In conversation: Pulkit Samrat goes dark for 'Taish'
Bollywood actor will be seen in dark, edgy thriller by Bejoy Nambiar
With his typical chocolate boy look, Pulkit Samrat could easily have tread the tried and tested path in Bollywood. The actor, who kick-started his glam career with modelling and went on to do a stint in the iconic Indian soap opera Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, debuted on the big screen with Bittoo Boss in 2012.
Then followed his career defining Fukrey that paved the way for a series of romantic comedies including Veerey Ki Wedding and Pagalpanti.
This week Pulkit undergoes a transformation of sorts as he hits the screens with Taish, Bejoy Nambiar’s revenge drama that drops on ZEE5 as a feature film as well as a 6-part web series on October 29.
The thriller, originally marked for a full-blown theatrical release, showcases Pulkit alongside an ensemble cast including Jim Sarbh, Kriti Kharbanda, Sanjeeda Shaikh, Saurab Sachdeva and Harshvardhan Rane.
The actor, however, has no qualms about the format of the release, stressing he feels blessed to be working with immensely talented teams, fabulous directors and an amazing cast in each and every project of his.
“I’ve been lucky to be a part of each and every medium. Life decided this for me — I just decided to follow the dream,” he tells us over a Zoom conversation.
Working with Bejoy (Shaitan, Wazir) is a dream come true for the actor who asserts the critically acclaimed director was part of his bucket list of filmmakers to associate with. “His cinema is very edgy, contemporary and the characters are very relatable. He doesn’t leave the greys out... This is something I always wanted to explore.”
As for sharing the screen with a host of other actors, Pulkit brushes off any hint of insecurity asserting he prefers working with like-minded people who share his passion. The script is always a priority, he adds, but on many occasions, “it is the people I get to work with that has been my bigger criteria.”
“Ensembles don’t matter to me — my first film Bittoo Boss was a solo and Fukrey happened to be an ensemble. So at the very beginning of my career I was blessed with both the ways of being part of the storytelling canvas and I learnt right there that the film is what matters.
Kriti on the set
Pulkit and Kriti are among the rare Bollywood couples who don’t believe in hiding their relationship from the media. The lockdown saw them isolating together with their social media platforms bearing testimony to their camaraderie. The actor claims he got to know the latter had also signed up for the thriller much later. He is clear that both of them keep their professional and personal lives separate. “I’ve been a fan of hers even before I met her,” he avers. “I admire her and the way she conducts herself and her body of work — I respect her as a colleague,” he goes on to elaborate.
The duo have acted together previously in Veerey Ki Wedding (2018) and Pagalpanti (2019).
“It’s a delight to have her on the sets cause she is so passionate and hardworking and it’s very infectious. She also approaches her character in a spontaneous way and that’s the kind of work I also like to do. So that’s why I say we connected as colleagues way before we connected as lovers.”
Movie Vs. Web Series
Taish was originally conceived as a film and shot as one. “ZEE5 loved the content so much, they wanted it as a series as well. And Bejoy being Bejoy took up the challenge and decided to have two different storytelling methods for both the formats; so the film is one and the series will be a little more indulgent with a cliffhanger at the end of every 30 minutes.”
So has life come full circle for the actor who started off with television? “I feel blessed to be able to perform on every kind of platform/medium — from theatre, to the OTT platform — life has got me to this point,” he says.
Pulkit is the classic case of an outsider who made his presence felt in an industry that has been vilified for prioritising their own at the expense of other equally talented artists. But the actor who appears very calm and measured throughout our interview has no bones to pick.
“I came as an outsider, but today I am an insider because I was welcomed by the people here. They showed belief in me. They put the trust in me, they had the faith I could pull off a Bittoo Boss and a Hunny in Fukrey; they had faith that I will be able to do a Sanam Re and romance the girls as well; that I’d be able to do a Pagalpanti and tickle the funny bones…”
It is all about keeping on “working and not being attached to what’s being spoken or misrepresented in many manner.”
“I feel as a family we all stand together. We are all ready to bounce back whatever the hard times or happy times — we are all in this together.”
He is grateful so many people from the industry have shown faith in him. “Ekta (Kapoor) was the one who decided I could pull off a Lakshya Virani in Kyunki…
“Kumar ji (Mangat, producer) had faith in me in that I could play the titular role of Bittoo Boss. Then there was Fukrey — Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani giving me a chance, being an outsider, saying we have faith in you though we have access to so many stars in the industry.”
With theatres shut for a long time and shooting at a standstill, worldwide the film industry has had a tough time adjusting to the pandemic. Pulkit says his biggest takeaway during the period was that you need to “just keep working. There is no other formula to success or surviving or to be happy in life.”
“Just keep working,” he adds, “without being attached to the result.”
“I never take success to my head and never take failure to my heart; that’s how I keep things balanced,” he concludes.