Amit Sadh on Sarkar 3: 'Ram Gopal Varma is a genius; I will do any film with him'
Amit Sadh made a promising debut with Kai Po Che! in 2013 but success eluded him until Sultan, which resurrected his career and got him offers from many filmmakers.
Known for his rebellious streak and unpredictable nature, it’s difficult to decode Amit, who claims to have mellowed over time. He doesn’t tire talking about life’s philosophies and clearly detests social media by calling it ‘trash and garbage’.
Ahead of the release of Sarkar 3, he talks about working with Amitabh Bachchan, wanting to play a war hero and challenging Ram Gopal Varma for a twitter war. Excerpts:
If it was Salman Khan who gave you a new lease of life with Sultan, it was Amitabh Bachchan who recommended you to the Sarkar 3 director, Ram Gopal Varma to play his arrogant and volatile grandson Shivaji Nagre. You seem to be in a great company.
In my life, movies have always come to me. All the films that I wanted to work on, or I have auditioned, I have never bagged those films. One day I got a message from Ram Gopal Varma that I should see him in his office. He’s an honest man and he clearly told me that he hasn’t seen any of my work, he doesn’t know who I was, but it was Amitabh Bachchan who has recommended me for Sarkar 3. I was overwhelmed and got super excited. I was called for the photo shoot where I was told to give angry looks. I showed my aggression and got selected.
Did you ask Mr Bachchan the reason for recommending you?
I am not the kind of guy who wants to know the reason. I went up to him on the first day of the shoot, touched his feet, took his blessings, and before I could say, ‘Thank you’, he stopped me with the words, ‘Hey, forget it'. Now I just hope that I have not let them down. I am really grateful that they vouched for and stuck by me. Getting big parts is really difficult.
You had a very promising debut but unlike your co-stars Rajkummar Rao and Sushant Singh Rajput, you didn't cash in on the success of Kai Po Che! What went wrong?
Actually it wasn’t too bad for me as the perception is, just that my next film released two years after that, so people thought my career had come to a stand-still. Some of the films I had shot for also got delayed. So, I decided to travel. I went for a six-month trip around the world. Also, as an actor, I have my own pace of doing things, but having said that, I still have to earn to pay my rent, so I have to keep working.
What was the learning experience with Mr Bachchan?
You are always nervous, excited; there are so many emotions you go through while playing your part, and then you have Amitabh Bachchan in front of you. But no, he never made me nervous, instead he made me a better actor. He made me more responsible as an actor. He pushed me to be more prepared, to be more present.
A huge reason for me being able to become this character goes to Mr Bachchan because when he used to walk on the sets, he used to be in his character — Subhash Nagre.
He would just create this world where all he had to do was be present. Yes, I was petrified, I would slur. But the whole experience, from first day to the last day, has been very fruitful for me.
Have you watched the other two parts of Sarkar?
I was a big fan of the Sarkar franchise. Those were my struggling days... well, I am still struggling. But those days I had no work, I had no money to pay my rent, but I was such a huge fan of Ram Gopal Varma that I just couldn’t afford to miss watching his films. He was cult then, he is cult now.
Your character is being compared to Bal Thackeray’s grandson Aditya Thackeray...
In films, when public, media, and the audience start drawing comparisons then it is a victory. This means people have noticed it [the film]. That is what an actor wants.
What is your thought on people’s perception about Ram Gopal Varma? How was your experience working with him?
It is life changing. There is a perception about him that people have created — I think people react to social media, to twitter.
Now I don’t understand the digital world, but I feel it is a trash world. Stars have a huge following and twitter is a great medium for that, but anybody can come on social media and say anything, it is not about positive or negative. What Ram Gopal Varma does on twitter and in his personal life, I don’t care. I only know my hands on experience with him as the director.
I feel he is a genius. I would have long conversations with him on films, philosophy, idealogy; you can talk to him about so many things.
What he does after pack-up for recreation, how he vents out, what is his entertainment — I am not concerned. The day he writes about me on twitter, I will react in my way. I have challenged him to play mischief with me on twitter. I will do any film with him whether it releases or not. I just love to be on his set. He gives you a power to think as an actor, he pushes you beyond your boundaries.
Do you now feel settled in your career?
I have seen a lot of bad days. I used to sweep floors, wash utensils in people’s home, and I was a security guard in a showroom in Delhi. There is no job that I haven't done. I have slept on roads and also tried committing suicide. I have seen violence as well. After my struggle, I came on Bigg Boss. I don’t care what perception people have about me but I just hope that they go and watch my films.
People asked what changed after Sultan, and I said I pay my rent on time.
There is going to be lot of me this year. I have Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Raagdesh (on Indian National Army trials) coming up where I am playing Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, who was an officer in Subhash Chandra Bose’s army; Yaara is finally releasing, and Breathe (with R Madhavan) is ready.
If you are offered a biopic, who would you like to play?
I like characters from the Indian history. I like war heroes. I would like to play Kargil war heroes like Captain Anuj Nayyar, or Captain Vikram Batra. I have met Vikram Batra’s girlfriend. She still lives like his widow though they weren’t married. They had a relationship for about three years in which they had met just six times. This is true love.
You have been part of multi-starrers like Ka Poi Che and now Sarkar 3, but these days filmmakers say that it is difficult getting actors to do multi-starrers as the new generation is insecure.
Do I look the kind who would feel insecure? I don’t believe in solo starrers or multi-starrers, I only work in good stories. I am not a fraud actor, I would like to be known as a genuine actor.