I used to perform, I used to forget about it but when I am not performing...
Like when you are not on set?
Yes, when I was not on set or stage or working, then I would think about what are the things I really wanted to happen. But that has changed in the last one-and-a-half years. I am just not concerned about what’s going to happen. Not in a reckless sort of a way, but I no longer look back or sit and plan for the future.
What brought that change?
The understanding that I am not in control most of the time. One has the solution (to a hypothetical problem), we tell ourselves it is the effect (of the problem), but manufacture the cause, to explain why it happens, giving one the illusion of being in control. I realised that and stopped. The only few parameters that one can actually control, is with all of us. We kind of overestimate the impact of anything that has to do with future. We think success would mean success and failure would mean failure. It is not like that.
It does in the film business, though. Things change every Friday...
That is what I am saying. There will be repercussions, but it won’t affect my state of mind. Monday onwards, you will know if you are getting a film that you were in talks for or not. Either way, I don’t get affected for too long. Whether my film is a hit or a miss, I move on in three days. I am just not concerned about what’s going to happen because I know no matter what, I will come back to the same state of mind on Monday. But I do want my producers to be happy and get the money.
How important are collections to you?
They are important for my producers, not for me. Like after M S Dhoni - The Untold Story released and did very well, I was supposed to shoot for a film which didn’t happen and I suddenly had five months of free time. I started getting offers from some very good filmmakers who I have been wanting to work with, but I didn’t find the script that engaging or exciting. So I decided to do a play and turned down the many millions I could have made with those movies, for like Rs 50,000 for the play.
And you were happy?
Yes! I realised I wasn’t sleeping when I began working on the play. Not because of any pressure or something, but because I was so excited. So this is what it is all about for me. If a film doesn’t work, I will be disappointed for a day, but I will go back and do theatre or something on TV, that is exciting and you can’t take away that state of mind from me.
This change happened after your split with Ankita Lokhande? That happened around the same time.
No. That was way before we split.
After Shah Rukh Khan, no TV actor has made it really big. Why do you think that is? Some of the biggest names of TV have been launched as big screen heroes...
They think a lot. And they don’t believe that it’s going to happen. These two are the main two reasons. Of course there are other factors. Like recently, somebody was telling me that TV actors are... well, they are used to fame and fans and they have a certain kind of expectation of how they should be treated and that becomes a problem. I remember a few years ago, when I’d just quit TV, I was performing for Miss India, and a very big producer walked up to me and said, ‘Achha, kya kar rahe ho?’ I said, ‘I am trying to do films or go to UCLA for a filmmaking course.’ He said to me, “You won’t get films, yeh TV actors ke novelty nahi hoti. They are over-exposed'... or something like that. So I think TV actors are also discouraged to think big and that is why it doesn’t happen. But I was reading about Roger Bannister, who in the 1950s clocked a mile in four minutes. It was a record. And the next year, 27 of them clocked a mile in four minutes. Nothing changed. Except that somebody did it, so I can too. Belief is a very important factor.
Speaking of beliefs... Are you single?
Single? Of course. And I think I will be single for a while now.
Why is that?
I’ve realised that a relationship requires a sort of commitment in terms of time and energy, which I don’t have at this point in time.
Don’t have or don’t want to give?
Probably don’t want to give.
Since you have come out of a long steady relationship, is this phase all about enjoying your singlehood?
More than enjoyment I guess, it’s about being slightly reckless. Like I went to Andaman for a week and I was not using my phone. I was loving that state of not being connected with anybody. I do these sorts of things. And I don’t think I could do that in a relationship...
Aren’t you worried that you will be labelled flighty when you do things like disappearing without anybody being able to reach you?
Of course, somebody else’s point of view it might seem like that. I feel it is high time where we start giving some room for spontaneity. We should learn not to care. I have tweeted about it a lot of times too, we should learn...
