As their very first film, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas hits theatres, visibly excited actors, Karan Deol and Sahher Bambba talk
to Titas Chowdhury about the anxiousness of getting their film out, the taskmaster that director Sunny Deol is and where they want their career to go hereon
Titas Chowdhury (TC): When your first film hits the theatres, do all those days of apprehensions and nervousness feel worth it?
Karan Deol (KD): It really does.
Sahher Bambba (SB): Absolutely! After giving two years of our lives and putting in so much effort, and not only by us but the entire crew, it is a great feeling to see that everybody can watch the film now, including our families and friends.
KD: This past week I was just remaining calm until I could see what the outcome was. I was a little uptight about it. So much so, that I even planned to keep my phone off till Friday evening but that didn’t happen.
TC: But the nervousness is understandable.
KD: Along with that there is also anxiousness.
SB: Yeah. Anxiousness and excitement are also part of it because you keep meeting people and hearing good things. So it is good to see such a positive response.
KD: It feels great to see the work and effort that you have put into something and when you get that love back, it all feels completely worth it at the end of the day.
TC: Take us back to what you were feeling when you gave the first shot of Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas?
KD: Wow, going back to the first shot. It was not the best day for me because I had to drive a pick-up truck till a certain mark and I was not getting the shot right. Then I started crying and almost broke down because I thought that maybe I am not cut out for this. But luckily, after that, the next day was better.
SB: Even I broke down in the beginning. I am actually playing a Delhi-based blogger in the film and in reality, I am from Shimla. And there was a shot where I had to run. Inherently my lungs are used to running and walking long distances and I was not getting breathless, which was the requirement for the scene; I had to be shown as a Delhi girl who was out of breath after she ran a little. We did not manage to get that shot throughout the morning and when we took a break for lunch, I called my mother and started crying. It was not easy at all.
TC: What went through your mind when you watched yourself on the big screen for the first time?
KD: It was a dream but what happens is that when you live with a project for so long, when you work on it for so long and then you see it, you lose perspective. You are not the best person to judge. During the dubbing sessions, you see yourself so much and you are voicing the dialogues again and again. It was nice to ourselves up there but it also clouds your judgment. I do not think we will be the best people to judge the film. As actors, you always criticse yourself when you see your own performance. You lose perspective. But I was happy with the whole outcome of the film.
SB: Yes. It was very overwhelming to experience this.
KD: Agreed. When we were watching the film, I felt that each shot had a memory attached to it because there was a story behind it. We shot at different locations, so each location had a memory to it. You keep remembering that on this day, at this place, this had happened or that had happened. You form an emotional attachment to each shot.
TC: At the trailer launch, you said that it took you both some time to break the ice.
SB: Yes, around a month or so. But that was because inherently both of us are really similar as people. We both are really reserved. We do not speak unless we are spoken to. And it was not like we did not speak at all but it took us time to form the bond of friendship.
KD: If you put two strangers together and then say talk, it doesn’t happen that organically.
SB: That is what you go through with every friend you make. The process of becoming friends is always gradual.
TC: With just entering the industry and as you said, being reserved people, how are you both dealing with the paparazzi culture?
SB: Actually, to be very honest, I am thoroughly enjoying it. I think as actors, we thrive on love and appreciation and when we get that, you feel blessed.
KD: Yes, as we said before, everything just comes together and it feels worth it, truly blessed.
TC: Sahher, this must be a huge turnaround for you. How did you go from being a Shimla girl to landing this big project for your debut?
SB: (Laughs) When I was in Shimla, I lived a very protected life. It was just about going to school and then back home. In the middle, there was some tuition but not much else. The extra-curricular factor was missing. And in school itself, I had decided that it is important for me to get out of this place and do something for myself because honestly, there weren’t many opportunities back then. So, I had decided to come to Bombay for my college so that I can get into acting because that was my ultimate goal. Luckily, my parents were really supportive. But then when I came here, that is when the actual struggle began because I didn’t know whom to meet and what to do about it. So I started giving random auditions here and there. Fortunately, within eight months into college, the auditions of Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas started happening. When I got a call for the audition, I went. After a couple of rounds of auditions, I got a call that I have been chosen for the film. I remember it was somewhere around February 2017, when I was chosen for Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas.
