Being sensitive is the most important requirement to be an actor
After being part of unconventional movies like Love Sex aur Dhokha, Hope and a Little Sugar, and the likes, Amit Sial is back with another dose of intriguing films like Titli and Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein. The talented actor gets talking about his upcoming movies, his journey as an actor and much more.
From being a franchisee development director to opening a takeout joint and finally becoming an actor, how has your journey been?
I have always been an actor. I used to act in a lot of theater productions, but then life happened and it took me to all these places. But I think I was destined to be an actor because the professions I was in earlier did not give me any sort of happiness or contentment. Although, I was earning good money, it wasn’t enough. Whenever I would watch actors in films or television, I would always be in awe of them and I knew I could do it myself and wanted to do it, so I came back to acting. And I think that I am a better actor thanks to my past experiences. I would have not been the actor I am today if not for these experiences. All these ups and downs, failures and successes, happiness and all those emotions and feelings make you sensitive and sentimental. And I think being sensitive is the biggest and the most important requirement to be an actor. I am grateful for whatever life has offered me.
What drew you towards your role in Titli?
I was drawn firstly because of Yash Raj and Dibaker (Banerjee) and more importantly the director and writer of the film, Kanu (Bahl), who has been a very important friend to me since Love Sex aur Dhokha and we always remained in touch. He was always keen on giving me a part in Titli. So they auditioned me, it was a long and hard process but I got through and that is how Titli happened.
Your character in the film has a very complex nature. Was it is easy to identify with the character?
Yes, there was a very strong identification with the character. I am born and brought up in Kanpur, in UP and have seen the ugliness of life from close quarters, be it crime, murders, violence or aggression, I have seen it all. If you live in a place like that, it becomes a part and parcel of life, you don’t even think about it. So, I have seen the life that has been depicted in Titli, but the film is not about violence and aggression. It is about a family that is trying to make ends meet, trying to make amends in their own fashion and yes, I could really identify with this because I have seen that life around me. It is hard to go back to a place that you have come; it plays tricks with your mind. But it is important to stick by the script and get into it.
You have been a part of some really interesting but unconventional films. Do you fear getting typecast?
Actually, some people from the industry have told me that it is better to be a typecast in Indian cinema because then the audiences find it easier to identify with you and they look forward to seeing you. But I do not have any such intention before picking a role. There is no strategy on my part that I should take this and not that. Also, I’ve always believed that I have not chosen the roles, but the roles have chosen me. That is why I have never run behind a role because I feel that if something is written for you, it will come to you. This is how I have handled my career so far and I intend to continue this way. I do identify with people, who I would love to work with, but I don’t think I am such a go-getter that I will run after a role.
You have worked with Dibakar Banerjee in Love Sex aur Dhokha (LSD). What with him on this film like? Did he share any inputs for your character?
We did not have much interaction while making Titli because he was the Producer and was actively involved only in the process of film production. But I had a conversation with him on the last day of the shoot. He actually called up all the cast members thanking them for being a part of this film. During this conversation, we also spoke about how this time I would actually be seen in the film, unlike the role I had in LSD (laughs). It is always a delight to interact with Dibakar, know what is happening in his head and how he perceives things. Plus, it’s just great to have a conversation with him.
Coming to your other release – Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein, how and why did you come on board as a co-writer and co-producer?
Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein essentially happened because of boredom. All the actors, technicians, everybody involved in the film were bored out of their wits because we were just sitting at home and twiddling our thumbs doing nothing and getting no work and we just wanted to create something. Charlie… initially happened between Manish Shrivastava (the writer and director of the film) and me and we started writing something, just for the fun of it. Eventually, something interesting started to take shape and then we finished the script. Manish took a leap of faith and got some money, borrowed some more from his family and friends and we started the process of making the film. As luck would have it and as they say that fortune favors the brave, like-minded people started to join in and that is how Charlie… happened. Then we met a really nice gentleman, Karan Arora (Producer), who took the responsibility of taking the film further.
You have co-written, co-produced, and acted in Charlie Ke Chakkar Mein. How did you manage so many diverse roles in the same film?
It was very hard. Actually, I did not want to act in the film as I had co-written it and was also co-producing it. There was a lot of work to be done behind the scenes, but one of the actors who was going to play my part, couldn’t do it at the last minute due to personal reasons. That was a big blow, so I had to jump in and take the role and that is how I ended up acting in the film.
You’ve also acted in a play that was directed by Naseeruddin Shah. How different was it from sharing screen space with him in this film?
I have always been a theater actor though I had drifted away from it. It requires a lot of commitment and I don’t think I was in the frame of mind personally and financially to give that kind of attention to theater. During that time, I did a beautiful film with Naseeruddin Shah called The Coffinmaker, which is finding it hard to get a release. And it was during the making of the movie that we came to know about each other. When the film got over, I got a message from him saying that he would like me to read a play and work in it. And, how do you say no to Naseeruddin Shah! So I did the play and I think it was one of the most enriching and eye-opening experiences, working with a man of his stature and talent. So we worked together for a year or so. Then everybody involved in the play got busy and the play stopped and so did my re-entry in theater.
How do you go about choosing films that you would like to be part of?
Sometimes, it is just the man or woman itself, the Director. Mostly, it is the script and the role that is being offered to you and when it touches you, you can’t say no. Sometimes the character touches you in a humorous manner and sometimes it’s intense, the main point is that you know that you want to take up the part and explore all those facets of the character. I think it comes from within; it is just a feeling of wanting to be a part of a project.
Which has been your most challenging role till date?
Currently I am doing a very small film, which is not small in the idea of it and nor will it be small when it comes out. It is called For Bindiya call Jugnu and I play a pimp in it. The film is essentially a story between a pimp and a prostitute. And, I am having great fun doing the role because it is very unlike me – the pimp part, but the kind of intensity the character’s life has in the story, somewhat resonates with mine and it is always hard to bare your soul.
But overall it is very hard to say which is the most challenging role, because all of them challenge you and if they don’t challenge you, what is the point in working on that film?
Can you share some tips for actors to help them get into the skin of each character they play?
Everybody has their own process. Sometimes, I personally apply method acting, other times it is just spontaneity. The rest of it falls between the brackets of listening to the director and the vision he or she has and not fiddling too much with what the writer has written. So, I think it is a mixture of everything that you put together.
Can you tell us something about your future ventures?
I don’t have any plans nor do I want to make any plans. Plans never work out, if something comes my way I’ll take it, if it’s interesting and if it’s not, then it will go to somebody else. You only get what you deserve and I am just taking it day by day.