Monday, June 29, 2015

Amit Sadh

“I’m very fearless, and I’m not saying it arrogantly”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(From the June 27, 2015 issue of Super Cinema) 

Enter Amit Sadh’s house, and his dogs greet you first. Not a good thing for people scared of dogs though. Later of course, Sadh graciously welcomes you with a warm smile. He’s recently shifted to a new apartment in Khar, so is still in the process of settling in. Donning a white t-shirt and blue jeans, he’s in his usual exuberant mode, jumping around the house, getting all animated when you ask him something. On the other hand his infectious positivity and a deeply philosophical side is not something you can miss either. Clearly, a conversation with him has to be about films and acting, but you can always expect more, because well, it’s Amit Sadh! Read on…

Does your character in ‘Guddu Rangeela’ have this crazy streak which is closer to the real you?
In fact I’m more crazy in the film. I’ve tried making it more like me, so Guddu is a more internal character than external. But the credit goes to Subhash Kapoor, because he knew how to control my energy. I get too energetic and this character could have been fake and loud but sir toned it down. That helped a lot, and infact I took a lot from Subhash sir. I didn’t know anything about that world, but there’s a very good saying that ‘bad actors copy, good actors steal’. I am a big thief. In ‘Yaara’ I took a lot from Tigmanshu sir. I would purposely give a wrong take, he would scold me and then I’d ask him to show how to do it. Being an actor doesn’t mean I know everything. It means I don’t know anything but I can still do everything. I have to make you believe I can.

Be it displaying Omi’s evolution in ‘Kai Po Che’, or looking older than what you are for ‘Yaara’, you’ve never been bothered about always looking good on-screen as long as you’re in the skin of your character….
This thought has never prevailed or entered in my consciousness, to look good and not look good. It’s always a fragmentation of people’s minds. To become somebody else, you always have to let go off who you are. Somehow I like that process so far in each character I’ve played. I celebrate imperfection. It’s the imperfection that makes people unique. For me that is magical and I try bringing that to my characters. I try making my characters so whole, so real, that there’s never an evaluation if he’s good or bad, because you stop looking at me, you start feeling me and my character and that’s what matters.

Is that why you don’t like looking into the mirror while shooting?
Yes, as a rule, I don’t allow a mirror on my set. For me, acting is more organic, and about being in the moment, so I try to stay away from myself. I think as actors we tend to be full of ourselves, which we need not be. When you have the understanding of being gentle, when you have the compassion for people and an interest in their lives, only then you’ll have a memory or record of what people are. When you’re full of yourself, you won’t see anything else. I like meeting people, knowing about their life, their pain, exchanging energies with them, so I can know more and have a big ocean of memories which I can utilise in movies.
It’s been two years since ‘Kai Po Che’ released...while many would think, a big gap after a film like that would work against you, you’ve been pretty careful with choosing projects...
That’s because I need challenge, I need something to make me feel uncomfortable. When you’re comfortable, it gets easy and there’s no magic. It’s not that I want to do less movies. I just wanted to wait for characters that challenge me. But now I have five movies releasing in the next twelve months, I was away because I was shooting for these films. Many people told me after ‘Kai Po Che’ that ‘you’ve acted very well, but there’s no perception about you.’ I thought a lot about what that meant and realised that it’s good. I read in a book that actors shouldn’t have a perception. When people perceive something about you, you’re limiting yourself. If I don’t limit myself, I can do anything. Now that I’ve understood it, I will try and make sure that people have no perception of me. The moment they form an image, I’ll break that with every film.

