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Sanskaari Swag!

The Sanskaari Babuji of Bollywood, Alok Nath, talks to Bhakti Mehta about the accolades he has received for his latest release Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety and why he was afraid of breaking the ‘sanskaari’ mould


How did director Luv Ranjan explain this character to you?

When Luv Ranjan approached me, he said he had something for me that I had not done before. He told me the character was completely out-of-the-box and different from the image that I have. He then asked me if I wanted to hear the narration and I told him not entirely but I wanted to know the premise.

When he told me the plot of the story and discussed my character, I was convinced that it would be a huge change for me. And while I was excited to do this, I asked Luv if he was sure he wanted me for this role, given the sanskaari image I had. I was apprehensive about pulling it off but Luv was confident that I could and it is due to him that I managed to get it right. I dedicate my role to him.


This role seems very spontaneous. Did you improvise while shooting?

I was told to forget everything I had learnt. It didn’t have to be deep or intense. Luv told me to just come on the set and go with the flow, and that’s how I would get the part right. He told me to perform it with swag and that’s what I did.


How do you feel about breaking your ‘sanskaari’ image for this role?

As I said, I was very apprehensive about doing this role. I was nervous because of the sanskaari babuji image that I had. Would the audience accept me in a role that was poles apart from what they had seen me do before? My language, my approach, everything was different. I was also a bit nervous because unlike my earlier films, this is a youth-centric movie. The target audience is the young generation and this generation is quite scary. If they like your performance, then great but if they don’t, they just trash you in every possible way.

It was really great to take this risk, to surprise the audience once again. And it is amazing that they have accepted my character. Not only the youth, but the senior section of the audience too has been appreciating my performance. In fact, the cult following this team had from the PKP series has helped in making this film a hit.


What was it like working with a young cast like Kartik, Nushrat and Sunny?

It was really nice to work with a young and energetic cast. Kartik, Nushrat and Sunny have worked together before in Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, so they already shared a bond. It was great to see them include me and the entire team in that bond. They are very hardworking, respectful and sweet. The energy on the set was really great. All of them are great performers and great people. The set became like a family, all of us had a nice time during the shoot.


You have been a part of family-centric films for decades. SKTKS also has a strong family angle. What has the transition been like, from then to now?

I have worked in the industry for quite some time and can see that the audience has become more accepting of today’s kind of content. The audience is very different from when, say, a Hum Aapke Hain Koun! released. People enjoyed larger-than-life cinema back then. That’s what they preferred.

Now, due to the change brought about by social media and the digital medium, everyone is exposed to TV shows, videos, films and reality shows from around the world. That has made the audience more accepting of realism in movies. This is the realism that we have tried to show in SKTKS. We have tried to connect with the audience, with their kind of language and situations. In fact, it is so surprising that some people have compared SKTKS to HAHK. They have said that this film is a modern day version of the old one. So the audience has changed but for the better.


Now that you have redefined your image, what other projects will we see you in?

I am glad that people have liked my performance. I hope I keep doing different kinds of roles in future too. For now, I am working in Luv Ranjan’s production venture directed by Akiv Ali starring Ajay Devgn. But considering the response SKTKS has received, I hope we do a sequel soon.


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