‘It was a dream film debut’
PRANAV SACHDEVA has been connected to acting ever since making his debut as a six-year-old on a TV drama serial, which led to further roles during his school and college days.
Despite doing a law degree to please his father, who is a lawyer himself, he reconnected with that passion for performance with roles on stage, TV and the streaming site space. Most recently, he joined the ensemble cast of big-budget Bollywood film Uunchai, which was headlined by Amitabh Bachchan.
The talented actor, who is looking forward to taking on more challenges, spoke to Eastern Eye.
Which character has been closest to your heart?
I recently played Siddharth in Uunchai, a film by Rajshri Films and directed by Sooraj Barjatya. I couldn’t have asked for a more revered director, teacher and human being, and studio to begin my film career. I got an opportunity to share screen space with every actor’s idol Mr Bachchan, as well as Anupam Kher sir, whose son I play in the film; Boman Irani sir; Neena Gupta ma’am; and many more senior actors. Playing this part was a wholesome experience
and an absolute privilege.
So what was it like to work on Uunchai with these acting icons?
The first day I was to be in a scene with Mr Bachchan I was almost peeing in my pants. When he walked in, there was this gust of fragrance. His perfume is the best I have ever smelled-obviously I never gathered the courage to ask him which one it was. Then on another day, I had to sit next to him in the scene. I just folded my hands, said namaskar and didn’t dare say anything else. They had a giant air-conditioner on us, but I was still sweating with nervousness.
What happened next?
Later Mr Bachchan broke the ice, made me comfortable. He didn’t have to, but he was kind enough to make a young actor feel included. It was an honour and blessing to be sharing the screen with the mahanayak [greatest actor] of Indian cinema.
Which has been the most challenging role that you have done?
Womanly Voices, a cineplay for ZEE5 directed by Lilette Dubey. I was required to play more than 12 different characters in this play, which was nerve-wracking and gratifying. It may have been one of the steepest learning curves I’ve had to date.
How much has acting on stage helped you when working on films and web and TV shows?
It’s been my foundation. Stage acting is the best practice for any actor. It’s instantly gratifying and gruelling as a process. It prepares you for everything and sharpens your skill set in a myriad of ways. I do it to feed my soul, and to feel and emote better in the moment.
What can we expect next from you?
I am acting in a web show I have also co-written. It’s a story I’ve carried with me from my college days. It’s inspired from an Anton Chekhov story, and I’m trying to recreate and adapt it to modern-day India.
Do you have a dream role?
(Smiles) I have many dream roles. It varies on different days and can be anything from a mythological character to something in the superhero genre. It’s dependent on what part of me is looking to express itself on that particular day.
What do you enjoy as an audience member?
Mostly light-hearted content. I love comedy, and sitcoms are my favourites.
Finally, why do you love being an actor?
I get to be a different person every day. It keeps me interested and excited, and while doing that for a living I get so much attention. Dustin Hoffman once said all actors have the ‘watch me’ syndrome. I feel like I do too. It gives me joy to be able to entertain and engage with human beings. I feel it’s an honour.