Next Big Thing

Next Big Thing

To be around Abhimanyu Dasani, is to be transported into an atmosphere of calm and composure. His vigour isn’t for the faint-hearted. He simply takes your breath away. The last few months have been a whirlwind for Abhimanyu; with international awards, and an overwhelming response from the audiences, he is destined to claim a meteoric rise with all his hardwork. 

With an undying passion for success and perfection, yet open to the idea of learning from his mistakes, Abhimanyu seems like a dream boy who is too good to be true. Here are some edited excerpts from the interview.

Being a star kid is never easy. Coming from the filmy background, tell us how did your journey in the film fraternity begin? 

I have been independent from my family, since I was 15 years old. I called myself a sales entrepreneur, wherein I would setup a business, make it profitable and move onto something else. The adrenaline rush for me was to create something, rather than being stuck at a 9-5 job. I got the opportunity to work with Rohan Sippy, ten years ago, as an assistant director on Dum Maaro Dum, and that’s when I fell in love with cinema. The energy on set was infectious and made me go back every day. A few conversations with Abhishek Bachchan helped streamline my thought process towards film making, and acting. I assisted on a couple of more projects, such as Nautanki Saala, and also on a documentary; after which I started my training for acting, dancing, voice modulation, and a fit physique. 

Tell us about your first audition. Do you think that rejection hampers an actors’ creative streak? 

It was extremely funny, as I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to become an actor. I used to rehearse Ayushmann Khurrana’s lines with him while he was working on Nautanki Saala, and he thought I was good at it. He further suggested my name for my first audition. I took the leap and went for it, which in turn came back as an offer for a film. It was extremely humbling that it went on as it did, even though the film did not complete its journey, it still left an unforgettable impression on my mind.

So, how did you get the role in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota? 

I saw a Twitter screenshot saying that they wanted a 19-23 year old boy, who knew martial arts, for the film. I went ahead for the audition, as I had just started my training for martial arts. I spent four weeks at the audition centre from 9-6 everyday, giving auditions day-in and day-out, where I also got to spend a lot of time with Vasan Bala, the director of the film. I learnt a lot, and his belief in me brought out the confidence withheld in me; and the rest is history.

What was the best part about playing Surya and what’s that one thing about him which you believe will stay with you forever? 

It was an extremely intense character, a man child who is innocent and unjaded about this world. At the same time, he has no insecurities that the world gives us all. Somehow, breaking up the insecurities that I had in those three months of isolation from the world, made me more confident and self-aware. I focused on my strengths and weaknesses, and the innocence that is so rare in this world now. I would like to carry that spark of innocence with me for the rest of my life.

What was the feeling like when your film got showcased on an international platform? 

Being appreciated by the worlds’ best directors and producers on a global scale made me feel as if I was doing the right thing in my life. After Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota was showcased at the Toronto Film Festival, I was humbled by the opportunity, yet ecstatic for the journey ahead.

Before the film, everyone recognised you as Bhagyashree’s son. Now they know you as the talented actor that you are. How has the transition been? 

That’s the reason why I wasn’t seen any time before my international film festival’s trailer went viral. I wanted to be known for my work and talent. I wanted my hard work to speak louder than words could explain. I am truly honoured with the audience’s response. 

Don’t you think it’s challenging for an actor to have a grounded thought process, in order to survive in the industry in the long run. Especially in today’s time when everybody is so competitive in running after fame? 

Being self-aware is important than anything else. It’s important you are, who you think you are.

You’re quite a hit among the ladies. Quite a lot of them swoon over your ruggedness. Is this a Bollywood-ised makeover or were you always a ladies man, so to speak? 

You haven’t seen my childhood images. But who are these women, where are they? Can they say these things to my face? It would be nice to hear it personally.

How important do you think social media is in an actor’s life today? How has it helped you positively influence your audience? 

I believe the judgment of an actor is as good as his last work, rather than him being focused on the number of likes he or she gets digitally. In order to stay relevant you do bombard them with constant updates and images, but as an actor it all comes down to how good you are at your work.

Where are we seeing you next? Tell us something about your upcoming projects. 

Sabbir Khan’s Nikamma is on the cards next, alongside Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Shirley Setia. It is such a fun film with comedy, action, love, relationships and a whole lot more. It has been so much fun shooting for it. You have to watch out for this blockbuster.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.