Actor Aayush Sharma has been garnering a lot of praise for his latest release ‘Antim’, where he is seen co-starring with superstar Salman Khan. In a heartfelt conversation, Sharma speaks up about how it was to shoot with his real-life brother-in-law. Also, he reveals why he took such a long time to come up with his second film, and what all he had to go through to ensure he doesn’t look and feel exactly like what he played in his first film, ‘Love Yatri’. Excerpts from the chat:
Why did it take you so long to come up with a second film after ‘Love Yatri’?
I had a certain kind of feedback from the movie (‘Love Yatri’) and I just felt that there was no need of coming back with the same kind of films because then you get very stereotyped as a hero that only does a particular kind of films. The kind of offers that I was getting included movies having almost the same storyline, for instance, a boy and girl, coming together and then falling apart and then again they come back together and finally have a happy ending. If I became a part of those films, it would have become very repetitive of what I had done in ‘Love Yatri’.
Among all the scripts offered to you then, what stood out for ‘Antim’?
At the same time, when I was offered ‘Antim’, I had to get into the character I needed time because it was very different and new. I had to go back to the drawing board and I had to change myself. I had to present myself in a different light. I just felt that it was a great opportunity. Playing a grey character in a certain film is something which not a lot of actors get a chance to do. So, I felt that this was the kind of space I needed to fit myself into. I had to really undo the kind of work that I had done in ‘Love Yatri’ and restructure myself to come back to do ‘Antim’. It was more of a process.
What was the process like?
I had to put on a lot of weight and look convincing enough to play the role. It took me a lot of time to gain the muscles, it took me almost a year to gain weight itself. I was 50 kg when I was doing ‘Love Yatri’, and when I was doing ‘Antim’ I was 76 kg. So, to gain the 16 kg took a lot of time. Changing of voice, changing your performance style, your way of acting requires time. ‘Antim’ is completely opposite to what I have done earlier. I did not want to rush into it because I believed that it is a special project. Being in a film starring Salman Khan is a great deal. It is a big film. So, I needed to do justice to the role as an actor.
Were you nervous while doing action sequences with Salman Khan?
When you are doing action on sets, all the necessary precautions are being taken to make sure it is a safe stunt. However, there is always a risk of getting hurt because we had to do close combat. In order to make it believable for the audience, we had to do very close combats. However, we had to keep in mind not to harm our co-stars. One second of bad calculation can lead to a serious injury. In action sequences, there are chances that you are connected to somebody else and vice versa. I knew that some sort of mishap could take place. However, my fear was not about being able to connect, but all my nervousness was about the fact that I was to perform an action sequence with a superstar.
So, what did you do?
While growing up we have also watched him (Salman Khan) as an actor and realising that you would be in the same frame with him, obviously will make one nervous. I have always looked up to him as an actor; we used to ape him or try to be him and performing an action sequence with him was a great deal. It was more about the respect that I have for him. My respect for him made me nervous while holding his neck, punching him or kicking him. It came really in the way of our sequences. His seniority created a lot of nervousness. There were certain instances when I got so into the sequence that I may have hurt him and then I used to keep apologizing and always tried to make sure if he was okay.
What would Salman Khan say then?
He would just brush it off by saying that he has done it for 50 years and he is completely fine. He never asked for a body double to do the stunts because it can get very difficult for a body double to come in because most of the time a body double will not have that kind of a physique that will match your own body. Salman Bhai was very open about it and he asked me to leave aside everything give my best to it because you need to convince the audience that you are worthy of standing in this position and that you deserve to be where you are today. Even when I got demotivated and thought that I could not do it, he used to motivate me. He motivated me to fight for my right.