Debutante Sooraj Pancholi talks about his Hero experience and much more...
Sooraj Pancholi made his dream debut alongside Athiya Shetty in Hero last Friday, but it didn't seem that the star kid was nervous at all. The calm yet funny actor talk to BollywoodLife about his experience while shooting the film, his equation with co-star Athiya Shetty, how Salman Khan gifted him this film as a birthday gift and much more...
Now that the film is out, how are you feeling?
I feel amazing, it's actually a really great feeling. everyday something new is coming up, life has become very busy and I am not getting time for myself. But, it's good becuase I always wanted to be that busy. So, it's been great.
How has your experience been while filming Hero?
It was really tough because it was very new for both me and Athiya. We trained really hard for the film, but the entire shoot was very fun. I got to learn a lot of new things everyday. Working with Nikhil sir is a dream come true. He has made such good films with the biggest stars. We learnt a lot from him also. The entire locations and everything was beautiful. We shot in Manali for about a month, we shot in Romania too, so it was an amazing experience.
Tell us about your character and how did you prepare for this role?
My character is called Sooraj Kaushik. In the original film, Jackie sir's name was Jackie, so in this film they have kept my name as Sooraj to maintain that continuity. I haven't tried to play anyone else but me. In the second half, if you see, it's completely me. In the first half also I am myself, but in real life I don't get to do so much action. The script is the same and we worked on the same script. It's the same Hero that Jackie sir did, but it is more modernised. That film was 3 hours long, this film is 2 hours long. So, there are a few ups and downs in the characters, but there is more focus on Athiya and me.
How has your experience been with your co-star Athiya Shetty?
Athiya has been a great person to work with. We started this journey together, so there was a learning process for us everyday. Even today we are learning, today also we get a yelling from Nikhil sir. Athiya is a fabulous actress and I am really happy that I got to work with a newcomer like Athiya. If I was working with an established actress, that person wouldn't have helped me as much as Athiya did in my scenes. Athiya knows the ups and downs in my life and vice versa.
Your chemistry with Athiya is magical. Tell us how close are you to each other in real life?
Yes, we started out together so we have a good chemistry. We met for the first time in a dance rehearsal and since then we’ve bonded very well. We have become so close to each other now that we don’t need to tell each other what we are going through and that’s why the chemistry shows through in the film.
When did you decide to take up acting?
I never thought of becoming an actor, but I wanted to know the process of film-making. So I contacted Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir and he let me work with him on Guzaarish. So when I was assisting him, I saw Hrithik sir perform so flawlessly. I saw how the sets are made, which lenses are used, the acting process, the direction and I thought it was really cool. After that I got in touch with Kabir Khan sir to ask if I could assist him on Ek Tha Tiger as it was an action film and I wanted to learn something more, that’s where I met Salman sir and that’s where I figured I wanted to do acting. I decided to get into the field and Salman sir always knew I wanted to become an actor. He had asked me if I would act and I had said, ‘Ha sir karunga, kyun nahi karunga? (Yes I will do, why won’t I do?)’
When Ek Tha Tiger was ending, we had almost completed the last schedule in Turkey and Salman sir called me in his room on my birthday. He wished me and gifted me a film in his production house, that’s how I got the film. He didn’t have a script then but we came back and I waited for Salman sir's call for a year a half. And then he called and said he has got me a script called Hero, that’s when I watched the film again. It’s actually great to work on this film and the best titled film an actor can have because people start calling you Hero from the first film itself.
Who do you think is the real Hero of our industry?
Salman Khan. I haven't learnt anything from him as an actor, but I have learnt a lot from Salman sir as a human being. When I stand up on my feet, I will help someone get on his feet too like he did.
The film has action, romance and drama. So which genre of films would you chose to work in next?
I would want to do a romantic film.
Are you romantic in real life too?
It depends on when love comes to you or when you go to love.
Most recently you have been compared to Tiger Shroff. What do you think about such a comparison?
I think it’s the right comparison because Tiger and me are of the same age, we both are star kids too. His film was titled Heropanti and mine was Hero, so people will compare us. There is a lot of competition in Bollywood, but in real life we all are brothers and there is enough work for both of us and everyone has done their bit of hard work to get here. He is a boy who is going to stay for a long time and I hope to as well.
Tell us three things that we don't know about Sooraj Pancholi.
#I am shy, very shy. I am a big introvert.
# I like martial arts. I have trained in taekwondo and I have a black belt in it.
# I like to draw. I sketch. I am not an expert, but in my free time I do a bit of sketching. Maybe it is bad, but I think it’s good.
You have a great personality and girls have gone crazy for you. So, tell us a bit about your fitness mantra to have such a great body.
Really? (laughs) I didn't know everyone are liking my pictures. I haven't seen it, so I want to witness it first, the fan following. Fitness is the number one thing for me. Even if I had not wanted to be an actor, I would still want to be fit. I hit the gym when I was 14 years old and my biggest inspiration for that is Sylvester Stallone. I want to do an action film like Rambo or Rocky and a boxing film.
We've also heard that you have signed your second film with Kumar Mangat. Is it true?
No, no. It's not true. I haven't even met him.
The original Hero film was iconic, so what are your expectations out of this one?
The only thing I am expecting is acceptance. I am not looking at numbers as that is not my job for now and I don't think that is my job for the future as well. An actor has to act and the rest depends on the other people. I want to be accepted in Bollywood, that's it.
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