I essay the character of Omkar Shastri, fondly called Omi, in Kai Po Che. He is a loving son, adored by his parents and very popular among his friends. He has grown up in a very devout environment as his father is the head priest in a temple. It is a coming-of-age film; the story of three friends, Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav and me. Without any direction in life, Omi emulates his friend, Ishaan played by Rajput. This is how his journey begins in the film.
I was called for a screen test by casting director, Mukesh Chabbra and had to go through a rigorous audition process. My director, Abhishek Kapoor liked my work, and one fine day they called me and said that I was on board. I think I am very lucky to get an interesting and demanding role, which helps you tap your talent.
I had done a short stint on television, but after sometime, I felt that I was stagnating. The desire to grow as an actor and exploit different avenues urged me to try my luck in films. I auditioned for a couple of films without any luck. Then, I enrolled for an acting course in New York. After I returned, I signed my first film with Naseeruddin Shah and Sonu Sood called Maximum. My career took a turn for the better, after I was selected for Kai Po Che. I am very grateful to God and the people who gave me this opportunity.
I was very nervous on the first day of the shoot and was constantly thinking about how I should play my character, which is complex. I give full credit to the director, whom I consider to be one of the finest in the industry, for guiding me. After every scene, he would interact with us and talk about things other than acting, which considerably calmed our nerves. I was very comfortable working with my co-stars, since we shared a good rapport with each other, having done several workshops for the film.
Physically, it was very challenging as my weight varies at different points in the film. There were times when I had to lose eight to nine kilos within three to four days. I play a very complex character, and for me to understand Omi’s emotional turmoil became very difficult. I would blindly follow Abhishek’s instructions, and it is because of his guidance that I could essay the role so convincingly.
For me, this film has served as a strong foundation and helped me understand the finer nuances of acting and how to work as a team. There is so much to learn and understand. I am like the child who has entered an amusement park and is dazzled by what he sees. This film has opened the doors to a whole new world of cinematic experience.
I have grown up idolising Amitabh Bachchan. You can learn so much from him. Besides him, I am inspired by a lot of people. At this moment, my director is the one person who inspires me the most.
Presently, all my energy is focussed on Kai Po Che.