Speaking of your tweets. Why are they all profound and philosophical? I have to read them seven times to understand them.
Yes! I need to take three minutes and take a deep breath and then fathom.
That is what I want, I want your attention.
Why are they not normal like: Sitting in front of my window, or having tea, etc...
Okay, let’s see my last tweet (opens Twitter) See, my last tweet is: Uncertainty is intrinsic to the process of finding out what you don’t know.
See, my brain is already hurting...
(Smiles) All I am trying to say is that we should just embrace uncertainty.
Lovely. Then why not just say that?
True. I didn’t know my self-musings were being analysed and dissected. I must tell you that a leading publishing house has asked me to write, based on my self-musings.
Okay, then muse away. Pick one emotion to describe yourself.
Confused. I am still trying to figure out everything.
What? Relationships, career, life, people?
Just... I can’t make sense of anything. For the first 19 years of my life, I was acting to project a certain kind of a personality. Then I needed a break, I was like, ‘Okay, let’s be a different personality and get paid for it.’ That’s when I started acting. Also, because I could not communicate with people as me. When I started performing on stage, I was like don’t judge me because I am the character and I could easily hide behind characters and say what I want to say and seeing people react to that was liberating.
What do you mean you could not talk?
I was the youngest of five children in my family. I have four sisters and they would pamper me, but I didn’t know how to deal with people when I used to step out. They were not treating me same as I was treated at home. So, suddenly I was like, ‘Okay let’s not talk, but let’s ensure they acknowledge my existence’. So, I started reading a lot. I was a top scorer in my class and I convinced myself that I didn’t have to talk till the time Shiamak and Barry John happened. And then, I was like I was missing something — this feeling of being understood. One thing that I am sure of is that I like acting and no matter how much you pay me I will do it, I would rather pay and do it. Apart from this I can’t make sense of anything else.
How close are you to your family?
I was extremely close to my mother, I am very close to my sisters and my dad, but with mum it was something else and after I lost her something changed... I cannot put that in words but something happened and now I am not close to anybody. Not that I don’t talk to my sisters, but...
You don’t want anyone to become that important to you?
Yes, I am trying to push away everybody so that I don’t get that feeling again.
You mean attachment.
If you are pushing people away and you know why, would you consider talking to a professional about it?
It is not that I am... I am trying to justify what is happening. I might be wrong, but that connection can never happen again with anyone, that is for sure. Probably I am afraid or whatever. It cannot happen again.
Might happen with your child someday.
Probably, but seems unlikely. It is not that I don’t want it to happen again. I don’t see it happening.
Are you sleeping better now, last time we met you said two hours every night?
(Smiles) Yes, I have improved. It’s four hours now.
What keeps you up?
I don’t know, I just read books, the more I read the more I get to know...
But you are not staying awake to read books, you are reading books because you are awake, right?
Is it angst?
No angst, nothing to prove to anybody...
Is it just thoughts running through your head then?
I can differentiate between things thinking about things that are important and not important. The thing is that I don’t think anything is important. I am not saying it in a very negative way. I really like what I do, but at the same time I don’t think that any one thing is more important than something else.. Everything is like not so important to me at least..
You sound like a spiritual guru.
But this is the truth. I get up, if I am reading a book or shooting for a film, or giving an interview or doing nothing, everything means the same to me. No one thing is more important than something else.
Yes... so there are hours when I can just sit here and read a book, when I can go out and make a lot of money...
So you say no to money?
I would say no, then forget I said no to an opportunity.
To make money is not important?
Money is not important. I am trying to make myself realise the importance of money because I never had it growing up. And when you don’t have it growing up, it stays with you. When you don’t have money, it means a lot. When you have it, it doesn’t mean much. Where I stay, is the best place and only when somebody asks me, I am reminded it is rented. I don’t own it.
No desires for a car or a house?
