‘Aamir Khan has been my guiding force and my guru’

‘Aamir Khan has been my guiding force and my guru’

By Bulbul Sharma | | 19 August, 2017
Aamir Khan, Taare Zameen Par, Darsheel Safary, Quickie, Pradip Atluri, Deepa Mehta, Bollywood
Darsheel Safary.
Actor Darsheel Safary played the role of the child in the 2007 super-hit Taare Zameen Par. He speaks to Bulbul Sharma about his decade-long career in the industry and his upcoming ventures.

Q. You are all set to make your comeback with Quickie. How excited are you?

A. It is always about waiting for the right opportunity and Quickie just seemed perfect. The movie is a lot of fun and it is my first try at something that is so modern. Today’s youth is going to connect to it. I am very happy and I am feeling very lucky to have got an opportunity to represent and be a part of such a project. And I can’t wait to get the audiences
to watch it.

Q. Could you talk about your role in the movie?

A. There is a lot to say, but I will actually refrain. I am so excited to tell the audiences everything but I can’t reveal a lot. All I can tell you is that it is a teenage film. I am really happy to be playing my age and here we have a story about a relationship, the teenage issues as we see right now—people are in a relationship, they are going out for parties, they are trying to build their career and a lot of confusion that takes place in their lives. And all of it is really beautifully shown in the script. I can tell you this for sure that it is made by people who are a bit older but they have successfully been able to portray the teenage life. We also had a lot of teenagers around the set, including my friends.

So in the film I play this person called Amay and the character likes web designing. His life is a rollercoaster because of the introduction of certain characters. Then with the entry of one character my life goes haywire. And it’s a comedy. It’s a lot of fun.

Q. So how did the script reach you?

A. The film has been directed by Pradip Atluri. The day he called me he told me, “I wrote a script keeping you in mind.” So I was like, “Okay, let us take a look at the script.” Then he narrated the story and connected with the script a lot because it is about a person who likes to stay out of the scene, who likes to stay in his own zone. And I am more of that kind of a person. Just sitting in the corner and having my own fun. So that is how it is and that is how it came across. That’s how I connected to it and that’s how he wanted me to interpret it as well.

Q.  Quickie, as you tell us, is a love story and deals with teenage issues. Taare Zameen Par on the other hand was a serious film and gave out a strong social message. So, how has your journey been in terms of this transition?

A. After Taare Zameen Par, I did a couple of films. There was one film called Bum Bum Bhole, which was about a brother-sister relationship. Then there was this Walt Disney superhero film called Zokkomon and it had the first child superhero of India. That was also exciting and it was my first film that had me doing action. And then I had a very cool film, Midnight’s Children, a movie adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s, edited and directed by Deepa Mehta. So I have done a lot of genres and this is also a new genre that I am playing in Quickie. It is all about experimenting. As my dad keeps saying, age is on my side, so I can do whatever I want. I have been doing theatre as well. So it has been very busy all this while and I like to see myself busy. The experience from there to here has been that the hard work has to pay off. I am trying to give my hundred percent. I keep saying that the better the thing, the more hard work you should give and that is what I am trying to do. That’s how the experience has been so far. Now let us see what the future has in store for us.

Q. It is easy to be typecast in the industry, especially when you have been a part of the project that has been a huge hit. Breaking the shackles of Ishaan Awasthi [the name of Safary’s character in Taare Zameen Par] will be a huge task. How prepared are you for it?

A. That role has given me so much love. I was nine when I played that role and everyone has been like, “He is Ishaan!” It is great that 10 years down the line everyone still remembers me with this name. But now it is all about moving forward. I would like to show my other skills and side as well now. And that is what I am trying to do. You watch Quickie and you will come to know. It is absolutely hatke and it is a slice-of-life kind of film. I die laughing whenever I read the script.

Q. You were quite young when you had first tasted success. How did you deal with that sort of exposure at that age?

A. I used to get really scared because there always used to be a crowd of people running around me who wanted to take a picture, my autograph. And I used to be very confused about what it is all about. But I used to take it in a way that was all about having fun. So I really enjoyed that phase.

My parents, my friends and my teachers in school never made me feel like a celebrity, they kept me grounded. So that way it has really helped me to be a part of the group rather than being an
outsider.  

Q. From a child artiste to a grown-up protagonist as we will see you in Quickie, any major differences you feel when you are shooting?

A. We are going to workshops. I am now very excited since I can’t wait for the shoot to start. It was ten years back, when I did my first role. And now I am trying to go and do it better. I have learnt a lot in these years.

Q. Your take on how child artistes are sometimes mistreated in the industry? How were you treated as a child actor? And did work interfere in your education?

A. I was treated damn nicely. I don’t know why. But I am acquainted with the issue. What I would like to say is that now it is about the talent. Regarding the excess of work and the lack of priority which is given to education, I would like to tell you that today’s generation has become smart enough. They all know what they are doing and I am not kidding. I have a younger brother and sister and they are far smarter than what in was in that age. So it is cool now and people know what is happening now. Everyone is aware.

Q. Nepotism seems to be a contentious point of discussion in Bollywood these days. Since you also come from a non-film background, what are your thoughts on it? Do you think star kids are more privileged than others?

A. What I believe is everybody deserves a chance. At the end of the day every great actor, be it in Hollywood or Bollywood, was given a chance and they made the most of it. So everybody deserves an opportunity to show what they are capable of. Then of course it is up to them. And it’s the audiences’ job to judge if they are good enough and if they want to see more of them. So that’s what I believe and that is my philosophy.

Q. You clearly shared an endearing relationship with Aamir Khan during the shoot of Taare Zameen Par. Has your relationship changed with the actor in these many years?

A. We are in touch. He wishes me on my birthday and we talk about other things that I do. He has been my guiding force, he has been my guru.

Q. Television, theatre and the big screen, you have done it all. If there is any particular medium you most enjoy performing in?

A. I like all the mediums. But I am going to continue doing theatre. It is an experience I can’t get anywhere else.

Q. Do you find any major differences between working in theatre as opposed to when you are shooting for a

feature film?

A. Not really. It is about choosing the correct role. It depends on which character I like. In case I like some character both in films and theatre, I will do both. If I would like one, I would perform in just one medium.

Q.  Kids’ fashion is a booming trend these days, with even big labels launching their collection for children. You also associated recently with India Kids Fashion Week. What are your thoughts on the subject?

A. I am a ’90s kid. So whatever your parents would tell you, you would wear that. However funny it might be. Now it is not that. Now it is more of them deciding about what they want to wear. So it is a cool thing. Kids are self-aware and know what they want to wear. I feel that even if I didn’t get the opportunity I am learning it from my siblings. It is the atmosphere which is changing and I am sure that it is changing for the better.

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