Rahul Bhat on Daas Dev: Can't portray Devdas the way Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan did

Seema Sinha

Apr,26 2018 14:31:21 IST

Model-turned-actor Rahul Bhat, who was rediscovered by Anurag Kashyap in Ugly (2014), seems to be an impulsive man. When his films Yeh Mohabbat Hai (2002) and Nayee Padosan (2003) did nothing for his career, a "disillusioned" Rahul turned his back on acting. He took a sabbatical for about 10 long years despite being part of the path-breaking serial Heena (1998) that had a successful run of five years making him a household name. He established his own television production company and produced many shows but never acted in them because he desired to become a successful movie star. He, in fact, rejected around 70 serials at that time for the fear of being overexposed. And after about a decade, when Kashyap offered him Ugly, he immediately went and locked the doors of his television production house.

“I was waiting for a good director to offer me a film and I just grabbed it,” says Rahul, who has vowed to make the most of his second innings and confesses that staying away from acting was a 'stupid' decision. "I stopped acting because of the kind of films that were offered to people like me who were relatively new and had no guidance. I quit the profession in anger. But yes, I do regret, I did lose projects as I kept refusing films. I am stupid, I made many mistakes," he says.

A still of Rahul Bhat from Anurag Kashyap's Ugly/Image from YouTube.

A still of Rahul Bhat from Anurag Kashyap's Ugly/Image from YouTube.

Rahul followed-up Ugly with stellar performances in Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor opposite Katrina Kaif, and Prakash Jha’s Jai Gangaajal with Priyanka Chopra. He then forayed into global cinema with the critically acclaimed Canadian film Union Leader and became the first Indian actor to be cast as a main lead in a mainstream Chinese film produced by China International Art and Business Alliance, True Hero’s. Having garnered huge critical acclaim for all his performances, Rahul will now be seen playing the iconic role of Dev in multiple award winning director Sudhir Mishra’s Daas Dev (releases on 27 April) which is touted to be a reverse take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic Bengali novel Devdas.

Mishra, who has coined the term ‘Chameleon from Kashmir’ for Rahul said it was Rahul’s look of that of a khandaani boy — spoilt and arrogance written on his face — that prompted him to select him for Daas Dev. Rahul laughs about it embarrassingly, saying, “I don’t know about that but whatever may be the reason for him to choose me, I am happy that I'm getting the chance to work with him.” In fact, Rahul is also hoping that Mishra casts him in the sequel of his much acclaimed 2005 film, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.

“When directors like Sudhir, Anurag (who made Dev D, a modern-day take on Devdas) come up with the script of Devdas, they will most certainly do something unique. It won’t be the same Devdas. I love Sudhir’s interpretation of making it into a reverse journey from Daas to Dev. It’s about the abdication of power and realising the true nature of love. Since it is not the same story, reference was not required. It is a fresh approach and obviously I came with a clean slate and approached the character in a fresh way. If I watch and do the same thing what Dilip Kumar and Shah Rukh Khan have done in Devdas then I will fall flat on my face. I have tried to bring my own Devdas in a honest way, it should look truthful and the emotion should reach people,” says Rahul.

Rahul Bhat with the cast of Daas Dev/Image from Twitter.

Rahul Bhat with the cast of Daas Dev/Image from Twitter.

Further, talking about the film and his role, the actor says, “Daas Dev is set against a political backdrop in Lucknow. I play the role of a rich guy, who just parties, is into drugs, etc, generally a wastrel. He is from a political family and one day he goes back to his roots to claim his rightful place. However, I did not drink to play the role of Devdas. I told Sudhir that since I had done a lot of drinking in Ugly, I had enough experience to play a drunkard!” he laughs out loud.

Working with both Kashyap and Mishra has helped Rahul hone his craft in a big way, says the actor. “When I worked with Anurag, he told me to be honest between action and cut. Be honest and forget the world, he would say. But with Sudhir, besides honesty, he would tell me to give a flip to the scenes. Many actors must have done some of these scenes several times but he would want it in a slightly different way,” says Rahul, who wants to do meaningful cinema that is also commercially viable. “I want to work with commercial directors like Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra besides Imtiaz Ali, Vishal Bhardwaj and Hansal Mehta. I want to work with Anurag and Prakash Jha once again. But it all depends upon who wants to work with me,” he laughs.

Rahul was just over 20 when he started his career with the small screen, and back then he was one of the highest paid actors on television. “I was young, brattish and when you come from a small town...I had come from Srinagar, I’m a Kashmiri Pandit...You get this huge success, money, and if you are brought up on Amitabh Bachchan films and you are able to mouth some of his dialogues like, ‘Main pheke hue paise nahi uthata...’ you feel you have arrived and that you know everything. And just because I did Umesh Mehra’s film (Yeh Mohabbat Hai) who had made the Khiladi series (Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Sabse Bada Khiladi and International Khiladi) with Akshay Kumar, I thought I would transform into another Akshay Kumar. But then comes one slap of destiny that you don’t know anything you a******. When that happened I took a break. I realised that I need to learn. And now I need to evaluate my career properly because I can’t afford to make another mistake,” signs off Rahul.

Updated Date: Apr 26, 2018 14:31 PM