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All About Surrender

There are times when the fate of a film is decided by several elements including the strength of its supporting cast. The recently released October not only boasted critically acclaimed performances from the protagonists but was also backed by some very powerful character actors who provided noteworthy support. And one of them is Prateek Kapoor (Asthana) who talks to Bhakti Mehta about his role in the film

On The Brief

Just like any other struggling actor, I follow all the casting directors and their websites, social media pages and all that. In this case, the casting director was Jogi Mallang sir and I got to know about October from his Facebook page. After the first round, I was called back for round two. That is how I was finally selected for this role.

Since I have a 9-5 job in Delhi, I spoke to Shoojit Sircar sir on the phone, and he gave me a small brief about the role. He said, and I remember this very well, ‘Meri movies mein sirf ek cheez nahi hoti, woh hai acting.’ He summarised it all in that one line very clearly. He then asked some other generic questions, followed by the one which I think he asks all his actors, ‘Are you fully committed and dedicated to surrender?’ I obviously said yes and I did. Given the banner and the prestigious team that is associated with this film, there wasn’t a chance that I would say no.

On The Role

As Shoojit sir said, I follow the same motto. I don’t like to overdo it. I don’t go for over-the-top Bollywood acting. This is not my first project but it is my biggest one and I am lucky to be a part of a film where the director has the same approach to a role. During the shooting in Delhi, Shoojit sir would say, ‘Prateek, just keep it natural and non-Bollywood.’

He told me to behave as I do in my daily life. I would get the script one or two days before the call time and I imagined I would say the lines in a certain way but that would more or less change when I went on the set. Shoojit sir would say that there was a way he wanted my character to say this sentence and enact this nuance and I would follow him.

On The Challenges

It was a great experience but, as I said, I have a regular, corporate job. I had to juggle that at times to make it to the set. Everyone was very understanding if there was a shift in the schedule or if I was late sometimes, even though I would promise to make it up. All this made it easier.

On The Director

Shoojit sir is absolutely amazing and was a great director to work with. The whole team of Rising Sun Films was really good. Shoojit sir was very open to the kind of suggestions I had. I didn’t have many but, he would always listen and take into consideration anything I said, which is a huge deal.

On His Co-Actors

Every single person, including Varun Dhawan, has been nice, down-to-earth and supportive. Barring Varun, every actor is actually a newcomer in this movie. We were all pretty much on the same platform when it came to that.

On The Response

It has been out of this world. I had never imagined I would get this kind of feedback. I have received appreciation from the industry too. There are noted critics who have mentioned me by name in their reviews and it makes me so happy. I thought I would be noticed and that people would mention me as Varun’s boss in the film. For them to actually know my name was not only overwhelming and baffling but humbling as well.

Future Projects

I always had confidence in myself that I would get somewhere. I hope that this opens more doors for me and I will be more focused towards my craft.

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