(Calcutta Tube) Bollywood directors, he is all yours. Rajat Barmecha, the young Delhi actor who debuted with the rather serious film ‘Udaan’ and won unbridled praise for it, says he is completely available for nice-clothes and nice-locations movies.
‘I was offered two movies, both non-commercial. But I didn’t want to take them up. I want to do commercial Bollywood movies at nice locations and with nice clothes, but I know I have just started my career. There is still a long way to go, so I don’t want to be choosy about my projects,’ Rajat told IANS in an interview here.
‘I don’t have any specific director with whom I want to work with. I just want to do good roles and I won’t mind working with new directors,’ he added.
Directed by Vikramaditya Motwani, ‘Udaan’ narrates the story of a teenager, Rohan (Rajat), who returns home after being abandoned for eight years in a boarding school. Life back home in Jamshedpur is not easy as he is stuck with an authoritarian father and a younger half-brother, who he didn’t even know existed.
The 21-year-old, who shifted base to Mumbai three years ago to do a course in jewellery designing, was as clueless about his career as most youngsters his age are.
‘I didn’t know what I wanted to be in life. I came to Mumbai for a jewellery designing course, which I gave up in just 15 days. Then I started modelling and one fine day I got a call for the auditions of ‘Udaan’,’ said Rajat.
‘Vikramaditya hated my auditions. He said it was very bad. But when he met me personally, he saw the real Rajat and that is when he told me he wanted a natural actor and not a forced one.’
So did he take any acting classes?
‘No, but Vikramaditya arranged a seven-day workshop to make me more comfortable with my character Rohan. Also, he gave me a lot of DVDs and books to read. Movies I watched, but books I never touched. I don’t like reading at all,’ quipped Rajat.
The real test for Rajat was to shoot in Jamshedpur without his mobile phone and TV.
‘We landed in that city on July 5 last year and till July 19, I was deprived of a mobile phone – I call it my lifeline. I used to get it only for half an hour to speak to my family. In fact, I was living in complete isolation. It was a very tough time for me because I had never lived under such restrictions,’ recollected Rajat.
‘But the loneliness and isolation helped me a lot in getting close to the character. While shooting, I didn’t realise this, but today when I look back, I feel that was the best way to do it and make me understand my character. It was the best acting lesson one can ever get,’ he added.
In the film, Rajat plays a rebel who chases his dream, but in real life he is completely the opposite.
‘I am not at all introvert like my character. I can talk, talk and talk… I have never lived in a boarding school; neither do I have a strict dad. So I am completely opposite to him (Rohan) and I do not want to be a writer at all as I hardly read,’ he said.
‘Udaan’ was selected for the Un Certain Regard category at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival this year and Rajat says it’s the best Bollywood debut one can ever have.
‘Walking the red carpet was a dream for Vikramaditya and me. We were just looking at each other and smiling because it was something we had not expected. People giving a standing ovation and clapping, it is a dream debut for both of us,’ said Rajat.
So hasn’t the movie burdened his shoulders with a bundle of expectations?
‘This is a very positive thing. If this movie had been a disaster, I would not have been noticed and people would have dismissed me. But appreciation keeps you grounded and pushes you to work hard,’ said Rajat.
The film was co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, Sanjay Singh and UTV Motion Pictures and also stars popular TV stars Ronit Roy and Ram Kapoor.
(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)