Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR
Aditya Seal plays the baddie opposite Tiger Shroff in ‘Student Of The Year 2’. The actor who was appreciated in ‘Tum Bin 2’ talks about this franchise, playing the anti-hero and shares titbits about him as a person in this candid chat. Excerpts:
People expect from the ‘SOTY’ franchise and trailer/ songs itself got a great response. Are you happy with the reactions?
It’s ‘SOTY’ so people obviously expect a lot of songs, glamour and it’s difficult because it’s not a thriller that will keep you on the edge. It’s a no-brainer, it’s ‘Student Of The Year’. So, it’s a difficult task to keep the audiences glued if it’s not suspense anymore, but I think my director has done a fabulous job of keeping the interest among the audience and make the film look good.
How did you feel about coming on-board for this franchise?
I was honestly very happy and excited because I play a little grey shade in this and you have Tiger opposite me so there’s a lot of action happening and finally I get a chance to showcase my art as well. I do a lot of martial arts, I’m a black belt in Taekwondo from South Koreo. So, I finally get a chance to showcase all of that and who better to do it against, than Tiger? He knows what I can do because we train together, so we had a chance to play off each other, improvise, try and make things better as per our own capabilities.
So, would it be right to say that ‘SOTY’ is your first commercial sort-of work?
Yes, absolutely. Every other work I’ve done so far, has been heavily story-oriented, here it’s mainstream where you have to look your best. You have to look A+ for teenage girls to like you, and teenage boys to follow you. It’s been very different. Tiger and me were just discussing – that how’s he preparing. And he was like, just go to the gymnastics, everything else is easy. I said, chalo fabulous, let’s do it (smiles).
In that sense, was this easy mentally, but demanding physically?
True, because I play a young boy from college and I’ve been that boy. It was easy for me. Only thing is, that looking the best is another ballgame. You cannot cheat meal. You have to work out every day. You have to do your action sequences every day and that’s a task. I remember we were shooting in Pune once, and we have these tracks where we used to run. Because I’m a sprinter, I don’t like running a lot, I don’t do cardio in my gym, I do otherwise. First day after that track in field, I was down and out. Somehow we just managed to get it looking very nice.
Today do you think, it’s a more easy to play an anti-hero, or perhaps a character with grey shades as opposed to say few years back?
I love playing it. Now there’s no fear of you being categorised in a negative role. You can do what you want. Grey shade is something you can experiment with so much, because you don’t want to go overboard and play a Mogambo and you can’t be a positive all throughout. So, you have to play it very cool, very subtle. You have to have people like you and hate you and it’s just amazing to play because I get the best of both the worlds.
What is it that you expect at this point in terms of the work you’re doing and how content are you?
Honestly, no actor is content but the kind of kind of appreciation I’ve got for the work I’ve done is satisfying. Maybe the films didn’t do as good as they should have but nobody has actually gone to say that they didn’t like my work. People have said I’ve done a decent job so I’m happy that I’ve been able to live up to my character and the expectations from me. Otherwise, there’s so much more I would love to do. When I read books, watch these shows on Netflix, I am amazed to see that people, and especially Hollywood has gone ahead by a 100miles. They play with people’s psychology. I am watching this show called ‘You’ and the way they are playing with people’s psychology is amazing. That’s how I invested I want to be as an actor, I want to be that deep into my character. For me, if you ask me, what would I want to play much later? Then I’d say, “As of now, I want to be a commercial actor, but later, I want to play a serial killer in one film.’ I believe, I will kill that role.
Is it difficult to stay motivated on a daily basis?
It’s very difficult to be motivated because I have a mother at home, who is this perfect Indian mother who would want her son to be settled soon, who would want him to earn money, be successful. So, for ‘Tum Bin 2’ to have not done well is very hard on her and I totally understand that. She would tell my dad, why don’t we take him into the family business and all sorts of things, and I totally understand that. I know where she’s coming from. That demotivates you, but she is fair on her part as well. But what motivates me is when people tell me, that you are good at your job and you just have to be at it. I meet a lot of people, directors who like me. So maybe there’s something and I guess I have to be a little more patient, keep working on my art. Finally, I’m seeing it happen step by step. And the biggest reason I’m motivated is, because of my father. It’s my father who wanted me to do this, he’s shown me the way into it. He just tells me, ‘you keep at it, and I will take care of the rest of the things.’ He is my biggest fan, my biggest critic.
So, how did acting really happen? Tell me something about the person you are.
I’m born and brought up in Mumbai, I’m an absolute Mumbai kid. My father has a business which I saw growing up. I saw my father struggle every day and now we’re doing good for ourselves. It didn’t really excite me, so I got into cricket a lot. I thought, I’d be a cricketer, I was decently good at it but I had a knee injury and had to give that up. But then I had a father who helped me out saying that you’re a decent looking guy, why don’t you try your luck at this. So, he showed me the way and since then I didn’t look back. He kept telling me what I should do – for example martial arts. Then I took it to a different level when I went to south Korea. I participated in championships, won gold medals for the country, trained with the best team. It’s just been a ride like this and apart from that I’m a simple person. I’m not into shooshaah. I have a small set of friends who I want to be around. I’m bad at small talks (laughs).