Sidharth Malhotra On Thriving In The Big League
Man's World|September 2021
On thriving in the big league, and his performance of the year in Amazon Prime Video’s Shershaah
Ananya Swaroop

My earliest memory of Sidharth Malhotra is of him getting down from a bike in Student Of The Year, while Kukkad Kamaal Da plays in the background. He plays this young, shy, and adorably handsome small-town boy entering the world of the ‘Ambanis’ in his debut film. The actor, who started working as a trainee assistant director to Karan Johar for his 2010 film My Name Is Khan, made a notable debut in SOTY, and became a bankable name in no time. A decade later, here he still is, winning hearts with his performances, and wowing the audience with his diverse choice of stories.

Malhotra has been away from the set life for some time, and the announcement of his war film, Shershaah, came as a surprise for his fans. The audience loves to see him play roles that are on the softer side, but they were excited to see how the actor steps into the shoes of Captain Vikram Batra, and tells one of the most iconic war stories of India. It is not like Malhotra hasn’t essayed gritty characters on screen before. His roles in films like Marjaavaan, Aiyaary, A Gentleman, and Ek Villain were quite a treat to watch, but seeing him essay the role of a martyr, that too in the genre that everyone loves, is exciting. The music of the film is doing really well too, and everyone who has watched the film is in favour of Malhotra’s performance. Shershaah is currently the talk of the town, and I was eager to know Malhotra’s side of the story — the training, the shooting, and the pros and cons of doing a war film.

Patriotic films are always loved by the audience, so that could be one reason why an actor would want to be a part of it. But apart from that, what made you say yes to this film?

I feel a good film is always loved. There are examples of patriotic films that have not worked. I won’t say that there’s any genre that’s a definite hit with the audience. As a film and a story, it has to be done well. For me, when I met Vishal Batra, Captain Vikram Batra’s twin brother, and Shabbir Boxwala, the producer, just knowing this common boy from Palampur, this lovable, good-hearted Punjabi boy exhibiting a lot of positive energy, was reason enough to say yes to the film. Going on the Kargil War at 24, doing the most difficult missions, and inspiring his troops, it was such a special story that I felt it needed to be told. We have heard enough about him or read about him in snippets or articles or some news channels, but the attempt was that it has to be made a certain way over a journey of five years. Different teams, different directors, different production houses, a lot of hands have been changed and luckily, I’ve been the only constant to have finally been able to arrive here at this point. I want this to be remembered in the correct light, with the correct intention.

You’ve shot some crazy action scenes, and training scenes. What was one of the most tiring days on the shoot?

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