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Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

His second film has just released, and this time around he’s been directed by his father, Suneel Darshan. In a quick chat, Shiv Darshan speaks about his film, ‘Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha’.

“The ability to connect and engage with the audiences is what will take you far”

How did ‘Ek Haseena Thi Ek Deewana Tha’ happen?
I had a shaky start, I was featured in a film called ‘Karle Pyaar Karle’, but you need to fall before you rise. The best in the business didn’t have a good start. Mr. Bachchan had a shaky start, even Ranbir did not start off very well. So, I kept on working on my skills, my action, and everything. I was keeping myself occupied. I was getting offers but I was not connecting with them. I am very intuitive as a person. One day my father started writing something. He started writing by 7pm, and he was ready with the first half by 9pm. So, he gave me to read it and asked me how did I find it. So, when I read the first half of the draft, I was so intrigued by the story and the mystery of the movie; I was fascinated by the character Dev, so I requested by father that can I do this movie and Dev’s role.

You also look different in this film…
The character is such that he is very mysterious, enigmatic, passionate and everything about him is perplexing. For some reason, in my mind, the look made sense to me and my father. So, it was an amalgamation of his vision and my imagination also.

As a newcomer, what’s your approach like? How did you prepare for the film?
We did a lot of workshops before we start filming. You need to know the words on the script, so when you are on set, you are just reacting and not thinking about what you’re going to say. That’s my school of acting – that you should be in the moment, know the exact words of the script by heart. Horse riding is an important element of the film, so both Natasha and me had to learn that. Also, like I said, everything about Dev is so perfect. And he also talks in Urdu sometimes. So when I was studying to be an actor, you have to undergo diction classes, I had an Urdu teacher who used to teach me and I got fascinated that time with Urdu poetry. That particular aspect of training, I have used in the film. Dev is a farm worker, stable boy, so a certain physicality was required, and I’m myself a fitness freak so that helped. The rest of it was my father’s vision and my imagination from what I’ve seen in the past.

How was it being directed by your father?
I am like a blank canvas when I’m on set, and I had a fabulous experience because on set, he was just a film-maker and I was an actor. You won’t believe, in personal life, he has never raised his voice on me, he is soft-spoken. But as a film-maker he is so passionate that if I made an error or forgot the lines, he would scold me?

There’s a certain perception about industry kids, but how’s it been for you? Also, how do you stay motivated to constantly work on yourself?
I’m actually a competitive person and I don’t want to sound arrogant but I like to compete with myself. I want to be a better version of myself. Being from the industry has got its own pros and cons. The pros are that you get your first film easily and the cons are that, there’s this perception that he has it easy. They stereotype you. But eventually, the ability to connect and engage with the audiences is what will take you far.

What are the kind of movies you like?
As an audience, I want to be entertained, and you can entertain me by making me laugh, cry, or get me scared or show action. I’m here for entertainment. I don’t want movies which are very intellectual. I basically love entertainment.

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