Actor Prateik Babbar has been working in the film industry for almost 15 years now. However, he has had a tumultuous career filled with ups and downs. After beginning on a high with films like ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’, ‘Dhobi Ghat’, ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, ‘Aarakshan’, ‘My Friend Pinto’ and others, he slowly slipped into an addiction to drugs.
However, now he has come a long way from that low point in his life. He has gotten himself cured of the addiction, made a great comeback to the silver screen, and has been getting appreciated a lot for his performances in almost every other web show that he has been coming up with these days.
Talking to Outlook, Babbar speaks up about how OTT has given him a new lease of life, and how he is enjoying this new phase of his career. Excerpts from the chat:
You have been doing many OTT shows. Are you enjoying this new medium of storytelling?
Absolutely, I am. It has opened so many doors for me and not just for me but for so many actors who kind of blew up before OTT platforms were introduced. Many actors were just sitting around and did not have anything to do but now there is no shortage of work for actors, technicians, filmmakers, writers. I think it is a great time to be working right now in the movie business.
Do you feel you never got acceptance from mainstream filmmakers or producers?
Yes, but I think it had its reasons. Maybe some of it was my own doing as I think I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted from myself as an actor and my career. I feel you live, you learn and then you grow and I am extremely thankful to the OTT platforms because it has given me the opportunity to showcase my talent. I would rather be actively working and enjoying my work. I am really enjoying working now and I owe it all to the OTT platforms. It is like a chain reaction. Because of the OTT shows, I am getting lead roles in films and vice versa. It is like one good thing leading to another.
You have been in the industry for almost 15 years. Are there any regrets?
On a more generic note, I think I don’t have any regrets besides the fact that I would have liked to show my grandparents something substantial before they passed away, which I couldn’t do. But I know they are watching me, and I know they are proud now because I have worked extremely hard to reach this point in life. It has been a journey with its own ups and downs.
Talking of family, your last release, ‘Hiccups And Hookups’ was a family story, but it had quite an unorthodox approach to the relationships in a family. Is that what attracted you to the script?
Actually, to be honest I said yes to the show even before reading the script because it was with Kunal Kohli and starring Lara Dutta and I am a huge fan of their work. So, I immediately said yes when I heard they were part of the show. It was a double treat for me when I heard the script because the story was so good. The story and my character sounded very exciting. I am lucky that I was a part of that project.
Do you have a similar bonding with your family or siblings in real life just like you had on that show?
Fortunately, yes I do have a similar bonding with my family. It is quite a ride. We talk about everything under the sun, we make fun of each other. I share a great bond with my father and my siblings.
Is it okay to be talking about everything with your parents, just like it professed on the show?
I think it should be, but of course within limits. There should obviously be a line of respect. One should respect their parents. I think if you want to be frank then that is completely fine but you also have to be respectful. Some families are of course there who are okay with using bad language and being absolutely frank about everything and making fun of each other. In fact, I have friends who share this kind of relationship with their family; making fun of each other, talking about their boyfriends with their parents, and discussing their lives and the parents being completely fine and even reciprocating and saying, “Hey, you could have done better.” I think it only makes the bond between families stronger when you can be frank and discuss everything. I think that we should normalize the fact that it is okay to talk about everything with your parents.
What after this can we see you in?
'Cobalt Blue' on Netflix. It is a heartbreaking love story. It was a novel written about 25 years ago and now we have made the film. The same person who has written the novel has also directed it. He has also won two National awards. It is Mr. Sachin Kundakar. There is also ‘Bachhan Panday’ in the pipeline, there is ‘India Lockdown’ with Madhur Bhandarkar, where I play the role of a migrant worker and in ‘Bachhan Pnadey’ I play the role of a ‘gunda’. We have ‘Four More Shots’ season 3, we have ‘Chakravyuh’ season 2. Then ‘Woh Ladki Hai Kahan’. It has three parallel leads. It is a lovely comedy drama.