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Rohit Suresh Saraf: I want to tell stories that bring change

Rohit Suresh Saraf is elated with the response that The Sky Is Pink has been receiving. In a conversation with Titas Chowdhury, the actor opens up about his learnings from Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar on set, being overwhelmed by the response the film received at TIFF and more

As part of your preparation, did you meet Ishaan Chaudhary on whom your character is based?

We were not allowed to the meet the people who we were playing in the film. But I met Ishaan literally for five minutes. The day I met him, we were going to shoot a sequence which was the most difficult one for me in the film. If you have seen the film, you will realise that I am talking about a sequence where I am throwing my bag away at the railway station. I was really nervous about shooting it because it was a make-or-break scene for me. That was the only day when he could come down to London. I was really stressed about it and when I met him, I completely froze. It was a really overwhelming experience meeting him because I would be portraying him onscreen. But the first time we properly met, hung out together and spoke for a good time was the day he watched the film at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).

Speaking of TIFF, The Sky Is Pink received a standing ovation there. Tell us a bit about your experience there.

It was an overwhelming experience because I have never watched a film with 2000 people and there I was watching my own film with so many people. I could not have imagined sitting in an audience with 2000 people ever. It was very exciting for me because that is the first time that I walked the red carpet and people there knew me and my work. I received so much love and that was very humbling. I feel very grateful for the entire experience. We worked really hard on the project. People reacted to the film the way we wanted them to even by reading the subtitles and that was extremely gratifying and rewarding for us. This proves the fact that emotions transcend borders and boundaries. It was not only special because of all the people in theatre but also because the Chaudharys were present there with us at that moment. They said that they felt that we almost brought Aisha back to life. To be part of that entire experience is really humbling. These are the kinds of moments that an artiste needs in their life; they want to push the boundaries. And that is what this journey has been for me. 

We had earlier spoken about the death scene in the film that you were dreading shooting and it emotionally impacted you. How much did you let this character affect you?

For me, this entire journey was extremely immersive. The moment I got this project, I knew that we would have to go all the way. I knew that I could not have held back in that particular scene. And to do that, I had to completely put myself and my heart out there before Shonali (Bose) so that she could have access to that space within me and get the performance out of me that she wanted. I would not say that the scene took a toll on me because my journey with the film has been very cathartic and healing. I have learnt a lot from the project and the kind of experiences that I got from it is something that I needed in my life. People often ask me how I unwind after doing an emotionally heavy film like this. But for me, this process has been a kind of unwinding. I do not need time for unwinding after this project.

You had said that it was a dream come true for you to work with Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar. Did they share any golden word of advice with you?

Both Priyanka and Farhan have had such multi-faceted careers. She is an actor, producer and singer. Farhan is literally everything under the sun; he is a singer, songwriter, actor, producer and director. I have grown up watching their work. I have seen from where they started and where they have taken their career They have had huge experiences. It was a dream come true for me to work with actors like them because I learnt so much from them. With Priyanka, it was that one incident when we were shooting in London when I had met Ishaan. I was very nervous and that is when Priyanka came up to me. She did not tell me something that nobody had ever told me, but it was all about the confidence that she had in me when she spoke to me. She said to me, ‘You are here because you deserve to be here.’ What I basically learnt during that conversation was that self-believe and no ounce of self-doubt is very important. I learnt the same thing from Farhan too. The way he has transformed his body is incredible. Right from the time he started shooting for The Sky Is Pink to now when he is doing Toofan… there has been a huge change. The kind of discipline and the kind of dedication he has towards his craft when he is on set is amazing. There is an abundance of learning that you can get from him.

What is next on the plate for you?                                             

I have Anurag Basu’s next film titled Ludo. It is an ensemble film. It has four stories which will come together to make one big film. I am going to play one of the principal characters in the film.

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