Abhinav Sharma is the new young actor who has risen to fame after the massive success of the new season of ‘Mismatched’ on Netflix. The handsome actor has been called the epitome of the new-age chocolate boy hero or the boy next door character. However, there is much more to this young lad than meets the eye.
Speaking to Prateek Sur, Abhinav Sharma talks about his journey, his peers, fitness, trying to avoid stereotypes and how actors these days are trying to maintain an alternate source of income. Excerpts from the candid chat:
You’ve received a good response for your recent release, 'Mismatched 2'. Tell us a bit about your journey in acting. Where did it start and how did you end up here?
I was born and brought up in New Delhi so it was during my school years that I started doing plays and skits which then carried forward to college. I went to Hansraj College at Delhi University so the theatre scene there was and still is I believe some of the finest, bravest and most inspiring works that you see. Post that I moved to New York and went to The Lee Strasberg Theatre And Film Institute which gave me the proper impetus, guidance and belief to move to Bombay, and since then It’s been what I believe to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
As a young actor auditioning is a part of the process of acting. Who are your peers whom you look up to or talk to while you’re preparing for an audition?
I think it was during my time at drama school in New York when the teachers there gave us a very detailed understanding of how the industry and the auditioning process work.
I remember being so excited for my audition classes in school, preparing with that one scene or piece of work that you’d get to perform and knowing that the best thing you can do for your career is to approach auditions like you’d approach the character once you got the job. It’s unprofessional to take an audition for granted and irrespective of how it works out no casting director ever forgets talent. So yes, I always go back to my notes from my teachers.
Young actors always end up getting stereotyped in similar kinds of roles. You’re doing a variety of characters. Is it a conscious choice to not pick up a similar chocolatey boy next door kind of role?
I was told that early on you will be cast for how you are and carry yourself in real life because nobody has really seen your work. And within that space, you need to make interesting choices and commit to them when you get the opportunity. Even the most stereotypical parts can be played around with in fun ways if you’re willing to explore and be intuitive. Having said that I feel I’m blessed to have played the roles I’ve got but I’m just getting started and am constantly trying to hone my craft. I will always try and make the braver choice compared to the comfortable one.
You’re one of the fittest young actors that we have today. How much importance does fitness have in an actor’s life?
I’ve always enjoyed it to be honest. I feel that when you’re fit, take care of yourself and are healthy it always shows in your personal and professional life. And no I do not mean you need to go to the gym and have a six pack and muscles, those are results that come over a period of time depending on what your goals are. What I’m talking about is respecting your body as an instrument and choosing some sort of physical activity that you enjoy be it Yoga, Pilates, Swimming, Dancing etc. because as artists we’re expressing through this instrument. We must take care of it.
What’s more important – having a six-pack abs to show off onscreen or having a great character to play onscreen?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s about being healthy and fit. Not about the six-pack abs.
I’m happy to play all kinds of characters and it’s important my body allows me to be flexible and fit when I approach the physicality of the part. You can always see an actor who’s stiff and not his most comfortable self through their posture and movement when they perform.
Plus what if you have to play a great character who’s also very fit? It’s a playground out there for me as an actor and I’m going to try all the swings I can.
Acting is a very uncertain job. How important is it for actors to have an alternate profession or an alternate source of income alongside acting?
I feel you need to be a mix of an idealist and a realist. At least that is what sounds the nicest. I feel when you go for it you really should go for it. There is no reason why it wouldn’t work out if you have the right intentions and work hard at your craft, opportunities will always be there and I strongly believe you create your own luck.
Having said I understand it’s easier said than done. Everything is so circumstantial and momentary so yes, if you feel you have other interests beyond this and feel like you’re as excited about exploring them as well then there’s no harm in having a plan B or C.
Do you’ve any such alternate source of income or do you know any of your friends who’re trying to juggle between acting and another profession also?
I feel it’s important to invest and use your money wisely. I credit my parents for that approach because it’ll always work out over the long haul. And yes, I actually do have friends who are exploring multiple professions along with acting and to be honest it seems like it’s working out well.
What’s coming up next from you?
We’re about to finish shooting for something very special. I hope I can share that soon, I’m excited and nervous but I’m praying and hopeful. Other than that we resume filming for 'Campus Diaries 2' soon so that’s going to be exciting. There’s a lot I wish to achieve and I’m going to work very very hard. I’m just getting started.