TC: Karan, you come from a prestigious film family. You have seen the highs and the lows of both your father and grandfather. Did that prepare you for what is in store?
KD: When you see a career that has been spanned over a lifetime, it prepares you a lot. The high points and the low points have been there and the lows have actually prepared me for the industry. You understand the industry better. When you are at a low point, that is when you need to push yourself as an actor because your mind can be your first enemy. Once you get into that negative cycle, it is not good for you. You need to look at every day as if it is a new one. One day you might be at the top and the next you will be down and then up again. The topsy-turvy rollercoaster is what this space is about. I have learnt that every day is a new day and whatever happened in the past is fine, you should take criticism with a pinch of salt and always be ready to move on.
TC: And how was your father, Sunny Deol as a director? Is he a hard taskmaster?
SB: He is a hard taskmaster but I have to say he is the sweetest person I have ever met till date. He is so kind. I feel there is a dearth of such good human beings today. He is one person who gives me faith in humanity because he is such a nice and giving person. But on set, yes he was a taskmaster and he was always very focused to get the shots right and he would not settle for anything less.
KD: Yes, he needed to be a taskmaster because he is also the director of the film. Once you come on the big screen. you cannot change your performance. It is out there for the world to see and he knows that. It was important for him to get everything right from the scratch rather than wait for it. He understood us to the point where he knew where to poke us to get the performance he wanted. At that moment, it was quite frustrating but now, looking back at the whole thing, I feel that he knew what he was doing and he helped us to really grow as actors.
TC: You share a rather sweet bond with your grandfather (Dharmendra). Do you have any film memories with him?
KD: I came into the world when more of my dad’s films were releasing. I was not around when my dada’s films were regularly hitting the theatres. Film memories are more with my dad than my dada but I have different childhood memories with him. Whenever I used to go to meet him, he knew I was fond of Halls candy, so he would always have a handfull of that in his pocket. Whenever we used to play cards or video games with my friends, he used to be in the room sometimes, so I had a different kind of bond with him.
TC: How nervous is your family?
KD: My dada saw the film and he was really proud of me. Then I started crying and he told me that he sees me doing greater things here on. His stamp of approval is the ultimate thing for me, so when he said these things I was really happy about it.
TC: How important it is to get the first film right because it is almost like a litmus test for the rest of your career?
SB: Absolutely! I think, for me, I was very fortunate to have gotten this opportunity because honestly, I could not have asked for a better debut, a better co-actor or a better director to work with because Sunny sir, like Karan said, he really has extracted the best out of us. And even though I am overly critical about my performance, I feel that somewhere there is a sense of satisfaction. I am very happy with the product.
TC: And it must have been fun doing adventure sports in the film.
SB: Yes, it was very interesting but tough.
KD: Yes, it was very tough and physically taxing.
TC: Surely it was scary too.
SB: Oh yes, it definitely was.
KD: But after you do it, the fear goes away. Initially it was scary but then it gave us a sense of accomplishment because if it wasn’t for the film, I do not think that I would ever done such crazy stunts in my life. (Laughs) This movie made me experience a lot in life, which I would not have otherwise.
TC: Is there any strategy or game-plan regarding your career?
SB: For me, I am somebody who cannot plan things much ahead. I am instinctive when it comes to taking decisions, so I am just taking each day as it comes.
KD: I just hope to be accepted and to be offered different type of work. For my next film, I would like to do something different because it is important for an actor to be on his toes and think outside his comfort zone. That is the only moment where you will actually grow and your own identity will start coming across.