SSR’s Passionate Journey from a Background Dancer to a Bankable Star
Few years ago, this Delhi boy was dancing in the shadows of celebrities. Acting guru Barry John had not minced words before informing him that he was an average actor and renowned dance master Shiamak Davar blatantly told him that he wasn’t the finest dancer in his troupe.
However, today Sushant Singh Rajput has made a mark for himself not just as a brilliant actor but also as an exceptionally good dancer. He is arguably Bollywood’s new poster boy with celebrated directors like Shekhar Kapur making statements like — “He is the most inspiring young actor to emerge out of India.” What’s more, in a short span of three years, he is tagged as the next Shah Rukh Khan and has a bevy of filmmakers wanting to work with him. Beat that!!!
The PK actor is a classic example of the theory that everything is possible if you have the will and zeal for it. SSR’s strongly believes that— “If your job is your passion, and you have an unshakable belief in your skills, then hard work and luck will take care of everything. It’s the belief that makes everything possible.”
Not many know but the actor who will be seen essaying cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni in M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, was all set to be a mechanical engineer but he left his engineering studies midway after he realized that his heart lay in performing arts. He soon enrolled himself in Shiamak Davar’s dancing classes and simultaneously joined Barry John’s theatre classes.
“I had this inability to express. I am not a people’s person and can’t connect with people. I didn’t know how to have a good interesting conversation with anybody and this stayed with me for first 18-19 years of my life. There was a point when I started feeling suffocated for not being able to express myself. Only when I started dancing and doing theatre, that I realized that — ‘ok I have this ability to communicate an emotion, a very personal emotion to a stranger by hiding behind all these characters and people.’ It was then that I decided that I will do this for the rest of my life because the feeling is so magical, it is so liberating,” reveals the workaholic actor, who is currently shooting for his next film Raabta.
Having finally found his calling, Sushant moved to Mumbai in 2007 to give wings to his dreams and turn his passion into a paycheck. He continued working as a background dancer in Shiamak’s troupe; in fact, SSR has danced behind stars like Shah Rukh, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and many other celebrities with whom he hobnobs today.
He narrates one particular incident, “When I was in Shiamak, I had come to perform at an awards function at Yash Raj Films’ studios. At that time, I was told to go from the back entrance as the other entrance was reserved for the stars and other guests. That day, while walking through that path, at that moment, I told myself that I would come to YRF as an actor.” Today, Sushant has already done two films with YRF – Shuddh Desi Romance and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
Coming back to his journey, while Sushant was still a background dancer, he joined Nadira Babbar’s Ekjute theatre company. During one of the performances at Prithvi theatre, he was spotted by the casting team of Balaji Telefilms. Thus began his journey as a television actor. His teleserial ‘Pavirta Rishta’ became a household name and his character Manav became an instant hit.
Around 2011, Sushant started to feel stagnated with TV and was about to head for a filmmaking course at Stanford University. Being extremely zealous about cinema, Sushant wanted to do something more in this creative field, something that had his signature style. At that time, he happened to meet casting director Mukesh Chhabra, one afternoon at a tea stall in Mumbai’s upmarket Lokhandwala. Mukesh asked him to audition for a UTV film directed by Abhishek Kapoor. Sushant readily accepted and bagged Kai Po Che, the rest, as they say, is history.
“You feel that you need to work hard and sacrifice a lot to be successful, but the trick is to choose something you are passionate about. Passion works in every aspect of your life- be it fitness, profession or a relationship. Passion beats everything- including inherent talent, it gets you to work hard and keeps you motivated all the time. Right at the outset, you have to be absolutely certain that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life,” Sushant reveals his secret and we could not agree more.
Passion, my friend, certainly is the key to your success.
Images credit: bigdays, pardaphash, bollywoodlife
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