Wednesday, February 11, 2015


“I’m most comfortable in front of the camera. That’s the only place where I can be myself”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the February 7, 2015 issue of Super Cinema)

He is a man of few words, and I’m not even exaggerating that. He’s reclusive, doesn’t beat around the bush, comes straight to the point, and sometimes might even give you mono-syllabic answers. But then he goes and delivers these power-packed performances on-screen. That’s Dhanush for you. Excerpts from my brief chat with the actor:

From ‘Raanjhanaa’ to ‘Shamitabh’, how was the transition for you?
Fortunately, I had a good gap between both the films so that helped me a lot to get Kundan out of my head. For ‘Shamitabh’ I didn’t really have to prepare, the director did all the hard work, and knew what the character was about. I just had to go on the set, as empty as possible to adapt to the role.

Sonam (Kapoor) was telling me she felt empty after ‘Raanjhanaa’. Was it an equally emotional experience for you?
Yes, even for me it was emotionally draining. Those emotions can be a bit too much to handle for anyone. Sonam really broke down in the climax scene on the sets because she was so involved into the film, and it took us time to stop her from crying. Even for me, it wasn’t an easy character to play. The character carried a lot of guilt and that’s very difficult to handle and portray.

What did you perceive of ‘Shamitabh’ when you read the script, considering this film also has so many emotions packed into one?
R. Balki has his own style of getting what he wants from his actors. He works on it and makes sure you understand the script properly. He also explains you the back-story of the characters, and what would happen after, so that’s the kind of clarity he has. That really helped me understand the script better, and I perceived it the way he wanted me to. In fact, I believe, there was only one way to understand the script and I hope I did understand it the right way and lived up to Balki’s expectations from me.

Do you have a different approach towards every role and do you also believe acting is a lot about feeding off from your co-actors?
I think it’s too soon for me to analyse myself. I don’t know what kind of an actor I am. In fact, I’ve noticed, I don’t know anything. The only thing I know is that I can follow my director, trust him blindly and do what he wants. But yes, acting is reacting. When your co-star is good and you can feed off from them, it is an amazing bonus. If that happens, it’s beautiful.

Don’t know anything? Aren’t you just being too modest when you’ve already received so much appreciation for your acting prowess?
That is the truth. I’m really too young and inexperienced to say what acting is all about. I just go and try and be someone I’m not. I know I can only follow my director, just trust him blindly and do what he wants. I’m very thankful for so much unconditional love and warm reception, but the credit really goes to the scripts and the makers of those films. . I’m not doing anything extra, I just do whatever is expected out of me. I think it’s just God’s grace and a lot of credit goes to the makers. I have a very little role to play in a film’s success. I just want to try and be known as a decent actor, who can play anything, with the same amount of intensity. I try my level best just to be the character when I’m working.

What do you generally look for, in a script?
What I see is, how much I’m able to relate to the script, how much it suits me, whether it plays by my strengths and how gripping is the screenplay.

And do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
An actor should constantly analyse his or her strengths and weaknesses. But what I’ve analysed is just for me to know (smiles).

You pen lyrics as well so what do you enjoy more? Writing or acting?
I write because I enjoy it. I love writing a lot, but I think I love acting equally!

While you seem so reserved off-screen, on-screen you’re so uninhibited…
That’s because I’m most comfortable in front of the camera. That’s the only place where I can be myself, that’s the only place I’m happy. That’s where I belong. 

So, you’re not someone who plans life too much? For instance, even acting just happened to you…
God has been planning everything for me. I don’t think anything is in your control. Everything is in God’s hands. My plate is full at the moment and I’m focusing only on acting. 

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