On cloud nine
Rohit Suresh Saraf is elated with The Sky Is Pink’s success. In conversation with Titas Chowdhury, the actor divulges his precious on-set learnings, being overwhelmed with the positivity and more
As a part of your preparation, did you meet Ishaan Chaudhary, on whom your character is based?
We were not allowed to meet the people we were portraying in the film though I did meet Ishaan for just five minutes. The day I met him, we were going to shoot a sequence which was quite difficult. If you have seen the film, you will know that I am talking about the sequence where I am throwing my bag at the railway station. I was really nervous about shooting it because it was a make-or-break scene. 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 really overwhelming because I would be portraying him on-screen. But the first time we properly met, hung out together and spoke for a good time, was the day he watched the film at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Speaking of TIFF, The Sky Is Pink received a standing ovation. Tell us a bit about your experience there.
It was an overwhelming experience because I have never watched a film with 2,000 people and there I was watching my own film with so many people. It was very exciting as I walked the red carpet for the first time and people 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. This proves the fact that emotions transcend borders. It was not only special because of all the people in the 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 a part of that entire experience is really humbling. These are the 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 as 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 desired performance. 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.
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 multifaceted 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. It was a dream come true for me to work with them. When we were shooting in London and I had met Ishaan, I was very nervous when Priyanka came to me. She just simply told me: 'You are here because you deserve to be here.' What I basically learnt during that conversation was that self-belief is most 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 – the change has been massive. The discipline and dedication he has 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.