Interview By: Ankita R. Kanabar

Enter Sushant Singh Rajput’s vanity van, and you see a guitar there. “Yes, that’s for my next character,” he smiles. Clearly, he’s fit into being M.S. Dhoni like a glove, and now even moved away from it – on to his next. But the thing about SSR that strikes in his detailing when he’s prepping for a film. And the man is articulate enough to even explain it to you. His journey of becoming M.S. Dhoni, and what he’s learnt from his own experiences – Sushant Singh Rajput in a brief chat!

“No matter where you’re from, if you believe in what you are doing, it’ll happen”

You’ve earlier told me that you prepare extensively, because you first have to be convinced about being that character. At what point were you convinced that you were M.S. Dhoni?
Before the first day of the shoot (smiles). And I think it’s just not me, all the actors who are really actors, they do the same thing. It’s not a big deal – that oh I slogged for a year or something. We are all are supposed to do something like that only. If it’s a character very close to me and doesn’t require cultivating of a new skill, then I’ll get into it in two or three months. But this was a completely different human being. Also, because he has got immense popularity. The entire nation knows about him, and have their own references. So I had to match that too. I had to make it very organic for myself to be him, and not immitate him. I had to work in a way that mannerisms, nuances, all those things should come naturally.

In this case, you had reference points as opposed to a fictional character. But here, you also have to be sure you stick by certain elements. What’s more challenging?
For every character there are reference points, but it’s not known to the audience. For fictional characters, you do not have things to match on to, if you are a good actor, you can convince people. But if you are doing a biopic, and especially a biopic on someone like M.S, there are few things people know of. We divided it into two parts – one was cricket and second his mannerisms, nuances. And again, there is this whole approach we have with fictional characters as well. For the nuances, I thought, let me not write down the things he does, let me just watch him for so many hours, that I subconsciously pick it up, and that’s what happened after 2-3 months. I watched all his videos that are available, some 100 times. After a few months, people started saying there are few similarities between between. I knew I was going right because there were no similarities when I started. For Cricket, I trained was with Kiran More, and he is an analyst too. So he would break down all the Dhoni shots into frames and I would play the same shot 200-300 times every day. As far as understanding him is concerned, it was the most difficult thing. It needed lots of readings with Neeraj Pandey, meetings with Mr. Dhoni himself. And by the end of one year, just before the start of the shoot, in my head, I was him.

“You will earn recognition, money and all that you think is important for success, but those things wouldn’t be as important as the work itself”

Has discovering his journey and living it, motivated you or taught you something? Your own journey also must have taught you so much.
You work through yourself. We find all those emotions within us. We don’t know what we don’t know. There are dissimilarities, you work on that similarities you do not have to worry about. Normally when we want to follow our dreams, we are told to be secure first. I used to believe in the same thing. But I realised that no matter where you’re from, if you believe in what you are doing, it’ll happen. And you have to be obsessed with it. When you like what you are doing so much, you are not there in the future nor in the past, you are there just in the present. So everything takes care of itself. I’ve learnt that you will earn recognition, money and all that you think is important for success, but those things wouldn’t be as important as the work itself. You look back and make sense of everything. While you are at it, it doesn’t seem so. But one should not be obsessed about what’s going to happen and what has happened because you cannot do anything about that. If you are here, you are doing something you really like, your future will be sorted out automatically. You just need to be excited for your work.

Yes and that excitement shows!
I’m always this excited (smiles) .

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