Sunny Singh Nijar talks to team Box Office India about how life has changed after the success of his latest film Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
What is your headspace right now after the huge success of Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety?
I have a very big smile on my face. I always knew the film would be good and people would love it but I did not expect it to cross the `100-crore mark. The response has been really good. Wherever I go, they shower me with love and they ask if I am really like the character I have played on screen (Laughs).
People are being very sweet towards me and they also talk about Kartik (Aaryan) Nushrat (Bharucha), Alok Nath sir, the whole family and their chemistry. People just loved it and I think the best reward is the audience. The difference is that I am going for a lot of narrations and discussions, so I am optimistic. When something good happens, you tend to go with the flow, and it is only when something bad happens that you start realising certain things.
What kind of appreciation have you received for your performance? And with so much appreciation, how do you plan to keep yourself grounded and focused?
With every film – I have done three-four films – or films I will do in future, I know what I want to do and I know my work. I know that I have to act and I have to give 100 per cent. If you are good, people will love it, it is a simple equation. If you aren’t all that good, the audience will not hesitate to let you know. Even directors will do the same because I never realise what I am doing; I just give my best. This is a phase in my career where I am getting better and better. I just think about work and nothing else. I don’t think about the paparazzi, social media, etc. I am focused on the material that comes out in the end.
This is the age of social media where celebrities receive ample criticism on this platform. How do you deal with it?
The love is in great amount. Sometimes, it is there and sometimes it isn’t. But, that doesn’t really affect me because I am very happy and secure. I know that on these platforms, people say all sorts of things. I have already faced negative criticism. Sometimes, the comments are in the form of taunts but I really do not care. What I care about is me, myself and my work. That’s all.
Some critics have called this film ‘misogynistic’.
It is just their opinion. I think it is mostly girls who are loving the film. I feel people are loving it, including women. People also loved Pyaar Ka Punchnama 1 and 2 as well as this film. I think what is important is walking out of the theatre with a hangover of the film and talking about how it is so relatable. We have never tried to demean women in the story. For example, if a girl wants to shop and the guy doesn’t want to, that is when they end up fighting. These are small things that we show in a film. Even the scene in PKP2, in the theatre jahan paise ko leke panga ho jata hai, this happens in everybody’s life. I think the audience enjoys watching these little things.
The film has experienced huge success at the box office. What is the one thing that connected with the audience so well?
The only answer is Luv Ranjan. It is only because of him that we are here. He is the mind behind everything, even Rahul Modi the writer of the film. Luv sir has seen all the characters live and that is the reason he made his film. He knows all these little things we do and say to people in real life. His process of filmmaking is different from what we have seen so far. That is one reason people loved the film. It is only when you come up with a different story and have material to connect to the audience that it becomes a hit. That is the case with Luv sir’s cinema.
Did you expect Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety to do so well at the box office?
No. I only expected the film to be really good. I really didn’t expect the numbers it has done. It has crossed so many milestones, it is a very big thing for all of us. I also want to say that it was very difficult for people to give a newcomer a chance. Now things have changed. More and more filmmakers are willing to work with new talent and open doors for them. I have heard this from many people.
You started with a cameo, then a negative character and then some boy-next-door roles. How has your journey been till now?
I always had a lot of faith. My uncles used to tell me that I was going to become a hero. My father, being an action director, knows people and I used to meet a lot of people from the industry. I knew one thing, it is not easy to make it. It is actually very difficult. Someone can introduce you to people but then it is up to that person and you to get connected.
I could feel that I was meant to act but I was never overconfident. I used to attend auditions and look tests. Sometimes, my number would be 101 or I was the 70th one in the queue but I used to wait. The cameo that you are talking about… when I did that, it was big but they cut it in the film. Then, I did Akaash Vaani and met Luv sir. I was very lucky to meet him. He told me to meet him to figure things out and eventually a look test happened. He liked it, we had readings and I got the chance to work with him again and again.
You have done films that have an ensemble cast, whether PKP2 or SKTKS. Do you want to now take up a project as a solo hero?
I can’t reveal anything as of now or the future but all I can say is that I am very positive about everything. There are a few things you will get to know soon. I have done my bit and I want to keep going with the flow.
For an actor, with every success comes the responsibility of living up to the expectations of the audience. Are you feeling the pressure?
It is a nice thing and yeh hota hai. When we shot PKP2, there was pressure to live up to the success of the previous instalment. As an actor, it is important to perform because the other film was a hit. I think it is only hard work that has got us here. We used to focus on the readings and not let anything distract us. We were very happy to be on the same team and that gives us a comfortable space as we know each other. We were always motivated because of Luv sir and the entire crew.
How has your perception changed over the years that you have been in the industry?
I still have people telling me it is very difficult to achieve stardom. The casting couch is involved and so many other difficulties. What I have learnt over the years is that looks matter but acting does matter as well. If there are seven or eight people, the person with good acting skills will stand out. That is the most important thing.
Now that you have achieved so much success through your film, how has people’s perception changed towards you?
Everybody in the industry, including the assistants working on a set, look for a chance to make it big. Sometimes, when a friend or a colleague does well, people come and talk to you. People say they are keen on working with you. I don’t know whether or not I will be able to do it but it does become difficult to say no. I am still at a stage where I am growing. Hota hai aisa, you can’t do anything about it. Nobody wants to give newcomers a chance so easily.
What genres of films or characters do you want to explore?
I have always wanted to do real cinema and action. I have always wanted to do action and comedy because I used to like Akshay sir and Ajay sir. My father has always wanted me to do it. I used to practice martial arts, so I am very fond of action, like, just raw action. Also, real cinema because when I watch Netflix, I go mad, wondering where these movies were earlier. There are certain documentaries that you look at and go crazy.
You have accompanied your father to film sets. Did witnessing the craft of the big movie stars so closely inspire you to take up acting?
I have never disclosed this before but when I was a kid, I used to go to Ajay Devgn sir’s house. I still do, but as a kid, I used to go inside his room when he wasn’t there, and check out his shoes and belts and dream that I would one day have all the possessions that he has. I was very fond of him, I still know what perfume he uses, and I have always looked up to him.
As an actor, after you have seen your film earn so much at the box office, how important are box office numbers in your life?
It is a good feeling. The film has done such good business. It is just that we want to come up with something as good as this and something new. People should get connected and be happy about it. Box office numbers are very unexpected. There are certain films that do not do good numbers and some manage to do it.
Do you believe that along with talent, box office numbers help an actor stay at the top of their game?
Maybe it does. It helps an actor increase his price too. The brand value also increases. But, it also depends on the number of hits you give. Once the film becomes a cult movie, it will stay evergreen, always.