In an EXCLUSIVE tête-à-tête with PINKVILLA, the talented actor spoke about the delirious response Padmaavat and Khilji per se have been receiving, moments of rupture he encountered during filming and touching a bisexual character for the first time on the big screen.
Here are the excerpts …
Being appreciated for his role as Khilji
Well, needless to say he was delighted to see the answer. It was a lot of hard work in the last year and a half and there was a point where our film did not open. So, finally getting free and getting the kind of appreciation for my work was incredible. I took a big risk with this character, committing myself to a part like this and the type of response I received is very satisfying. I feel like my job was something and I'm very happy about that.
In breakdown during the filming of Padmaavat
By the way things happened, unfortunately, we were in a situation where we had not shot any of my parts and there were delays in the film and the process of filming that were not under our control. Because of that, all the work came together and I had to shoot on my back. So, I was filming 30 to 40 days in a row and it was an extremely difficult process. It was physically exhausting since I was filming for the dance sequence and consecutive action sequences. One day my voice would go and the other day I would take some injury due to the action sequences. While firing for Khalibali I could not feel my legs. It was the filming process for me that was difficult because normally in Mr. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film we shot from six to eight days and then we took a break. But, not in this case, then, for me, it was absolutely exhausting. On day 37, I thought I would go crazy because my mind had turned into pulp and my body into pieces. I felt that I was going to break and I did. I confided to my mother, fortunately, she inspired me to continue and now I feel that all that effort is worth it.
About playing a bisexual character with Jim Sarbh
It was a very difficult decision for me because the character was very negative. When I read the part I felt that I had to touch in dark and deep places inside of me and I was not ready to enter that area. He was very apprehensive but Mr. Bhansali insisted. He contributed so much to my career and for me as an artist, I could not say no. I am glad that you have placed your faith in me and have been able to fulfill it for me. So, the greatest compliment to me is that he is happy with my work. But, the angle of bisexuality, I thought it contributed to the character because it contributed to his threat. In the film, his character confronts people with a traditional moral compass, so for them, he presented a marked contrast and, in a way, added to his threat. Therefore, I am very happy with the response that many people talk about Jim and my song. It was me who suggested Jim's name for the part and for him to get that kind of appreciation and our track to be appreciated filled my heart with joy. Working with Jim has been one of the enriching co-actor experiences I've had. He is so full of ideas and so full of energy. He is so wonderful to work. I am very happy for him and for us too.
Deepika is a wonderful artist and one of the best actors we have had in Hindi cinema. I hope to collaborate with her on more films in the future.
After completing eight years in Bollywood
I think that along the way I was able to create some memorable characters, even to be part of the movies, that I will remember for a long period of time that he does not. just go and see. I think I'm very lucky that the filmmakers have recognized my ability and let me have confidence in myself. I have worked with the best talents and it is extremely satisfying. What I find the best part is that I can develop as an artist and I always try to improve myself and I have also been able to show my versatility. And I'm always willing to do that. In my opinion, if I am recognized as the most versatile actor, I will consider it a successful effort. I have had opportunities that allowed me to show my versatility as such and I am very happy about that. It is a strange dichotomy in which I am patient because I have a vision for my own legacy with the vast body of work with memorable films. My vision is very big and I have a lot of patience to build it, but at the same time, I am very restless. I feel like I want to do so much in such a short time, but overall it has been a satisfying journey and I just wanted to be a hero of the Hindi movie since I was a kid and I literally started to understand the world around me, I just wanted to be one thing and I'm doing that today. I am grateful to the universe for giving me this opportunity.