I’ll love to do a sports biopic: Abhimanyu

 I’ll love to do a sports biopic: Abhimanyu

It is never too easy to play a challenging role in your debut movie. Perhaps the reason most newcomers prefer making an entry into the Hindi film industry with run-of-the-mill masala movies. But then there are actors who dare to be different, choose a thought-provoking role and leave everyone impressed with their stupendous performance. One such actor is Abhimanyu Dassani who played a person suffering from a rare medical condition in his debut movie.

In a conversation with Saurabh Tankha, Abhimanyu talks about the challenges he faced in his first Hindi movie, the genre of movies he would love attempting, what he does when he is not breathing films and why people have so many expectations from star kids (he is actress Bhagyashri’s son).

How challenging was it to play a person suffering from a rare medical condition in your debut movie?
Playing Surya in Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota opened me up and enlightened me as an actor. It taught me a lot about myself I didn’t know. It was an intense, intricate and extended process to reach the character which took several months. We did a lot of research about the disease and how people react to it. We got on to online chat stores where people have conversations about such diseases. I spoke to a patient in Chicago to understand how she lives with a similar disease. We also did research on how Surya would feel emotionally as a child because he did not grow up seeing the outside world as he was stuck in the house with his grandfather who doesn’t let him talk. Hence, he would have a certain amount of innocence and not know certain emotions as he didn’t experience them. My last three months went into isolation from society except my trainers and director to get a better understanding of the character. I also understood what flaws I had while growing up and what insecurities I developed during this period. As a result, I came out stronger and understand myself better now.



When did you decide to give acting a shot?
While shifting from business to business, I realised what turns me on is creating something from scratch. I was not made for a 9 to 5 job, follow the same routine daily. After shifting a few projects, I realised I can keep creating a new project in the film industry. Back in 2009, I was an assistant director in Dum Maro Dum, trying to explore what filmmaking is all about. I was kept away from the film industry by my parents as they didn’t want me to get into this. Once I was on sets, I felt the energy and wanted to keep going back. A big shout out to Rohan Sippy for teaching me filmmaking and Abhishek Bachchan for being a guide which helped me take the decision to become an actor.

Why do audiences and critics have so many expectations from star kids?
It is all about branding. If you know a certain brand has done well and you venture out with a new one, you expect the new product to be of, at least, the same quality and level than the previous one. So, the expectations from the new product increase manifold. That is how human tendencies work and that is the pressure someone who has a parent in the same industry have upon themselves. You are expected to be equally good. Everyone forgets they are separate entities and should be treated differently, evaluated differently.


I would like to do a sports biopic or a sports fiction film as it motivates people, inspires them


Which genre of movies would you want to do?
I look forward to playing an Indian athlete ie doing a sports biopic or a sports fiction film as it motivates people, inspires them. I would love to be the source of that motivation, that inspiration. The dedication, sacrifice and discipline required in the field of sports is unparalleled.

Will we get to see you in a web series soon?
I would love to do an OTT project if I like the subject. I spend a lot of watching these shows and films. Who knows may I pick up something next year. I think it is exciting that the subjects we see on OTT get that opportunity as a lot of these subjects would have never made it to the big screen. And a number of actors are getting an opportunity to prove their talent.


Cooking is my first love. In fact, I fell in love with food before I fell in love with anything else


How has the period of Covid-19 treated you?
It has been an eye-opening experience as no one could think the world would come to a standstill. It is important to accept things you can’t change and manoeuvre yourself around them as also to adapt yourself according to the new circumstances. I have enjoyed this process — spent time with family and understood the patterns I follow of where I come from, what I want to achieve and how I should be going about it. I have been focussing on my flaws and faults I should reduce. I have spent a lot of time meditating and cooking.

What is Abhimanyu doing when is not breathing films?
I am a big football fan, a diehard Arsenal supporter. I enjoy listening to music, working out, going for long drives, watching films. During this lockdown period, I have found love for writing and hope it reaches somewhere. I love cooking too. In fact, it is my first love. I fell in love with food before I fell in love with anything else. So, it is football, food, films and fitness for me.


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