Talking to Prateek Sur, he opens up about the film, playing a cricketer, the film revolving around religion, the controversies that come with religious films, his moving away from films after the success of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and lots more. Excerpts:
How did the part in ‘Hukus Bukus’ come to you?
I was performing one of my plays. Vinay Bhardwaj sir or Vinay Paaji, as we all fondly call him, was in the audience. He immediately contacted me to meet him and explained the feel of the story and the character. It took me hardly any time to say yes also.
You’re playing a cricketer in the film. Did you have to train specifically for it?
Yes, all of us play cricket in the film and have to train according to our role requirements. The core team and I trained for a few weeks, and let me tell you, I enjoyed every second of it.
You play a guy who worships Sachin Tendulkar. Just like all of us, you too grew up in an era when Sachin Tendulkar was playing and he was god for all of us. What’s your favourite memory of watching him play? Do you remember any knock of his or any tournament of his which you felt was your favourite?
As an all-time Sachin fan and a huge fan of cricket overall, I have many such memories. There is this one innings in particular. They call it the ‘Desert storm’. I’ve seen only highlights of it and always wish I could’ve witnessed it live. The atmosphere and the sheer adrenaline rush it provides. It made everyone, including me, feel like some hero.
‘Hukus Bukus’ also focuses on religious sentiments. Aren’t you worried that it could create any sort of controversy?
Yes, absolutely, the thought definitely comes as it has happened in the recent past. I always feel the intent needs to be defined in this case. Our intent is to promote unity despite being different on grounds of morals, ethics, etc. Also, one of my major reliefs was that the story doesn’t take any sides or opinions, it is just about different faiths, how those differences are viewed in today’s day and age and how we can overlook our differences and come together for the greater good.
You made your debut with ‘Taare Zameen Par’. You were the biggest star of that year and people were thinking you would be the next big superstar. But you’ve not done that many projects after that. Why so?
I took a conscious break to focus on my education. I completed my graduation and then joined the theatre to further sharpen my skills. After 7 years and completing shows all across India, I felt it was the correct time to restart working in films.
You recently did a show on OTT. Do you think OTT is a platform which is good for actors like you who act so well yet are probably not getting enough attention from mainstream film producers?
100 per cent. It’s so good because firstly it is getting the attention of so many actors as there is so much content being made. It’s simply great for everyone because, in a web show, there is more time, so every character is fleshed out and written so well, so everyone gets their place to shine. In fact, I’ve completed 2 web shows, which will be out soon.
Aamir Khan is making a sequel to Taare Zameen Par called Sitare Zameen Par. Are you aware of the film? Are you also a part of the film?
This is officially my most asked question, nothing as of yet. But you can never say never.
Did you stay in touch with Aamir Khan since ‘Taare Zameen Par’? Has he ever given you any advice on how to go about your career?
Yes, he has been kind to guide me on all the projects I’ve done, I feel now is the time to make him proud.
Coming to talk of ‘Hukus Bukus’, what’s the one takeaway from this film that you will always remember for life?
Personally, I just felt that this film proves purity exists in all of us. We just need to look deeper. Even while shooting, I felt this purity amongst the cast and crew. It really inspired me, refuelled my fire to keep going and made me very optimistic about my future. I was reminded that if you set your intent straight and follow it with clear action, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.
Lastly, what next are you working on?
There is a murder mystery film I’ve done with Adah Sharma and Sonali Kulkarni ma’am. It’s called Tibba. Directed by Gaurav Khati and produced by Dancing Shiva Films. Then there is another one with Pratik Gandhi sir, a biopic on Jyotiba Phule. There are 2 web shows I’ve completed. One is a lovely slice-of-life comedy and the other is a comedy, mystery thriller. So yeah, exciting times are ahead and even more excited to share these stories with my audience.