Actor Amit Sadh is known for his strongly portrayed roles in films like Kai Po Che! (2013), Sultan (2016) and Sarkar 3 (2017) among others. All set for the release of his upcoming film, Gold, alongside Akshay Kumar, the 39-year-old actor speaks to Guardian 20 about his experience of working in the historical sports drama, and about his upcoming projects.
Q. Gold is your next big film. Could you begin by talking about your role in the film?
A. I can’t give too much away, but my character is a centre-forward and we all know what centre-forwards do. They score goals!
Q. How was your experience of collaborating with Akshay Kumar for the movie?
A. It was great. He’s a lovely person, very hard-working and dedicated to his craft. The biggest lesson I learned from him was how to work very hard. While Iam self-motivated, seeing Akshay Sir at the top of his game and closely observing the understanding he has of his craft, and the ease with which he executes it, is so inspiring.
Q.Was there any specific training you had to undergo to ace your role as the centre-forward in the film?
A. I trained with some international hockey players. I followed their training regimen as closely as possible. I did a lot of training drills, diet, cardio exercise and also studied the way they moved. I had never played hockey, so had to work longer and harder. I had to dedicate 4-5 hours to it every day.
Q. Reema Kagti, the director of Gold, is one of the finest women filmmakers in the country. What was it like being directed by her?
A. She’s one of the most amazing directors I’ve worked with. She has a great eye and knows exactly what she wants and knows how to get it. She’s an actor’s director. I am very grateful that she gave me this part and for how she has helped me. She never gave up and kept pushing me to get the right beat. I simple adore Reema. She is just lovely, on and off the set.
Q.Despite the big success ofKai Po Che!you had to struggle for some months to find work. How do you look back at that phase? Was it disappointing?
A. Months? It was more like years! Some offers did come in but I wanted the right part, not just any part. It was a testing time but I learned so much. I always had a vision of my goal, I stayed true to my craft and I knew things would work out in the end, and if they didn’t then it wasn’t the end.
Q. Sultanwas a sports drama, as is Gold. So how different do you think is it to make a sports drama as compared to other genres of cinema?
A. In Sultan, I didn’t do any sports as I was the agent. With Gold, which is a historical sports drama, I got to play sports and there was a yearning to win the medal. These things really get your heart going and it’s an exciting set to be on. I think when we watch sports we connect with the sports stars, which makes us extremely passionate in the stands or at home in front of the TV.
To me, acting is acting and the core of my process is the same. My goal is to live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of the script and to do both the movie and character justice. The only difference is, you practice and learn more in sports dramas if it’s about a particular sport. With a non-sport movie, again you just have to learn and research about the character, but this time it isn’t sports related. I guess on the plus side of a non-sports movie, there is less physical training and more eating cake on the sets.
Q. Since you started your acting journey from television, what are your thoughts on the content that we see these days on the small screen? And will we ever see you making a comeback there?
A. I don’t like to use the phrase small screen. To me, acting on TV and film is the same in terms of both my process and the fulfilment it gives me. It is just that there are different mediums for different stories. The level of acting is very high on TV now, and again traditionally, TV actors were deemed as the less talented of the bunch and there was a stigma attached to film actors that went on to do TV. Thankfully this doesn’t happen anymore. About my comeback on TV, no screen is small for me. Where ever I can engage with the audience with a good story to tell, I will be there.
Q. What led to your decision of pursuing acting professionally, especially because you started out quite early?
A. I have always wanted to impact people in a positive way. To be able to help, teach, motivate and inspire people. Acting was a great way to do it and I enjoyed the process.
Q. How were your initial days in Mumbai when you were looking out for acting projects?
A. It was tough and I had to face a lot of rejection, which is deemed as the norm in this industry. Casting directors, agents, directors are quick to judge for some reason or the other. Some say, “He hasn’t been to acting school”, or, “He went to the wrong acting school”. Some just don’t like the look of you, some just don’t want to speak to you. It’s the only industry where the talent [talented actor] goes to the person whose job it is to look for talent, you’re helping them with their job and yet they’re like, “No, we don’t even want to look at you.” It’s bizarre. I think the industry needs to take a look at people, help and nurture upcoming talent. The funny thing is when they see you do well, they want to meet you all of a sudden. I’m like, “Weren’t you the person who wouldn’t even look at me?!”
Q. What according to you are an actor’s biggest strengths?
A. The key ingredients to being a good actor are empathy, gratitude, and experience—usually, a tough life equates to great material to draw from. Also, working hard, going outside your comfort zone and believing in yourself. It is a tough industry but it helps to work hard, and never give up.
Q. Who would be your dream director and co-actor?
A. There is a huge list but definitely, I want to work with Zoya Akhtar and Neeraj Pandey. Anyone who has a great character, a challenging role, then I’m game. About the co-actor, I would love to work with Salman Khan again.
Q. What are the genres of films and roles that you would like to experiment with in the near future?
A. Just stories of some real people. Stories that inspire and challenge people and ideas. Stories that will help society progress.
Q. What are your other upcoming projects?
A. I’m working on a few things. There is a project that involves me and a couple of friends travelling across India on a bike. In a nutshell, it’s about three friends who travel to reignite their passion. They find themselves through travel, meeting people and experiencing life outside their comfort zone. And some more challenging roles.