Amit Sadh’s journey may have taken a slower route, but his career graph is proof that slow and steady wins the race, and can look dapper while doing so.
Remember the really cute heart-throb Aditya from Kyun Hota Hai Pyarrr? Yes, that was 20 years ago, and I wouldn’t completely blame you if that’s not the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of Amit Sadh, who stood out as Omi In Kai Po Che! first, moving on to more roles, be it an Akira, or a Sultan, and beyond. Sadh hasn’t had the easiest journey, but he’s more than happy with how it’s been, and warmly discusses the growth, taking a break, and the space he’s in today. While you may not be too familiar with his debut, Sadh looks back at his kickstart fondly. “Kyun Hota Hai Pyarrr was a great opportunity at a young age. There was so much learning from my peers, it really gave me hope that I would do well. It set up a good foundation to build on and it got me visibility, which is so important as a young actor,” he recalls.
From commercial TV to reality shows to finally the big screen, Sadh wasn’t someone who was medium-oriented. He just wanted to act. “Over the years, I’ve worked hard. There is this theory that film actors are better actors, which, I believe, is untrue. A good actor is a good actor, despite the format. Back in those days, TV was made in a different style. It was more melodramatic, and there was a lot of camera work to emphasise emotion. Films were done a little more truthfully,” he describes. Very candid about the toughest of times, Sadh feels like the wait to get his due was quite unpleasant. He was filled with self doubt, and felt like it’s all too hard. But, he had to keep trying, and boy, are we glad he did. “I woke up each day, and attempted to love again. It took its time, but God showed some mercy, and things got better,” he optimistically says.
20 years is not a short time. There have been blessings, and he’s learned his lessons too. There was a period in between when Sadh went off the grid to take a break to better his skills. What have been his biggest blessings, and hardest lessons? “I went away to better myself as an actor, and as a person. I then came back, and worked even harder to find work again. It took a little while. But the lesson is, it’s okay to go away to work on your craft. You see people take breaks in other fields, but if an actor does it, we all think he’s fallen off,” he says. Sadh’s performance in both the seasons of Breathe have made people sit up and take notice. He breathed life into Kabir, and the complexed nuances of the character had a life of their own. Does he think of such things when he looks at a script? “I just look for human stories. Something that explores the challenges of life. Something that people can watch and see themselves. I also need to work on projects that answer life’s questions and help better the society. Breathe was written and executed so well, something that I could sink my teeth into. Kabir was an interesting character with so many layers, it’s a character that actors dream of playing,” he responds.
Life and work started snowballing after his break, and he’s had a plethora of releases in the past two years. It’s been an exhausting ride, sure, and Sadh is ready for his next break (laughs). “It’s been intense. Although, I would love to take a bit of a break again at some point, to relax and focus on myself a little. Maybe travel a little and just live life without work, for a while. One has to earn and make more moments to be able to come back on a film set, and share those moments. If you don’t do that, you become repetitive, and could be boring for your audience,” he adds. The OTT space embracing actors and film-makers is a conversation that’s only been evolving with time. Sadh has established himself in the OTT world so well, and he believes the power of the audience on these platforms is real. “OTT has allowed the power to be in the hands of the viewer. With OTT, streaming services can see what people actually watch and enjoy, and they can make shows according. I hope that streaming services take more risks with the shows they put out, and also have shows that truly represent today’s diverse society. I hope they tell stories from people that didn’t have a voice in the past,” he says.
While he hopes his own work diversifies as well, he does believe some stories are meant for the silver screen. After all, we’ve heard this multiple times in this year itself, theatre and cinema is a way of life for people. The silver screen can never be replaced by OTT, according to Sadh. “I think as a society, we need to get out and enjoy places like the theatre and cinemas, and not always binge-watch at home by ourselves. It’s important to go out with our loved ones and not sit in isolation, especially from a mental health point of view. A balance of both is great,” he chuckles, and adds that as an actor, the process for the silver screen and the OTT space are very similar, but the execution of production is what’s different. Like most of us, Sadh’s lockdown has given him time to reflect. And connect with himself. That being said, Sadh is quick to point out how as a society, we have forgotten about the working people at the ‘bottom’. “Big businesses have been bailed out, but the hardworking people that run our country have been overlooked. They’ve been forgotten about, with little money. I’ve seen it and read about it firsthand — families are having to survive on basics. It breaks my heart to see the very people who are so essential to our society, being overlooked and not loved. They’re the ones that clean our streets, make our coffee in the morning, deliver our groceries, grow and pick our vegetables, they take care of us when we are in the hospital. They’re the real heroes,” he says, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Recently, Sadh took a break from social media when he commenced shooting for Zidd. While social media is one way to connect with your fans and give them a glimpse into who you are, the toxicity of trolling can be a heavy price, and he feels the best way to deal with negativity is with love. “People who are angry, violent, abusive etc. just need someone to care about them, someone who is nice, and actually listens to them. No one is born toxic. Their environment and experiences make them toxic. Maybe we can change their outlook on life with just one good gesture,” he earnestly suggests. Fair enough, although it sounds like a mighty task. Sadh fondly remembers Sushant Singh Rajput, from their Kai Po Che! days. He remembers Rajput’s enthusiasm and desire to achieve, and believes that’s what makes his memories of Rajput so special.
Keeping aside the mudslinging and the whodunnit debates, the real conversation about mental health, and the importance of reaching out has somewhere gotten lost. The need to destigmatise, to break down toxic masculinity, is more than ever before. Sadh believes we all need to be kinder. “We need to create a society where reaching out is easier. Suicide rate in men is high, and we need to stop creating this pressure on men to be ‘tough’, to always be strong and hard. The strongest men are empathetic, kind, and soft. We, as movie makers, can change this. Let’s push stories that change people’s perception of how men should be strong, and emotionally unavailable all the time. Lets show more men breaking down and crying, and that being okay. Let’s show how women stand by our sides, and take the lead. This will go towards empowering women too,” he suggests. Here’s to change, good change, and actors who know the value of bringing their best selves on our screens.