As an actor I feel I am very vulnerable and transparent
PRATIK RAJAN KOTHARI who plays the lead in the short film Unfiltered Love tells JYOTHI VENKATESH in this exclusiuve e-mail interview
I liked you as an actor in the short film Unfiltered Love and I tell this genuinely and not just because I knew Rajen Kothari well. What attracted you towards acting?
Thank you so much for your kind words. I always wanted to be in and around films. Post my 12th standard, I was still not sure what to do and in summer breaks I would explore options by being an observer in edit and sound studios. When I started my graduation, a friend of mine really insisted I must try the stage.
I participated in the college skit as an actor and ‘keeda lag gaya’. The instantaneous feedback of the audience gave me a ‘high’ and I started pursuing acting by taking up courses in the summer break. One such course at Kreating Charakters really encouraged me to pursue acting.
Is Unfiltered Love your first short film as an actor? Have you acted in films or web series or TV serials before?
Unfiltered love is not my first work as an actor. I did a lot of stage shows followed by a few cameos in Crime Patrol. I acted in a film called Das Capital directed by my father which we are still trying to release. I also did a web series for Eros Now called Tum Se Naa Ho Payega. I have also directed a few short films and love the format.
How did you approach your role as Aditya in the short film?
We rehearsed a lot. I had done a play written and directed by Prankur, who loves to rehearse a lot. Apart from that, a lot of personal experiences and observations went in. The approach was to keep the act very real and natural.
Is the plot also based on your personal life experiences as the viewer can easily empathize with you?
Plot came more out of Prankur’s real life observations but yes it was very relatable and I was confident that the audience too would relate. As actors we do bring in a lot of personal experiences to every part we play.
Do you think the social media is capable of impacting the love life of a young couple today?
Absolutely. We all want to play to an image of an ideal relationship and make sure we tell people how happening our lives are. Not only couples, friendships, relationships with siblings, family etc all are bound to get impacted.
How the director Prankur was as far as his craft was concerned?
Prankur knew the graph of the character he had written very well. Being a director myself I would say his craft was much better than mine when I made my first film.
Which are your other assignments?
I co-directed a short film called ‘Hangout’ during the lockdown. I am now working on the post of my first directorial. We should have been through by now but for the lockdown. I am now writing my next feature and also in talks with a couple of directors for a few exciting parts. It is still too early to say anything more though, but I really look forward to parts where I can contribute to the storytelling.
Who are your favorite actors?
Charlie Chaplin would be the first to start with. I don’t need to elaborate further I guess. I discover him more every time I see him. He is sheer innocence personified I admire Alia Bhatt a lot for the range of characters she pulls off with such ease. I also like Aamir Khan. I grew up watching his films in the 90s. I love Shahrukh’s energy and conviction in every scene. I also like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri Sir, Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutt, Irrfan, Neeraj Kabi, Tabu,Divya Dutta,Morgan Freeman, Pankaj Kapoor, Paresh Rawal etc and the list is too long.
Why did you not have any inclination towards being a DOP like your father?
Never. I used to have basic questions which I never asked him. I was like these people first put up these big lights and then they cut them. If they cut it why do they put it and if they put it why do they cut it. As I started working as a director I started picking up the camera technicalities but still don’t dwell into them much.
If I am not mistaken, your father also directed a film. Which was that?
He directed three films. Purush in 1992 based on a Marathi play. It featured Om Puri, Ashwini Bhave and Irrfaan. In 2006 he made a comedy called Panga Na Lo with Kunal Roy Kapoor, Satish Shah, Supriya Pathak, Om Puri and Navni Parihaar. He also directed Das Capital just before he passed away..
How was Pooja Singh, who plays Shefali as a co-star?
Pooja is a friend and was a delight to work with. I really enjoyed collaborating with her just after a short I was directing and wanted her to act in but it didn’t quite work out. I love actors who are sincere to their craft and Pooja is one such actor.
Are you aiming at a career in Bollywood?
Certainly. I have been working hard on my craft everyday and I love to be on a film set.
Do you have any wish list of directors with whom you would love to act?
Many of them. Rajkumar Hirani would be the first name in my list. Imtiaz Ali, Meghna Gulzar, Anurag Kashyap etc too. The list can go on. A veteran whom I really wish to work with as an actor is Shyam Benegal Sir as he is a master and an encyclopedia.
To what extent can you go bold if your character, say in a web series requires you to shed your clothes?
It’s a cliche but I will say that I am ready to do whatever the script requires. I am not a huge fan of graphic violence or explicits on screen per say but it all depends on the sensitivity of the director.
How would you describe yourself as an actor?
This is the toughest one to answer. How do you describe someone who plays multiple personalities? As an actor I feel I am very vulnerable and transparent and that’s how I describe myself.