Siddhant Chaturvedi is a name that has won the hearts of many across the globe.
His breakthrough performance as rapper MC Sher in Gully Boy is outstanding and has proved that persistence is key when it comes to fulfilling a passion.
Reportedly, he was studying to become a charted accountant like his father but left it midway to pursue a career in acting.
But his aspirations of becoming an actor came at a price. For six years, he continuously faced rejections and low-phases.
For pocket money, he undertook a role in the Amazon Prime Original series Inside Edge and did a few advertisements here and there.
However, his destiny took a turn when he danced with Zoya Akhtar at a party after which he was invited to audition for the film.
The 26-year-old actor’s success story is no less than a fairy tale. Thus, there is an inspiring/uplifting journey behind the triumph.
In a special interview with Filme Shilmy, we get to know the man behind the popular ‘MC Sher’.
Congratulations on the success of Gully Boy. You must be thrilled to receive such an incredible reception?
First of all, thank you so much!
Yes, I’m very thrilled and overwhelmed as it’s my first film.
After auditioning, when Zoya gave me the script to read, I was in awe of the character.
At that time I knew the film was going to be great because of the director and team. I was certain that the movie will be remembered.
I had not expected something like this to happen but it’s a great space to be in.
How has life changed for you after the film’s release?
Life is great now. Of course, people now recognise and acknowledge me, it feels incredible.
But other than that, I feel there are lots of choices and I am looking forward to entertaining and never stop taking up challenges.
How much did you know about the rap-culture in India before the film’s release? What have you learnt after doing Gully Boy?
Before the film, I didn’t have much idea about the rap space in India. But I’ve realised it’s a sub-culture here. So I did not know a lot about it.
When I met (director) Zoya Akhtar and auditioned for the film, I went on YouTube to see lots of videos around it and I discovered this completely different world.
We were co-existing all this time and I thought that was interesting.
Musically, the vibe was very different because I’m actually a fan of Hindustani classical.
I was much more into the Hindi/Bollywood songs, I was never really fond of rap music.
But then I acquired a taste for it and started writing raps. That was my process to prepare for the role.
It’s been quite challenging but fun to do something which you never imagined to do.
Ranveer and you seemed to share a great camaraderie off-screen. How did that help in portraying Murad and Sher’s friendship?
In real life, it was a complete role reversal.
Actually, he was my MC Sher and I was Murad because he was the experienced one.
I used to ask him, “Baba, am I doing this right?” and he would always say, “Yeah, you’re doing great.”
However, when it came in front of the camera, our roles swapped as soon as Zoya said “action.”
It is so important for a co-actor to be supportive.
We had that trust in each other and he is an amazing actor.
I think I’m fortunate enough to have a co-actor like Ranveer in my first film. We shared a great bromance.
Given that this was your Bollywood debut, did you ever feel afraid or apprehensive in playing a supporting character, rather than the main lead?
Not really. The thing is I don’t really belong to a filmy background and in India, it’s very difficult to breakthrough if you’re not from the industry.
For me, I did not have much choice, initially. So I just kept auditioning, hoping for an opportunity to come my way.
In my head, one thing was very clear: if I did something, it had to be good and must stand out, even it’s not the main lead.
Initially, I aimed to be a Bollywood, but nothing ever goes as planned.
The mechanism of the industry is different and I was a boy with starry-eyes and big dreams.
But then when I saw how things worked, I realised that I have to slowly make my way up.
Apparently, you gave auditions since 19 years of age – but you were replaced in many roles. Was there ever a moment where you felt like giving up? How did you overcome those setbacks?
I think it was my family that kept me driven and motivated. My family is very supportive.
There were many times where I felt like giving up because I was waiting for something ‘big’ to happen.
Although there were roles and films which I bagged, I had a feeling that those projects would not really go anywhere.
If I did those films, it would’ve only been for the sake of it rather than doing it for the passion.
My plan was always to wait for the right opportunity and my family always second me on this.
At each step, my dad was always there for me. He always gave me the reality check and yet uplifted me.
Subsequently, I acquired all the skills (as a performer) required… Be it dancing or martial arts.
Looking back, what would you say to your younger self?
Oh, I wouldn’t really say anything to him. Nothing at all.
I would not want to disturb the space-time continuum.
Everything has turned out to be perfect, may it be the timing or the intensity of it.
I would not want to change anything.
Going forward, who in particular are you excited in working with and why?
Mr Amitabh Bachchan, he is the greatest!
Then, Christopher Nolan. I know it’s a long shot, but then so was my Bollywood dream.
I hope it happens one day.
If you are to play MC Sher again, what would be your approach to playing the character this time?
Well, it totally depends on the story and the angle Zoya would take because the character is so layered.
There are so many things that could be done around it, for example, we could see his journey from the start… Perhaps showcasing how a ‘gangster’ turns into a rapper.
It would be interesting to see his transition from being an outlaw to a responsible person, motivated to make something out of his life.
Plus, it could even showcase his downfall after Gully Boy.
Perhaps exhibiting how MC Sher deals with the failure and perhaps resorts to drinking, almost becoming like his father.
But at that time, Murad steps in and motivates him to bounce back… That could also be a great angle!
For years, Siddhant kept thinking ‘Apna Time Aayega’ and that eventually happened this year.
His story is a testament to all budding actors that dreams can come true, if only you’re driven and motivated to pursue them.
Filme Shilmy wishes Siddhant all the very best for all current and forthcoming projects!