RAHUL SHARMA tells JYOTHI VENKATESH
How did you get the offer to act in your debut serial Kahani Chandrakanta Ki?
I was lucky enough to get a break in the industry. Director Sunilji made me attend a workshop before getting onboard. Within 10 minutes into the workshop, the person who was conducting the workshop informed Sunil sir that he should reject me as I was not capable of doing the role. After 3 days, Sunil sir called me and told me that he would consider me for some other project and will have to drop this current project with me. I was disheartened since it was going to be my first project. I had even informed my family about it. I had two paths in front of me.
Either I should quit and go back home or continue looking out for more projects. I had been struggling for two years then and gave around 500-600 auditions. I decided to work hard on myself. I started giving 7-8 auditions a day as compared to 2-3 auditions. I made sure to enhance my acting skills and wanted them to realize that I am capable of acting. I started re-working on myself with this motive. I worked on myself for a month. Luckily, after a month, I got a call from Sunil sir again asking to do the same role for which I was rejected. Sunil sir asked me to come to Dev Anand ji’s office, where Devsaab motivated me by saying, “Oh young man, you will do good. Don’t worry.” I felt blessed to have received his blessings before I started my journey. For me, my first serial was a learning experience. It was a very important chapter in my life. I played Chandrakanta’s elder son Yuvraj Indrajeet Singh.
Were you replaced in some shows?
Yes, I was finalized and then replaced in some shows without being informed. With me, it has either happened that I have immediately started working on a project either it takes a few months to click start the project. There is no in between.
How did the lockdown period treat you?
I live alone in Mumbai. It has given me a lot of perspective. It has motivated me to take up writing in a serious way. For example, I have started my own page for writing; I have started my YouTube channel called Your Rahul Sharma. I am now more creatively involved with the whole process. It also helped me with self-observation and self-discovery. It helped me elevate spiritually.
What is the reason that at a young age, you went into a phase of depression?
There are some points in life when you come to a situation where you don’t know what to do and are lost. I was young back then and was in the process of making big decisions. There will always be some decisions in your life which will not go as per plan and how you imagined it to pan out. For example, some roles do not work out. However I do not have any regrets for anything which did not work out. During that phase, in a span of about 8-10 months there were about 5-6 shows which fell through. Also, my personal and financial life was not in the best shape.
All these things were happening simultaneously together and it felt like a rollercoaster ride and I was riding along. That’s when I faced a huge amount of emotional turmoil and depression was one of the things I went through. That phase changed my life and gave me a different perspective to life and showed me a path to live. It taught me that life is not only about materialistic things or people or few shows for that matter, as life is much more than that. It is simple but we complicate it. The phase lasted for about 6-8 months and then I was on the way to a transformation post which I was back on track and started working full-fledged. There was a drastic change in me physically and mentally. I reduced about 10-15 kgs. I invested a lot in me during the recovery and transformational phase and that’s how I was awakened to life.
Which are your 5 best TV serials till date?
It is difficult to choose the best of something which you are close to but Kaal Bhairav Rahasya , Ek Ghar Banaunga and Ek Rishta Aisa Bhi, Pyar Ki Luka Chuppi and Mitegi Laxman Rekha are my five best. . I’d say I’m fortunate and blessed to have been given such opportunities which many people crave for. When I took up acting as a career my aim was to be known as a good actor. The only thing I look forward to is being called that (good actor), the size of the role doesn’t matter.
What is the difference between daily shows and mythological?
Mythological shows and characters definitely take a lot of effort. Say for example when you are a warrior, you not only have to ‘physically’ be like the character but also start thinking and behaving in a certain manner. Every aspect of how you are standing, how you talk and walk, what you speak, your pauses, your diction, attitude, everything matters a lot. The point is that you should feel and the onscreen aura should also personify that. I have had the opportunity to play a warrior, God and Prince. All experiences were different. When I played Vishnu, I had to be so calm and patient, that it should reflect on your face. I used to meditate a lot and ensured I was in that zone so that I would be able to speak through my eyes and face without giving any expression. There are many things you need to keep in mind. You need not react, you can’t say a lot but your expressions should do the talking. It is a different kind of genre all together.
What is your role in Pyar Ki Luka Chuppi?
It is a realistic role. Sarthak is a guy who is very ambitious and comes from a humble-lower middle class background and wants to do something big in life which he is craving to achieve since childhood. He does not have enough finance to study and could not buy materialistic things. Srishti is part of his life and they grow up together and love each other. They fight for their love and get married. After getting married when he gets a job and when his ambitions are fulfilled and he is reaching somewhere in his life only then he starts losing his personal life.
