Sushant Singh is a household name. This multifaceted actor has been entertaining us not only with his films but also TV shows. He was the host for the popular TV show Savdhaan India aired on Life OK from 2012-2013. Sushant Singh made his Bollywood debut with the critically-acclaimed film of Ram Gopal Verma – Satya. After working in many films including The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Yeh Saali Zindagi, and Laga Chunari Mein Daag, Sushant Singh is now making a comeback into films with Vishal Pandya’s Hate Story 2 releasing on July 18. He will be seen playing a larger-than-life villain in this revenge-saga.
We caught up with the talented actor for a quick chat about Hate Story 2, his character "Mandar Mahatre" and acting.
Tell us about Hate Story 2
Hate Story 2 is a combination of thriller and drama. And of course, there is a sensuous part to it. It combines various elements. There is hate, love, anger and passion. It is definitely much bigger than Hate Story 1. But there is no connection of the film’s plot with its prequel, expect for the theme.
What is your character about?
My character’s name is Mandar Mahatre, a politician. He is an absolute ego-maniac, power-hungry and possessive man. He has an evil-streak in his personality. And as seen in the promos, he keeps on saying "Papa kehte hain…" – his signature line. That dialogue has become quite popular by now.Maybe the father was even worse. Who knows?
How did you land up for this role in Hate Story 2?
I have done a film with Vikram Bhatt long time back called RED. And Vishal Pandya was the associate during that film. Recently, we got in touch. He offered me a role in Ankur Arora Murder Case. But the role which I liked was already given to someone else. So, I couldn’t do the movie. During the same time, they were in the process of writing the story of Hate Story 2. Vishal Pandya saw me and it sort of clicked. He said I was the perfect choice for the character. That’s how I got the role of Mandar Mahatre.
What’s been the most-difficult part while shooting for Hate Story 2?
The most-difficult part for me was hitting the heroine. Surveen Chawla is playing lead. In real life, I am a very non-violent kind of a person. I don’t like getting into fights or hitting people. And when it comes to women – it’s an absolute no-no. Whenever we had to do something violent on screen, it had to look convincing. So, yes, that was the hardest part for me, emotionally and also, technically.
You are playing an antagonist in the film. Was it appealing to do something so different?
Yes, it was. He is the darkest character that I have ever come across in my whole film career. There is no grey shade… he is an absolute dark character. It’s like the devil’s reincarnation. And of course, I wanted to try something this different. I definitely enjoyed portraying Mandar Mahatre.
How did you prepare yourself for the role in Hate Story 2?
Frankly, no. It wasn’t that kind of a role which required extreme preparations or rehearsals. There were no special requirements. It is an absolutely fictitious character. Larger than life, and yes, filmy. So, all I had to concentrate on was that I should not become like a caricature. It is very delicate. I had to keep the character believable. That is one part. My training as an actor helped me. Vishal Pandya wrote the character, and the way he directed me helped. I will give a lot of credit to him.
Do you think it is important to like the character that you are playing in a film?
Yes. It is very important. As an actor you have to be honest to your character. If you can’t like the character, you won’t be able to justify whatever he is doing. In the worst of people, say on the street, for example, underworld, let’s say criminals or murderers. I doubt if any of those set out to do villainous things, but they are justifying in whatever they are doing. So as an actor I have to love the character, even though I might hate it personally.
Anti-hero versus villain. What would you choose and why?
That’s a tough choice. If possible, I will choose a villainous anti-hero (laughs). I think it’s more fun to play a villain. You can experience an anti-hero kind of emotion, in real life also. You can fight against the system, file petitions or maybe you know… just get down from the car, catch somebody by the throat and scold them for any wrong. But an absolute dark and negative villainous emotion, is very rare for any ordinary man. So, in a way it’s fun to experience those feelings on screen.
You have worked for both the mediums – Television and Cinema. To which medium do you connect the most?
I connect to cinema more. Cinema always has a definite story. In television, the story and the plot track keeps on changing to adapt with the audience’s choice. I am not used to it. With my theater training, my experience and my temperament, I like things to be settled. In a movie, you know the character, the story, and it’s not going to change. You prepare for that role, you live with that role for three to five months, and then it’s over. After that something new comes. With regards to television, day after day doing the same character becomes exhausting and tedious.
I have realized that everytime I work for television, I tend to give up after a year. I just put my hands up, and I just can’t live with the character anymore. So temperamentally, I guess, I connect more with cinema.
It is often difficult to predict the success of a movie. What are your thoughts on box office results?
Everybody involved in a movie wants it to be successful. As an actor you are a very small part of the movie. You just need to keep yourself straight, and later, detach from it. I feel that an actor shouldn’t think much of the box office result. That is something which can go either ways. You should always keep expecting good results. You shouldn’t be disappointed at the box office results, which will affect your motivation. So, I prefer to stay detached from it. All I can do is make my directors and producers happy. If they are happy, for me it’s good.
What are your expectations from Hate Story 2?
I have a very big expectation from this movie. Both Vishal Pandya and I were discussing the film that while making the film we never expected such massive response from the public. The promos are super-hit, the title song "Aaj tum par pyaar aaya hain" has also got a positive response. And now the dialogue promos are out and people are appreciating that as well. So, all in all I think maybe because we didn’t think about it much, and concentrated much upon whatever we can do and gave our best shot. We are happy by the response and now our expectations are higher and higher with each passing day.