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Friday, September 22, 2023

Siddhant Chaturvedi: “Trip To The Cinema Is Like An Event In India”

Siddhant Chaturvedi, the breakout star from Oscar-shortlisted Gully Boy, is set to feature in his second Hindi feature.

Cast in Yash Raj Films’ Bunty Aur Babli 2 alongside fresh face Sharvari, Chaturvedi also works with Bollywood legends Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan.

In an exclusive interview with Filme Shilmy, Chaturvedi talks about crafting the skills to play a con artist, decoding his ‘cool’ image and bringing audiences back to cinemas.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview. 

The film sees you as the infamous con multiple avatars. It requires a certain sense of smoothness and shrewdness. In what way did you adapt those traits as an actor?

I have a theatre background and I’ve seen 25 years of my life among the common people. I’ve seen so many characters – this was what I was doing in my life before I made it into the films.

I am just picking things from the people around me, the way they stand and talk. That’s what helps me in crafting these different characters I’m playing because it needs to be real.

You’ll not see for a second that I’m trying to enact somebody. It should be convincing as a con artist. The person I’m conning should be able to buy into that and if they do, then that’s when the fun starts.

The prosthetics helped a lot. I don’t think we had prosthetics back but we have a lot of looks in this film and we used to get ready hours before we started rolling. The prosthetics really helped us to transform into the characters.

There must’ve been an onus on you to not emulate the original Bunty Aur Babli

It was also the demand of the script. We did not have any reference points because we were pitted against the originals. I think what Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji did was quite iconic and that can’t be touched.

The only way we could be noticed on-screen is if he brought something new and fresh. We (him and co-star Sharvari) are young and speak about the problems we’re faced with these days.

The original film was released a long time ago. So much has changed since then.

Since MC Sher, Siddhant Chaturvedi has become synonymous with swag and this ‘cool’ image of you has been developed. Was this something you always aspired to have?

No, not at all. I’m actually quite boring. I’m quite artsy and a very quiet person. I like to just be in my room and paint, read books and play games.

It was just the character MC Sher who got the swag because until then, I didn’t even realise I had some kind of swag in me. I was always going for the romantic guy, being a huge fan of Shah Rukh Khan sir.

I either wanted to be the romantic guy or be this intense angry young man like Mr Amitabh Bachchan. There was no reference point.

The closest ‘cool’ we have is Saif Ali Khan sir and he’s much cooler than me. That’s why this film is even more fun because we really vibe well together. I never aimed to be cool.

Even though the digital boom is taking over India and globally and independent artists are paving their way, how important is it for fresh talent like yourself to have the backing of commercial production houses like Yash Raj Films? 

It was always a dream to be a YRF, Dharma or Excel hero because these are the biggest three production houses we have.

I was just living it and nobody really knew that there was going to be a pandemic. These are the production houses that really believe in celluloid. I’m lucky enough to be a part of all three houses.”

So when Bunty Aur Babli 2 happened, I wasn’t minded how the film would release because I got discovered from the OTT platforms through Inside Edge.

I always knew that Aditya Chopra sir would release the film in the cinema. It’s very important to get people back to the theatres and remind them how it was like.

Listen to our podcast with Siddhant Chaturvedi here:

Directed by Varun V Sharma, Bunty Aur Babli 2 hits the cinemas from 19th November.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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