There is one time when he chooses a career over his love and family. He reaches the point where he is ready to give up his family and focus on his career. After lockdown where we started shooting there was a one-year leap. Srishti comes to his life again and she is a changed person. The person she becomes is exactly what Sarthak was thinking of her to be, inspiring, independent, confident etc. She has become like this now when their relationship is broken. I feel that it is not wrong to choose to be ambitious but when you fail to keep balance between your love life and ambition then the problem arises. This show tells you what will be the consequences when you lose balance.
How different is Sarthak from Rahul in reel life and real life?
There is a lot of difference between Rahul and Sarthak. If it comes to choosing between family and career, Rahul will leave his career behind and will be with his family and will do some job that will be enough for survival. And if he finds something that is bringing a difference in his family or if he thinks something is taking him away from his family then he will throw that cause and things out of his life. Rahul is like that and there is a lot of difference.
It is surprising that you are popular and have done a lot of TV series but not tried your hands at acting in films!
I have tried. I will not lie about it. I want to try and my motive is to work in films but there should be some good opportunities. I don’t want to be remembered like a guy who came into films which didn’t work out or be in a film which was released and nobody knows about it. I want to work and I will take my time and it will come. I am getting good roles in TV serials so I am happy about that. And if I get a good opportunity in films I will definitely try. I have that type of caliber who can pull off a big screen or 70mm screen and people will be drawn to me, and I am very sure about it.
Have you acted in any film?
Yes, I did act in some films, but some got stuck in between. I took a few breaks to work on that but it backfired. So, I don’t like to take up projects which don’t serve me in the long run. When it comes to films we have to invest a lot of time and right now I can’t invest so much time on a film which I am not sure will work for me. I am actually seeking a great opportunity now. I also waited a lot for an opportunity to work in TV. I did not choose to work in serials just because I didn’t have a job. I got the opportunity to work in serials and I grabbed it. I have also rejected a lot of opportunities. I think my purpose will be fulfilled only if the role is great, it should be fun to work and if there is no fun, I will not feel like working. So that is the reason I haven’t done a film that will make me think that it will be fun.
Do you act for satisfaction or for money?
There was a time when I did accept a role for money and it backfired. So, post that project I stopped working for money. Emotionally, I fight with myself a lot. Fighting with others is ok but fighting with yourself is devastating because you lose mental peace, and for little money if I lose my mental peace then I will lose big opportunities that are on my way.
Which are the five directors on your wish list with whom you want to work with?
I would love to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali because he sees actors with different perspectives. He takes your potential to that level which you don’t believe you have and when you reach that potential nothing can get better than that. Then there is Raj Kumar Hirani who has a different way of presenting a character. His characters are those which connect with the common man, which represent their story, their life and some stories which connect the audiences’ heart. Then there is Anurag Kashyap who will take you to a different zone where he portrays realistic cinema where you experience different types of roles. Nitesh Tiwari’s approach towards films is different and I love it. I really like Manish Sharma and Shoojit Sircar. Even if you do 10 to 15 films if those films serve the purpose then it is remembered by the audience forever and that is a big blessing and everyone does not have it.
In what way do you think cinema has changed style wise?
I think we are stuck on romance; we have emphasized it to such an extent that it’s worn out now but we are still using it. It would have been better if we had shown romance differently. Right now, there are some films with realistic approaches. There were some films that came which were really good but due to clash with other films they didn’t do that well. Indians are very emotional as they like movies which make them emotional and expect where there is girl and boy who love each other. There is a happy ending and only then they get excited.
Do you get time to watch films?
Yes, I take out time to watch films, most of the times I watch Hollywood films. I watch different types of films. I love superhero movies, science fiction and even some Netflix and Amazon series. I love to explore different genres of films, because they touch different dimensions and take you on different journeys.
Which are the five movies that you like?
Ijaazat by Gulazar Sahab, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Golmaal by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Do Aankhen Barah Haath by V Shantaram are some of my all-time favorites and in the recent times I loved Irrfan Khan Sir’s debut movie Haasil, Chak De India, Dangal, 3 Idiots, Munna Bhai MBBS. These are some movies that changed the whole perspective and contributed a lot to Indian cinema.
You seem to have a strange kind of resemblance to Ranvir Singh?
There were times when I used to grow my hair, when people used to call me Shahid Kapoor. Then I got compared to Ranvir Singh, Sushant Singh Rajput and even Tom Cruise. Maybe there is resemblance. I think Ranveer created good opportunities to reach where he is. I am waiting for mine. I am proud and grateful that I started from zero and have reached here. And I am sure I will do great work ahead.
Is it true that you are getting only digital and not physical copies for your scripts?
It is true. I am not very comfortable with it and have also spoken about it with the team. Yes, I am adjusting with the situation but paper is something I really need to have with me.
How will you evaluate your growth as an actor?
I have grown as a human being over the years. I think to become good actors; we have to learn about emotions. You can emote very well after experience. I used to practice a lot initially but today I don’t do that. It has become very natural now.