You’re quite fearless, aren’t you?
I’m very fearless, and I’m not saying it arrogantly. In fact, I’d say that more humbly. I’m very child-like, and children are fearless I think. Someone told me a while ago, that ‘Amit you’re too excited in life, you should tone it down.” I called that person the next day and told them, never tell me to curb my excitement or exuberance, because I can’t work with someone who tells me that. There’s just one thing in my life – exuberance or excitement, and if you take that away from me, or any person, he won’t be happy. I have too much excitement for everything and I can’t change that. I’m not going to act like an actor, I’m going to be an actor who’ll do his job and go. I’m a simple guy. I’m not this cool guy. I’m messed up, my life has been messed up, but I’ve had the guts to wake up and smile every day, to thrive for the best. I’m not going to pretend I’m something in life, I’m not going to pretend that girls go crazy for me, because that’s not my aim in life. My motive in life is to be happy.
Would it be right to say that you’re a misfit here in a way and still proud of that?
I did try fitting in, not just in films, but for various things in life. All my examples go back to life. There were phases when I had doubts about fitting in but then I realised that eventually, there’s no norm, there’s no right or wrong. I’d rather be me. In that, if I fail, that’s my fault, so I became ignorant and thick-skinned. Over time, I have evolved a lot through books, travelling, people, climbing, trekking. I realised that we live once so I am going to be who I am. It’s my energy that matters, so I’m going to cultivate that. I read this amazing book called ‘Being You, Changing The World’, by Dr. Dain Heer. I met him last year and he was a great influence. So, a lot of things happen in life, people evolve. That’s the same thing about movies. I’m just keeping it pure. I just become a character, so in that sense, I’m fitting in the most right? Acting is a make-believe medium, and actors that I emulate, they comprehend and help me find an articulation for what I want. When you see it from an outer circumference, it may seem like I maybe a misfit, but otherwise if you see it deep down, it’s simple.
You mean, you’ve always been yourself…
Yes, and I’ve not tried explaining myself to anyone. People who’ve seen my evolution, craziness, eccentricity, will understand me. But otherwise, I don’t want people to understand me, that’s not my need anyway. I want them to find me through my movies. In that process, they might see my ideology, which also may seem like a contradiction. What I’m thinking today, will be totally opposite to what I think tomorrow, and I like that about life, about cinema, acting. There’s a lot of contradiction, which again people oppose, I embrace. That’s the truth of life. I embrace everything that holds truth. 
So, cinema has had a great influence on the person that you are? Or rather, has it made you a better person?
I was always a great person, who’s done a million mistakes in his life and will continue doing so. There should be no judgment about who is a good person and who's not. It's all about comfort and convenience. We call the other person not a good person when he doesn’t believe in your ideology or principle. But yes, for me, cinema is a psychiatrist, who I don’t pay. I don’t go to her, she comes to me, she heals me, rectifies me, enlightens me. It also makes me a little less judgemental about people, but that comes from compassion and gentleness. We all have our life, our problems, our insecurities, so when you're gentle to someone, you're healing them. And when you heal someone, you're healed.

You've travelled some rough edges, are you healed now? And when you look back today, do you think you're successful?
When I think about the life I have come from, I think I'm a superstar. I'm not a film-star yet, and that I can’t be, people will make me, that's not in my hand. But superstar I already am. At sixteen, I used to clean someone’s house, I am uneducated, I have no degree. I was a security guard at Benetton Delhi, the South Extension one. At 17, I was a helper at Jordash, which now it’s Indigo Blue. I’ve stayed in a chawl, at Munirka village and today I am here. That’s why I’m a star. Not because I’m doing films today, but I’m proud of the way I did it. I’m proud I woke up every morning and worked. A lot of people have their hand in this, but I’m a star in my head. And for me, every person who crawls and stands strong, is a star. If you have a story, I will call you a star, live to tell a story. Get inspired and inspire. That’s my philosophy. This is what makes me secure. A secure person is someone who is ready to receive and give anything. I’m already saying that without people, I’m nothing. Everyone in the frame I’m sharing with, or people saying good and bad about me are the people who make me relevant. So, yes, I’m healed, I have no grudge, I can only be grateful.
But while you are grateful for where you are, is there still a lot of greed for good work? Or is greed a wrong word I’m using here?
I’d say I have this pure, undying greed. I’m absolutely fine with it. Having greed for anything is not bad. There’s a lot of greed for different things but I have simplified life. Right now, there’s greed for work. Maybe after three years, there may be some other greed as well. I want to also climb Mount Everest. I crave for appreciation, just like kids do. Probably because I never got that in my childhood, people called me a loser. Which is why, right now, I’m close to people who pamper me. Thankfully, I’ve also worked with people like Subhash sir or Gattu (Abhishek Kapoor) or Tishu sir (Tigmanshu Dhulia) who treat me like that.
You’re now a lot more confident than you were before ‘Kai Po Che’. What else has changed? Are you just as sensitive?
I’m more confident. You have a lot of fears, you’re scared, but when you start getting fixed, you become this fearless child. I’ve learned this great philosophy in life that when in doubt, love more. What has changed is, now I have an emotional balance. I’m very sensitive and emotional still; ten years back I was mocked about it and now I’m earning a living out of it. I’m not ashamed of being a sensitive man, but now, there’s an emotional balance. I have a little bit of more maturity but I’m still crazy, young and stupid and I’m okay to being that (smiles).

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