Home » Saurabh Shukla says he made some ‘tough choices’ in his career, ‘felt a jolt’ when Shamshera failed

Saurabh Shukla says he made some ‘tough choices’ in his career, ‘felt a jolt’ when Shamshera failed

by Joe Bourn

Saurabh Shukla has given us some memorable characters like Kailash in Bandit Queen, Kallu Mama in Satya, Justice Tripathi in Jolly LLB, Inspector Sudhanshu Dutta in Barfi And much more. The veteran actor has proven his versatility in more than a hundred films and continues to entertain audiences with his choices in films and web shows, the latest being Popcorn?

While most Bollywood comedies are exaggerated and ‘stylised’, Saurabh prefers to stay close to reality. Sometimes it tickles our funny bone and sometimes it brings out the tear ducts. In this interview with indianexpress.com, the actor talks about his almost 30-year journey as an actor and why he enjoys this phase in his career.

Ask him what part of the current phase of his career he enjoys the most and Saurabh says it’s the “realism” in today’s films. “I don’t even feel like I’ve been here long enough to make a difference. Pehle bhi acchha kaam karne wale log the, and not so acchha kaam karne wale log the, aaj bhi waisa hi hai (There have always been people who work well and those who don’t). Even today, if you look at it overall, when it comes to story choices and how one chooses to act, then we move more towards naturalism or realism. It’s a good time for actors because now in a film you have all shades to play — you can be funny, humorous, quirky, sad, dramatic — and I personally really like that trend,” he says.

Saurabh said that there was a period in his career when some of the films he acted in were never released. He added that he “felt a jolt” when his last big film – Shamshera with Ranbir Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt – failed at the box office. “There are so many films that I have done that are not known to the world, but while I was making the film I had a lot of fun. And later when I saw the movie, I was very happy with myself for choosing this movie. But then there was something in the film that didn’t work and the film didn’t make it to the world. It’s part of the game, at the end of it.”

The actor also shared that he has won only one National Award in his long career of around three decades. He received one in 2014 for Best Supporting Actor in Jolly LLB (2013).

“I haven’t won any awards, not many. (I have received) a National Award and a Screen Award. The National Award was a surprise as I didn’t know I would get it. I thought I would be the happiest man on earth. But to tell the truth, the day I got the award, I was very happy, but not as happy as when I made the film. It’s the same thing. So, uh success hua for nahi huai don’t think (it matters), yes of course, you get a jolt because it wasn’t accepted yaarbut that’s it, then you move on,” the actor shared.

The 60-year-old actor also spoke about the world appreciating his work and how he has to make some very “difficult choices”. The actor says he realized this during an interaction with a fan. “I have a very touching story. Because of being in movies, people look at you and say flattering things like, ‘aap wohi actor hai na… aapko sab jaante hai (You’re that actor, everybody knows it)”. So I was coming back from New York, it was an Air India flight. there were many Indians and it was like a mini India. So when you walk down the hall, you meet a lot of people. I graciously accepted people’s comments and moved with a steady smile on my face. Many people approached me, talked to me, shook hands. One of those people, a man told me, “Mr. Shukla, I am a big fan of yours,” so I thanked him and moved on. This man turned to me, tapped me on the shoulder and said “I just want to make a correction — I’m more of a fan of your choices.”

“That shook me and I turned and looked at this man and suddenly my whole life flashed before me. For a second, it was a very emotional moment for me because I realized that the man knows that these choices were not easy… I often got confused or thought I was wrong or lost,” he concluded.

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