Biggest challenge for us was to adapt to local dialect of the region in 'Human': Sushil Pandey
Actor Sushil Pandey gradually rose to fame and recognition through persistent hard work and inherent talent. He talks about how he always prefers stories over characters which helps him in his craft
Would you please tell us about you early life? What made you interested in acting? Your early days of struggle?
When I was 5 or 6 years old, I used to take part in Ramleela in my home town in Gaya. My father and elder brother used to read Mayapuri magazine, in which I used to see photos of all these actors, but I didn’t have any knowledge or exposure about this field. But this used to really attract me. When I went to college, along with my friends we started a theatre group in college itself, which is still there. When I was in high school, I lost my father, and since I belonged to a middle-class family, finishing my studies and getting a job was my priority at that time. After completing my hotel management studies, I got a job at Taj, Goa. Alongside the job, I enrolled myself in a local theatre. After working there for about a year or two I resigned and went Delhi to pursue theatre. After a while, I left for Mumbai and in the initial days in the city, I did many things from working in hotels, which I got through my contacts, to small roles in different TV shows. With those I managed my finances. Around 2007, I was cast in a show called, ‘Jab Love Hua’. Later in 2010, I did ‘Phas Gaye Re Obama’, and after the release of Jolly LLB people started recognising me.
Which person or incident had a great impact on you?
I have always been fascinated by the life of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Even now whenever I have time, I try to read or listen to his books, his life stories, etc. I can’t pinpoint what exactly, but his life has had an impact on the way I lead mine. Another person is my teacher from Gaya College. He also had led an amazing life. He was an IFS officer, but because of homesickness he resigned from his job and started teaching in Gaya. I learned a lot from him as well, about many different topics.
What do you enjoy most, acting in theatre or on a film set?
I believe, whether it be acting for theatre or camera, in both cases the you have to act, so fundamentally there is no difference. However, while acting for theatre you are involved in other parts of production as well, such as set design, costume design or lighting, which is in contrast to acting for camera, because there are specialised teams for each area and you just have to act. I enjoy both theatre and film sets.
What would be the best character which you have played till date.
As an actor, I am rarely satisfied with my work. Although, I personally prefer stories over character, if the story is exciting for me, I would like to play any kind of character in it. To be specific, one of the characters which I played in ‘Jolly LLB’, has a dear place in my heart. I was able to relate to it. And another is my character in ‘Article 15’. That was another character which many people will be able to relate to.
Which character would you have liked to play in Human apart from Mangu's Father?
I don’t think in that direction. I try to play my part in a way, that it accentuates itself. For instance, in Human, the journey is about Mangu, and his struggles to help out his family, so my role was to support his character and do my best for the sake of the story. I just try to enjoy my part and fulfill it with utmost honesty.
How was your experience while filming Human.
The biggest challenge for us was to adapt to the local dialect of the region, as the story is based in Bhopal. For around 15 days before the start of the shoot, we practised our lines along with a local person who helped us with our accent. Apart from this, the team was really supportive and talented, so it was fun to work.
Would you please tell us about your upcoming projects.
There are three projects, ‘Maharani 2’, ‘Anek’ and ‘Bheed’. Maharani 2 is currently under production stage. The shoot for ‘Bheed’ was wrapped around December 28, and Anek is also set to release at the end of March if everything goes well.
What is the one piece of advice which you would like to convey to our young audience.
I just want to say one thing, whatever you want to do in your life, make sure you’re educating yourself about that field. Because it is really important for anyone to study about their respective fields as it gives you confidence in your work.