When I was in the fourth grade, I bought a blue Maserati miniature. I used to play with it, and I still have it. I got so used to owning that car, that I booked the big version. I waited for six months for it. From where I was coming from,I wanted it all — big house, big car, big bank balance. My aim was to make sure I have all these things. Then, in a very short span of time I had everything. I realised, I got bored of it. It is not that six months baad I got there. In a week, I am like, ‘Okay, I am done.’
As long as it doesn’t happen in your relationships it is fine.
Relationships are a completely different thing altogether. You cannot think about how to make it right. It is either right or it is not right, it is as simple as that.
Moving on, from denying being involved with Kriti, to now posing romantic pictures with her, you have come a long way.
Posing for romantic pictures? Ah, okay. I am promoting my film and I can’t help it. Part of promotions.
Doesn’t it cross your mind that the lovey-dovey picture will be about you two rather than the film?
Maybe. But in Raabta, for the first time I got to wear good outfits. I am only thinking about that right now. So this is the first time in a film that my producers, directors wanted me...
They didn’t let you wear good clothes during Dhoni promotions?
No, they didn’t. They were like these are the things that you got to do. Aur iss film mein, jo pehli cheez jo mujhe achchi lagi, aur bahut saari cheezein mujhe achchi lagi, woh first cheez jo strike ki woh ye thi ki you need to look good. And I was like wow. And second achhi cheez ye thi ki I could lip sync my songs. In all my previous films, the songs played in the background.
Raabta must have been a pleasant break from Dhoni and all those practice sessions?
No no. This was also heavy. But this is more prettier.
For a while it seemed like you had a bitter break-up, but your recent meeting with Ankita belies that.
I didn’t even think of meeting, forget about meeting. It has been 14 months that I have seen her. I don’t know where it is coming from.
Did you decide that you are going to stay away from each other?
Nothing was decided. Whatever it is, but it is pretty organic. It is happening on its own. This story, I don’t know where this is coming from. I haven’t met her. I don’t want to do it at this point in time because I think it is the correct thing to do. There was another story, that said I went in my Maserati and mentioned that we had ice cream, and then I came back and bashed the fans waiting at my gate for some reason. None of that happened. (laughs). I just thought of having an ice cream very honestly, but that’s it.
Your and Ankita’s fans want to see the two of you back together. Is that a possibility?
Probably, they would want me to. But like I said, I don’t think about the future that much.
Did you begin feeling like the bad guy in this break-up because everyone said you walked out after you became a star.
I was also reading those stories and they almost got me convinced that I was a bad guy. But I don’t want to justify if I was right or wrong. But it is unfortunate.
React to rumours that you have become arrogant. That you keep guards around you and don’t pose for pics with fans.
Not true. They ask for a picture, I stand, I smile and that’s it. Nothing happens to me. I feel neither happy or sad. I am somewhere else, probably. Yes, there are times when I really don’t want to talk.
Then what do you do?
Just smile and pose for the picture.
You haven’t mastered Salman Khan’s do-not-approach-me expression?
No. I will tell you why. Like I said, it was not his fault, but years ago, when I went to Shah Rukh Khan’s set as a fan, and I could not meet him, I felt really bad. So, I would never deliberately do that to anyone. The only reason I would turn down a fan is if I am getting late for something. I have this problem: I cannot get late for anything. No matter how important or not important my appointment, I will be there 10 minutes earlier. I will roam around in the area, but I won’t be late. So, if I am getting late and somebody asks me to take a picture I won’t stop for sure (laughs). No matter how sexy the girl is, I will not stop.
Do you have a 3am friend?
Yes, my sister. She stays in the US, so she is awake even when it is 3am here.
One person you would call to give you good advice?
My friend, Rohini.
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Ankita Lokhande, Interviews, Kriti Sanon, M S Dhoni - The Untold Story, Raabta, Sushant Singh Rajput, Sushant Singh Rajput interview, Sushant Singh Rajput mother, Sushant Singh Rajput sister . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.