CONSIDERING that it is now becoming increasingly impossible for outsiders to break into Bollywood, Siddhant Chaturvedi’s achievements are impressive.
The versatile actor leapt from web serials to cinema with a stunning supporting role in multi-award winning 2019 movie, Gully Boy, and has since worked hard to carve a space for himself. He has followed up that awardwinning debut with films from different genres and continues to cross those creative horizons with Kho Gaye Hum Kahan.
The coming-of-age drama, due to have a Netflix premiere next Tuesday (26, sees him star alongside Adarsh Gourav and Ananya Panday in the story of three young friends taking on life’s challenges. The movie, produced by Hindi cinema heavyweights Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Ritesh Sidwani and Farhan Akhtar, will add to the actor’s story of rising from humble beginnings to film stardom.
Eastern Eye caught up with him to discuss his journey so far, new film, friendship and future hopes.
How do you reflect on your action-packed start to Indian cinema?
It’s been a great journey so far. I have no complaints and feel really fortunate to be able to live my dream. It has been wonderful to work with so many great people, and I hope that continues.
What did you like about your new film, Kho Gaye Hum Kahan?
The writing in this film was so relatable. I like that it’s a film about friendship. It’s also about you and me. It’s about the digital age and how it impacts our personal choices. Also, it’s an overall fun, feel-good film. I know that everyone will resonate with it, be they from any age or background, including millen nials and Gen-Zs.
Tell us about the character you play?
(Smiles) For that, you will have to watch the movie when it premieres later this month.
What was the biggest challenge of playing this character?
Well, that it’s nowhere close to me – isn’t that the point? I like pushing myself out of my comfort zone – doing things that come easy to me are boring. So, when you see the film, you’ll know, I guess, what I mean. I really enjoyed the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone.
How does this compare to other films that you have been in?
One thing you will notice after looking at the projects I have done so far is that I never repeat myself. I don’t play it safe. I like trying different stuff – some might doubt my choices, but I’m playing a long game and don’t want to be stereotyped in a particular type of role.
I want to challenge the mould of a conventional Hindi film hero. I’m trying my hardest to do that with my roles. It might take time, but until then I’m just enjoying the journey.
Are you hoping Kho Gaye Hum Kahan appeals to a particular demographic?
This really is a film for everyone. It’s for anybody who’s close to their friends. Everyone who is on social media. (Smiles) Everyone who loves watching a light-hearted, fun film after a Sunday brunch.
What would you say is your own favourite moment in the movie?
There are many great moments in this film, and that makes it special. I don’t want to spoil it by going into specifics. But all the moments with the friends, including the banter, dancing, partying and songs, are great. So is my job, which is performing the stand-up sets.
What was it like working with Adarsh Gourav and Ananya Panday? I
t has been a dream working with them. I think we became good friends in the process. They are so much fun to hang out with on and off set. I think that chemistry has translated onscreen.
This film is about friendship. How much do your close friends mean to you?
A lot. All my friends from college, chartered accountant days and struggles have only ever been supportive and made me feel complete.
Whenever I used to feel low after a bad screen test or a rejection, they used to be there for me. From sharing notes in college to sharing memes, they have been so amazing and real. Most important, they keep me grounded. I feel blessed to have them in my life.
It is probably unfair to ask, but is there one friend that you can always rely on?
I can’t choose just one. Everyone’s got their own qualities and way of being. Some are blunt! Others are sensitive and always know when to be what – they will pick me up in low times and make fun of me on high days. They don’t care much about the stardom. They all treat me as they did before I made it. That’s special and something I really appreciate.
How do you feel about this film having a straight-to-streaming site premiere instead of a cinema release?
I can’t think of a better digital platform than Netflix for this movie to be shown. It’s my most-used app. I’m really glad that this particular film is premiering on it. As the film is about the digital age, there is nothing better than watching it on a platform like this.
I’ll save the next one for the silver screen though, as it’s a high-octane action spectacle. So, Kho Gaye Hum Kahan is just a perfect fit for Netflix. I hope everyone enjoys it.
Will you be making a new year resolution?
(Laughs) Yes, I will, just like everyone else does on the spur of the moment, and never ends up following it. I too shall try again this time. I believe in manifestation more than resolutions, to be honest, and there’s a lot to achieve yet, so fingers crossed.
Your choices have been unpredictable so far. What is the master plan going forward?
You can work hard and do things with the best intentions, but nobody truly knows what is going to happen next. I believe in short-term goals and a long-term vision. The industry dynamics keep shifting every day, so right now I am just going with the flow. I am trying to make good content, while figuring it out along the way.
Do you have a dream role?
Yes, for sure. I want to do the (cricketer) Yuvraj Singh biopic. I’ve been manifesting it since I was a kid, and I hope this reaches him.
What inspires you as an actor?
To be able to live so many lives. Also, the empathy, love, my dad’s dream, where I come from, the blessings, the race to be the greatest, the uncertainty, exposure, expectations and challenges. They all inspire me. It’s not the limelight – it’s the brightest light at the end that I’m chasing.
Tell us something about you that not many people know?
That I love writing, playing the guitar and making music. Yes, I might drop a few singles in the coming year – not sure though, but let’s see.
Why should we all watch Kho Gaye Hum Kahan?
It’s a good film. It’s fresh and new. We haven’t had a film like this in a while, so if you’re done with all the gunfights and goons dropping face-first on screen this year, end it with a heart-warming, feel-good vibe. Also, it’s a long weekend when the film will start streaming, so the best time of the year. Gather your friends and make a plan. I promise there’ll be a group hug situation by the end of the film.