Purvaja Sawant (BOMBAY TIMES; May 9, 2017)

After winning accolades for his impressive performance in Kai Po Che! (KPC), Amit Sadh did a slew of films that failed to set the cash registers ringing. While this may have dissuaded any other actor trying to find his feet in Bollywood, Amit was determined and continued to hone his craft. His hard work paid off in last year's hit, Sultan. Now, he's back on screen in Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar 3, in which he is essaying the character of the arrogant, volatile Shivaji Nagre. Excerpts from a conversation...

Unlike your peers Rajkummar Rao and Sushant Singh Rajput, you didn't cash in on the success of Kai Po Che!. Do you think you hit a roadblock?
Contrary to perception, life was smooth-sailing post KPC. Unfortunately, my next film released two years after that, so people thought I had hit a roadblock. Some of the films I had shot for also got delayed. Plus, I wasn't getting any offers. So, I decided to travel and live my life. I went for a six-month trip around the world on a shoestring budget. Also, as an actor, I have my own pace of doing things, but having said that, I still have to earn to pay my rent, so I have to keep working.

Was there a phase of self-doubt when you weren't getting films?
Yes, there was a time when I failed to understand the system. I would go for auditions, but I wouldn't get any parts. I wondered why this was happening. When I was going through a low phase in my career, I used to often ask Imran bhai, who drives my car but is like a father figure to me, if I had what it takes to be in Bollywood. One night, I cried and didn't let him go home. That's when he told me, 'If anyone in this country can become an actor, it's you. Not because of your looks or acting skills, but because you have such a great desire to act that no one can stop you.' Till today, he is my pillar of strength.

How do you deal with criticism?
I give a damn about criticism. I am a thick-skinned guy. I have seen so much in life that films are like taking a walk in the park for me. I have done jhaadu-pocha and bartan in people's houses. I have been a security guard, too. There is no job that I haven't done. I can do any kind of work, so just give me work! I don't care what perception you have about me. I just hope you go and watch my films.

You've often said that you don't need to have a godfather to survive in the industry...
Actors should stop complaining about nepotism. I am uneducated - I was asked to leave school in Class 11. I came to Mumbai with only Rs 300, yet there is no one in this industry who has not been nice to me. From filmmakers who have given me work to people who have given me advice, I feel blessed to have them in my life. What are we cribbing about? Why can't we let go of our grudges and be thankful? We're artistes and we should be oblivious to all these things. We have to stop playing the victim card. I think Ram Gopal Varma has had a huge role in helping me articulate my thoughts. He's not a guy who imposes his thought process on you. Ramu sir has ignited in me the ability to think, to have a perspective and understand films. His films have had a great impact on me. One amazing thing I have learnt from him is that whether you're in front of a camera - still or film - you have to emote; the camera will capture it.

Apparently, Amitabh Bachchan is the reason why you're in Sarkar 3...
Yes. Ramu sir told me that Mr Bachchan recommended my name for the role. People have this misconception that he is intimidating. Yes, we are in awe of him, but it's the aura around him that intimidates us, not him. He was very generous and nice to me. I am grateful that I am acting in the same era as his. Being on the same set and breathing the same air as him is almost like baptism for me. Other than that, as a co-actor, he is very giving. His consciousness for his craft is supreme.

What's happening on the personal front?
I am not looking for love. At this point, I am living life openly. I am engaged to my craft and busy with my work. I take things as they come. I don't have a special someone in my life because I am not the kind of man most women prefer. If I ever fall for a woman, it will happen at the right time.