Monday, 21 October 2013

Barun Sobti dons a dhoti kurta

Can a zamindar also be a youth heartthrob? It was a question worth asking as Barun Sobti dressed up in a regal blue dhoti kurta, designed by Pranay Baidya, exclusively for CT on Navami.

Barun, who took time out from the shooting schedule of Mitali Ghoshal's 22 Yards, looked at home at the Barisha Players' Corner pandal (this is Sourav Ganguly's para puja), where the crew had pitched their cameras. He spoke to us about his first Durga Puja in Kolkata — and chatting with Dada. Excerpts:

How's your first Durga Puja in Kolkata?
Achchha lag raha hai yaar. It's raining and the weather is nice. This is my first time and it's overwhelming. We went pandal-hopping yesterday to Ballygunge Cultural and other places.

What did Sourav tell you when he met you at his para puja?
This is the first time I met him. We first met during Ashtami's Sandhi Puja. Whenever he comes out, the activity level goes up and the dhakis start playing loudly, so we couldn't talk much. But he is a very nice person. He asked me a couple of times if this was the first time I was seeing Durga Puja and when I said yes, he seemed pretty proud of his own culture.

You are playing a cricket agent in 22 Yards. And now, your favourite cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has announced his retirement. Your feelings?
The time when we would switch off the TV after Tendulkar got out has gone... but it's his career and his choice. Obviously, he is a very wise man. I will miss watching him bat.

Tell us about this particular scene which you are shooting in the pandals.
We are shooting a Durga Puja sequence. It's like a homecoming of my character of Ron Sen, who is generally engrossed in work. It's a moment of soul searching for him as he comes back to his roots.

You have danced to Yaar bina chain kahan re for Main Aur Mr Riight. Tell us about the experience. Is it comparable to the original?
I don't know about comparisons. I was told it was supposed to be fun and cute, and it turned out to be fun. It was very hard work for me, because I was working days and nights.

How are you liking the dhoti? When did you wear one last?
I think I have worn one before, but not in recent memory. But I feel more like a Punjabi in it, than a Bengali!

Won't get Rs100 crore film right now: Barun Sobti

After winning over millions of hearts through his TV show Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon (IPKKND), Barun Sobti is now switching gears. With his debut film Main Aur Mr Riight (MAMR) ready to release, this unassuming actor talks about his strengths and weaknesses. He also throws light on the acceptance of TV actors in the film industry.

What challenges did you face while shooting for your debut film?
The only challenge was to keep awake as at that time I was simultaneously shooting for my show IPKKND and the film. The decision of working on both mediums at one point got bad. The transition from TV to films wasn’t overwhelming since an actor’s ultimate job is to act. I think people take acting way too seriously. In MAMR, I play a wannabe model who worships Salman Khan. It was funny as I look nothing like him and I had to imitate him.

The prerequisite for an actor is good looks, acting and dancing abilities. But you are a self-confessed bad dancer... 
The criterion of dancing was true in the 1990s. Today, dancing is not an important element in films being made in India or the ones I want to be a part of. Personally, I know I'm not a good dancer. I’m not keen on doing films that require me to dance much anyway.

What kind of films are you looking at? 
I know I won’t be offered Rs100 crore films right now or a song with 500 dancers. I’ve heard intriguing projects. People approach you for the work they have seen you do. I don’t think people see me as a lover boy dancing around, so I haven’t received a role of that kind. I'm going to do roles that appeal to me.

What’s your take on the surge of TV actors into films?
I think people are coming-of-age now. Maybe the differentiation between film and TV stars is fading away. While you can be trained and groomed to be a better actor, seasoning happens only to TV actors. TV actors shoot every day and that makes a difference to the project. They are hard-working but that’s not taking anything away from the film actors.

Do you see yourself doing TV again in the future?
Maybe. I left IPKKND as shooting a daily was consuming. Now I've been approached by producers for weeklies, so let’s see.

MAMR was ready to release for the longest time. The long wait must have been frustrating.
Filmmaking is a lengthy process. We were being ambitious to think we would be able to release early this year, but now we are coming soon. Post-production and other elements take time. These processes are not in our control.

Quick Five

A question you have been asked numerous times?
People still ask me about IPKKND a lot. I owe a lot to the show, so I don't have any problems talking about it.

Any unbelievable scene that you have done?
I had to cry in a scene in IPKKND which I thought would be tough but it turned out well.

A show you like on TV currently?
Big Boss is doing great. People go mad when it's on air.

An actor you feel is popular?
Karan Singh Grover is very good and popular too.

A habit that you want to give up?
I am pretty happy with myself. I am not saying I am flawless but I am content with the way I am.