Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘I work a lot on the back story of the character to get into its skin’

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The saying ‘The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity’ goes well with actor Manuj Sharma’s journey so far. In an exclusive chat with The Pioneer, the actor recalls working with two of the biggest superstars in India, his foray into tinsel town, and also opens up about his intimate acting process.

Amartya Smaran

Our guest, Manuj Sharma, who previously acted in films and TV series like Bhoothnath Returns, Inside Edge, Secret Superstar, Lootcase, and Commando 3, is now riding high with back-to-back box office releases this year.

Vikram Vedha, which was released on September 30, opened to good reviews, and his role as Constable Dubey was well appreciated for his sheer conviction on screen. That is not it; he even starred in Phone Bhoot alongside Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khattar, and Siddhant Chaturvedi, which hit the screens on November 4.

In an exclusive interview with The Pioneer, the actor recalls working with two of the biggest superstars in India, his foray into tinsel town, and opens up about his intimate acting process.

The Bhootnath Returns actor shared screen space with Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan. That’s something, right? Let us hear from the man himself about what he learned from these two celebrities. “I spent most of my time on the sets with Saif Sir and very little with Hrithik Sir for the character that I was playing. Both actors have their own ways of working. For example, Saif Sir is someone who is very relaxed before a shot, and he has this ability to switch on and off depending on the scene. When it comes to Hrithik, sir, I noticed that he was always in character. That is his method, and it was refreshing to see both actors do their thing on the sets. As an artist, that is the kind of exposure that you look for,” he said.

Unlike most people, The Lootcase actor knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life until he happened upon a wonderful play one day, and his life hasn’t been the same since. “Growing up, I wanted to be a journalist. I did have some experience doing Ramleela in my childhood, as my father was into it. As far as I can remember, that was my exposure to the stage. Later, when I was in college, I got to know more about plays, and one day I watched a play called Othello. I couldn’t understand how people could perform so well.

While going home after watching the play, I realised that acting was my vocation. The fact that I could express myself through the art form lured me into acting. When I told my parents about it, in a warm tone, they asked me to finish my degree and go ahead. That’s how my acting career began,” Manuj recalled.

The Inside Edge actor zealously talked about how he ended up doing Vikram Vedha, his interaction with the makers, and what went into the preparation of Constable Dubey. He said, “I have always been a huge fan of Vikram Vedha, and one day I got a casting call saying that they were planning to make Vikram Vedha in Hindi. I was kind of perplexed because I knew the film had already been released in Tamil. That’s when I was told that the same creators were planning to shoot the film in Hindi. I was excited to give the audition, and it went really well. Then the directors wanted to speak to me.

What was supposed to be a ten-minute meeting turned out to be a one-and-a-half-hour conversation. Throughout the meeting, I was asking all these pertinent questions about the original film. We bonded really well, and the next day I got a call that I was selected for the role.”

He further added, “For the role of Deepak, I wanted to show the humanistic side of a police officer. We all have this misconception of cops in India, and I was wondering how I could possibly break that image. In the case of my character, he is someone who initially wanted to put an end to corruption, but slowly he realises that he’s a part of the system. So, I had to ask myself a lot of questions regarding the character’s background. I usually work a lot on the backstory of the character to get into the skin of the person. Also, I didn’t find it difficult to perform intense scenes, mainly because of the director and the co-actors.”

“I’d like to play characters that have a definitive arc. As an actor, you would obviously want to play as many different characters as possible. I never really thought of this one dream character, but if given the chance, I would like to play a character that is multidimensional. Talking about this, I love what Fahad Faasil sir is doing with the kinds of scripts he chooses. One day, I would love to be in that space,” he elaborated.  

Wrapping up the interview, the Phone Bhoot actor gave us some exclusive updates about his upcoming projects, “I have finished shooting for Maddock’s Pooja Meri Jaan and Raj&Dk’s Guns and Gulaabs. In all these films, each character is completely different from the other.”

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