Interview By: Devanshee Singh

Sunny Kaushal, son of renowned action director Sham Kaushal and brother of Vicky Kaushal is going to step into Hindi film industry with Shailendra Singh’s directorial debut film ‘Sunshine Music Tours and Travels’. We had a brief chat with him about his dreams, struggle and more…

“According to me, a good story is which has all the nine emotions and people can connect to those nine emotions”

How did this film happen to you?

I went through a couple of rounds of auditions for the film. Then I got a call saying Shailendra sir wants to meet you. Right in this room we auditioned with him. He asked me to do a monologue which is not from the film but he just said feel your character and say whatever comes naturally. So, I did that and then after half an hour when I was down having a sandwich, I again got a call saying come up and I got the part.

What inspired you to be an actor? Did you always think of being an actor?
The inspiration came from dad since he is in this industry from such a long time. So we have never seen a 9 to 5 job, we saw all erratic hours. We have always lived in that creative environment where dad has been having meetings and everything. We used to just stand there when we were kids when he used to have meetings at home. We use to take it all in. I was doing CA and I was doing my internship which was a 9 to 5 job. So, after my graduation I realised that this is not what I am made for. I have to do something in the film industry and what it is I really don’t know. So, after my graduation I assisted on a movie called ‘My friend Pinto’ which was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s production and directed by Raghav Da. While I was shooting for that, I realised that maybe I can give it a shot in front of the camera. Then after that, I did my theatre and acting course. I took it up seriously. For five years of giving audition here and there, now finally I am here.

What did you love the most about this film?
What attracted me was that the film is about realising your dreams. I was at such a stage where I was also dreaming and wanted to realise my dreams. I wanted somebody to come up and say to me that I am doing this for you. So, when I got to know about this film, what attracted me was it is so close to somebody’s reality that it has to come out on the big screen. It has to reach to people where even a normal guy who is doing a corporate job but wants to be a painter can say, I can do this. If I also put my heart and soul into it I will be able to do it. so, that’s the main thing that attracted me to do this film.

How was your journey of chasing your dreams?

It’s been phenomenal. It taught me so much. When you fall down, you rise up again and it teaches you so much. When we started, Dad just said one thing that “I am leaving you in this ocean and you have to find your own way whether you drown or you reach the island, that’s up to you.”

How was Vicky an inspiration for you or how was he involved in your journey?
The thing about Vicky is that just he being there in my life itself helps me a lot. Since he is the elder kid in the family, he is the more sorted one and I am the more chirpy one. Whenever I am stuck, at some point I look up to him and think that how will Vicky react in such a situation. The only thing he told me before doing the film was that, ‘Don’t be pretentious about anything. Don’t say that if he is doing that then I will be like this. Make your own way and be honest. People connect to honesty and reality. Be honest.’ That’s what he told me. No acting tips, nothing. He was like I have only done one film, what can I give, I can’t give anything.

Sham Kaushal, your father is such an established name of the industry. How has his name influenced your career or it helped you in doing what you want to do?

The thing is that it didn’t give Vicky and I any kind of push. He just told us one thing when we stepped in into the industry that ‘because of my name people might call you to their office and will offer you a cup of tea but they will not make a movie with you. That will be on your talent. Even when I came in to this industry, it was on my talent. I struggled, I fought my own battle. So, you also have to do that. I am not a star, I am a technician and people will respect that but they will not put money on you, they will not give you any kind of film. You have to prove your worth, only then you will get some work.’ There was no special push that Sham Kaushal is my father. In fact when I came here Shailendra sir didn’t even know that I am Sham Kaushal’s son. After when we started shooting, one fine day he came “You are Sham ji’s son?” I said “Yes sir”.

In future what kind of movies do you want to do or what kind of approach do you want to have towards your work?

Right now, since I am so inexperienced, I just have one approach that I want to be a part of good stories. Since we are actors, we have the responsibility of storytelling, translating a particular story to people and making them a part of it. So, I haven’t thought what kind of a film or what kind of roles I want to do. I only want to be part of good stories to which people can connect.

What is the definition of good stories from your point of view?
When I was acting, I was taught this one thing called ‘navras’. There are nine emotions. According to me, a good story is which has all the nine emotions and people can connect to those nine emotions. They can be heightened parts of those emotions like it’s comedy, so, people will laugh a lot but it also has something that makes you probably cry, something that goes like “Oh! I want to be that superhero”. It should be something which inspires people to be more than what they are right now.

The name of your character in ‘Sunshine Music Tours and Travels’ is Sunburn. What is the story behind it?

Sunburn was a person that Shailendra sir met in Manali. His name was Sunburn. He asked him why your name is Sunburn. He said that I want to go in Sunburn Music Festival but I don’t have money and enough resources to go. So, people started me calling Sunburn. My character’s name is based on that, he doesn’t know his real name. He is an orphan.

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