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Prateik is a man of few words... and a lot of pauses.
When Patcy N met up with him to interview him about his forthcoming film, Issaq, Prateik chose his words *very* carefully, turning each one in his head before finally saying it aloud.
In this brief conversation, that lasted a l-o-n-g time, Prateik talked about Issaq, why he prefers to be called by his first name only, and of course, about his famous mother Smita Patil.
From your first film, Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na in 2008, to Issaq, how has the journey been so far?
Slow, steady, long, assuring, but steady. Fun and worthwhile.
Why did you choose Issaq?
One, the Romeo-Juliet story. It’s a universal love story, it can reach out to anyone, everywhere.
Two, (director) Manish Tiwary. The way he had written the script and the way he adapted it to the language he used. The drama he put in, I couldn’t get my eyes off it.
Tragic love stories do really well in Bollywood. Do you think this will work well for you?
I don’t know if it is going to work. That answer I will get only after the film is out and once we get audience approval.
I am satisfied in terms of the kind of film I have worked on and the character I got to explore.
We just have to keep our hopes up and depend on all the effort that we have put in, and let’s hope it pays off.
You were going to show Issaq to your mentor Aamir Khan...
Yeah, I was. But he was busy with doing many other things.
I would love for him to see the movie. We will manage a screening for him.
Why do you want to show him the movie?
He is the reason I am in this industry today. Well, one of the reasons.
I did my first two movies (Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na and Dhobi Ghaat) under his production house. He looked after me. He always wanted me in the film so I would like him to watch the film.
Your last few films didn’t do well-- Aarakshan, Ek Deewana Tha, My Friend Pinto. How did you cope with that?
You win some, you lose some.
You get hit you don’t get hit, but it’s not about how hard you get hit. I think it’s about how hard you get hit, then still get up and deliver an even harder punch. I think that’s what it is all about. I am learning along the way.
What was it like shooting in Varanasi for Issaq?
Unbelievable. It is a beautiful city, a very spiritual city that shows the essence of our country.
You have the Ganga flowing there, you have the beautiful mandirs. They give you a sense of calm. If you are in the city, you will feel it. Yeah, it is worth the time spent there.
Your co-star Amyra Dastur has really good things to say about you. What was it like working with her?
Full respect to Amyra.
We were all nervous about what she could and could not do but she is the heart of the film. She took us all by surprise.
What was the most difficult part of shooting this movie?
Everything. Nothing was easy in this film. I had to transform myself.
In what way?
My physical appearance, body language, my voice, my diction, my focus, my intellect had to be on board 24/7.
It was hard, but worth the effort.
Do you think people still compare you to your mother?
Sure, they always will.
The lady made a huge name for herself. Unfortunately, she isn’t alive, but, sure, I will be compared to her.
I think my only duty as a son would be to do what she did or do it even better.
Why did you drop your surname?
I never dropped my surname. That story is floating around.
I like to be called Prateik. Obviously I am Prateik Babbar but I would like to be called Prateik. I am superstitious; there is a spiritual reason why.
Something to do with numerology?
No, no. Prateik means symbol so I symbolise certain things in my life.
My mother and her legacy, Indian cinema, it’s very spiritual.
If not an actor what would you do?
I would be something to do with sports. Something to do with entertainment, could be newsreader like my mum, or a politician like my dad. Maybe a singer, but definitely in entertainment.
Amyra says she is a very shy person but it seems to me that you are even more shy...
I don’t know.
You take time to open up?
I guess, yeah (repeats this four times).
Where are you most comfortable?
In my house. On the film sets.