Sahil Mehta, who has had back-to-back releases in a month's period, is on cloud nine. After featuring in SonyLIV's acclaimed show Tabbar, the actor shot to fame with the release of Good Luck Jerry and now, Raksha Bandhan. He played the role of Jigar, a young man with his foot in the world of drugs and crime in Janhvi Kapoor-headlined dark comedy whereas in the Akshay Kumar-starrer, he was Gaffar, who worked at a chaat bhandar.
In an exclusive interview with PeepingMoon.com, Sahil spoke about receiving rave reviews for Good Luck Jerry and Raksha Bandhan. The actor further shed light on his preparation for the diverse roles. Sahil reacted to the 'Boycott Raksha Bandhan' trend and trolls slamming Janhvi on nepotism grounds.
Excerpts from the interview:
You’ve had a great month. It started with Good Luck Jerry and now Raksha Bandhan is here. Does this give you a sense of validation?
Of course! People liking my work, texting me randomly on social media, makes me feel satisfied and content. As an artist, the most important thing you care about is appreciation and I believe, I am getting more than enough. I am so grateful. God is kind. Also, it gives you validation, that maybe you’re somewhere on the right path.
Good Luck Jerry and Raksha Bandhan are very different from each other. How did you approach the films and your characters?
I think every actor has their own way of approaching a character. For me, it all depends on the script. There’s every ingredient in it that you need to prepare for the role you’re working on. Like for Jigar in Good Luck Jerry, I had to grow my beard, monobrow, and my hair all over my body, as Sikh people don’t cut their hair at all. So I didn’t want to cheat and genuinely wanted to have that feeling of being a Sikh myself. I remember putting oil over my body and soaking in the sunlight for some days, to get some tan, as my character demanded a bit of a rough and not-so-fair complexion. Makers were kind enough to give me a real gun, of course without the real bullets, for me to have that feeling of handling and playing with it. Siddharth (Sen) Sir, my director, helped me a lot in shaping the character, we used to have readings, on how he would look, how he would walk, and slowly and steadily it took a shape, which people are really liking with God’s grace.
For Gaffar in Raksha Bandhan, someone who works at a ‘Chaat corner’ in a famous outlet in Delhi. I think I have been quite observant since the beginning, as I grew up in Central Delhi. I have seen characters like that, very sharp, very blunt, but you know every person has their emotional side to them, which I felt would give an extra layer to my character. I dyed my hair blonde and did research on famous chaat shops in Delhi. Aanand (Rai) Sir, my director and producer on the film, gave me the freedom to explore as much as I could, which I think is most important for an actor. I’m glad to be a part of such beautiful films.
Do you remember your reaction when you were finalised for both films?
Mukesh Chhabra Casting Company has shown immense faith in testing me for such nice characters. I got a call from Harshit, from Mukesh Sir’s team, that I have been finally locked for Good Luck Jerry. I auditioned for Jagdish and Jigar, both of the characters, but then finally got locked for Jigar, and I was really so excited to get that opportunity to play such kind of a character.
Post that, while I was shooting for Tabbar, I got a call for Raksha Bandhan, from the same casting team, that Aanand Sir and Akshay (Kumar) Sir have seen my self-tape of Good Luck Jerry and would like me to be a part of Raksha Bandhan. I was so damn excited to hear that, cut to, I was shooting with Mr Akshay Kumar who is a gem of a person. Such a sweet man, got us homemade food on the sets, we used to have lunch together. So much to learn!
Raksha Bandhan is being called regressive. What’s your say on this?
I think it’s all about the perspective. As Sadia (Khateeb), my co-actor, rightly said, how siblings are genuinely at home. I mean, me and my sister fight so much, we say what not to each other, doesn’t mean, we don’t respect each other and or have any hatred for each other. And for the film, for makers to give a solution, they need to show the problem that really exists.
People are boycotting Raksha Bandhan. How do you look at this situation?
I have seen people crying, being emotional, being happy, coming out of the theatres after watching Raksha Bandhan. “Bohot achee film banayi hai”, “Sabko dekhni chahiye”, “Bohot acha message hai”, “Behen bhai ka pyaar dikhaya hai”, that’s all I have heard about the film. Of course, some people make opinions based on other people’s thoughts, which I think is not right.
I would request people to take their families to the cinemas and give us a chance to serve them with happiness and emotions for 1 hour and 50 minutes and then take a call if they need to boycott or love Raksha Bandhan.
When Good Luck Jerry was about to release, people were slamming Janhvi on ‘nepotism’ grounds. How did you react to it?
I don’t appreciate that to be honest. I believe we as audience should focus more on the glass being half full and not on the other side. No matter what, one should see the film and then talk about how good Janhvi is in Good Luck Jerry. She has done a brilliant job in the film. Such a hardworking person. No matter where you come from, you have to be on your knees and work hard to entertain your viewers. And till the time you are able to do it, the rest of the things are of no value then.
What’s next for you?
Something very interesting, but can’t really disclose as of now.